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Correction: Computerization Can Create Safety Hazards: A Bar-Coding Near Miss

Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(3):235. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-145-3-200608010-00022
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New Math
Posted on August 6, 2006
Kenneth J. Gorelick
Enzybiotics. LLC
Conflict of Interest: None Declared

Your correction to the square of 0.4% must have been generated by one educated in the New Math, where, according to Tom Lehrer, "the idea is the important thing"(1). You corrected the original value of 0.016% to 0.16%.

Here is the proper calculation: 0.4% = 0.004, or 4x10^-3 ( I can't superscript here, so I use the conventional '^' to represent 'raised to the power of'). When you square 4x10^-3 you get 16 x 10^-6 or 1.6^-5. Since the "per cent (y)" is 10^2 x (y), the square of 0.004, as per cent, 1.6 x 10^-3, or 0.0016%.

1. "New Math" © Tom Lehrer, 1965

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