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January 24, 1925


JAMA. 1925;84(4):288. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660300046017

Any one who appreciates the value of a "factor of safety" in connection with the body will require little argument to arrive at the conviction that this can probably be secured only through the exhibition of something more than minimal facilities for physiologic function. There may, of course, be a difference between the economies of human-made organizations and those of the living organism. In proposing this possibility, Meltzer 1 has remarked that the factors of safety in mechanical constructions are, after all, only factors of ignorance. Possibly Nature constructs her organisms on an efficient principle that permits the accomplishment of the greatest amount of work with a minimal supply of material and energy. It would be, as Meltzer adds, a fascinating distinction between a dead mechanism and a living organism, if true.

Meltzer directed his consideration of the advantages of animal factors of safety against the use of dietary standards

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