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Science Fictions

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(8):809-810. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160320011001.
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Ona distant planet, far across our galaxy, an editorial conference is in progress. The esteemed editor of the Galactic Annals of Child Health is locked in intense discussion with his clinical research analytic biometrist (CRAB). The editor often consults with the CRAB in regard to the numerical style used in the Annals.

Editor: Why do you carp incessantly about number descriptions in the form m±n? I see this usage in many other journals.

CRAB: Such descriptions are often incomplete or misleading.

Editor: How are they incomplete?

CRAB: Authors may not define the number at m or at n, and the presence of symmetry (denoted by the plus-minus sign) may not be demonstrated.

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