In a delightful essay on "The Points of a Good Job," Richard C. Cabot1 has intimated that we want some monotony, because monotony supplies the relief from the immense strain and cost of fresh thinking. It may be, as he suggests, that we should revolt and destroy any undertaking which is not somewhat monotonous. Nevertheless the habitual elements in us sometimes go to the very limit of expression. In one respect, doubtless among countless others if the truth were known, the dictates of custom have long been overworked in scientific literature: i. e., the publication of data in the form of a wealth of figures which cannot possibly have any serious significance if we overcome the inertia of habit and take the initiative of interpreting them.
The Journal is no exception to the numerous periodicals and books which are wasting printers' ink, space, several people's time, and the reader's
THE LAST SIGNIFICANT FIGURE. JAMA. 1916;LXVII(25):1852. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02590250054021