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Murphy'S Laws And Other Observations

Topic: science

Murphy's Laws And Other Observations

Murphy's Laws 1.If anything can go wrong, it will.

2.If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the first one to go wrong.

3.If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.

4.If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

5.Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

6.If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

7.Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

8.Mother nature is a bitch.

O'toole's Commentary On Murphy's Laws:

Murphy was an optimist.

Ginsberg's Theorems:

1.You can't win.

2.You can't break even.

3.You can't even quit the game.

The Laws Of Computer Programming:

1.Any given program, when running, is obsolete.

2.Any given program costs more and takes longer each time it is run.

3.If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.

4.If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.

5.Any given program will expand to fill all the available memory.

6.The value of a program is inversely proportional to the weight of its output.

7.Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.

Pierce's Law:

In any computer system, the machine will always misinterpret, misconstrue, misprint, or not evaluate any math or subroutines or fail to print any output on at least the first run through.

Corollary To Pierce's Law:

When a compiler accepts a program without error on the first run, the program will not yield the desired output.

Cheop's Law:

Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.

Addition to Murphy's Laws

In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right...something is wrong.

Gumperson's Law:

The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.

Gummidge's Law:

The amount of expertise varies in inverse ratio to the number of statements understood by the general public.

Harvard's Law, As Applied To Computers:

Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity and other variables, the computer will do as it damn well pleases.

Pudder's Laws:

1.Anything that begins well ends badly.

2.Anything that begins badly ends worse.

Westheimer's Rule:

To estimate the time it takes to do a task: estimate the time you think it should take, multiply by two and change the unit of measure to the next higher unit. Thus, we allocate two days for a one hour task.

Stockmayer's Theorem:

If it looks easy, it's tough. If it looks tough, it's damn near impossible.

Atwood's Corollary:

No books are lost by lending except those you particularly wanted to keep.

Johnson's Third Law:

If you miss one issue of any magazine, it will be the issue that has the article, story or installment you were most anxious to read.

Corollary To Johnson's Third Law:

All of your friends either missed it, lost it or threw it out.

Harper's Magazine Law:

You will never find the article until you replace it.

Finagle's Fourth Law:

Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it will only make it worse.

Featherkill's Rule:

Whatever you did, that's what you planned.

Flap's Law:

Any inanimate object, regardless of its position, configuration or purpose, may be expected to perform at any time in a totally un- expected manner for reasons that are either entirely obscure or else completely mysterious.

Jaruk's Second Law:

If it would be cheaper to buy a new unit, the company will insist upon repairing the old one.

Corollary To Jarek's Second Law:

If it would be cheaper to repair the old one, the company will insist on the latest model.

Anthony's Law of the Workshop:

Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the workshop.


On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first always strike your toes.

Gore's Laws Of Design Engineering:

1.The principle function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.

2.That component of any circuit which has the shortest service life will be placed in the least accessible location.

3.Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are unobtainable, and three parts which are still under development.

Corollaries To Design Laws:

1.The project engineer will change the design to suit the state-of-the- art.

2.The changes will not be mentioned in the service manual.

Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable terms, velocity, for instance, will be in furlongs per fortnight.

Patrick's Theorem:

If the experiment works, you must be using the wrong equipment.

Skinners's Constant:

That quantity which, when multiplied times, divided by, added to, or subtracted from your answer ... gives you the answer you should have gotten.

Horners's Five Thumb Postulate:

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.

Allen's Axiom:

When all else fails, read the directions.

The Spare Parts Principle:

The accessibility, during recovery, of small parts which fall from the work bench, varies directly with the size of the part, and inversely with its importance to the completion of the work underway.

The Compensation Corollary:

The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with theory.

Gumperson's Law:

The probability of a given event occurring is inversely proportional to its desirability.

The Ordering Principle:

Those supplies needed for yesterday's experiment must be ordered no later than tomorrow noon.

Gray's Law of Programming:

N+1 trivial tasks are expected to be accomplished in the same time as N trivial tasks.

Loggs Rebuttal - N+1 trivial tasks take twice as long as N trivial tasks for N sufficiently large.

The Ultimate Principle:

By definition, when you are investigating the unknown you do not know what you will find.

The Futility Factor:

No experiment is ever a complete failure ... It can always serve as a bad example.

Airplane Law:

When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on time.

Allison's Precept:

The best simple-minded test of expertise in a particular area is the ability to win money in a series of bets on future occurrences in that area.

Anderson's Law:

Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.

Anthony's Law of Force:

Don't force it, get a larger hammer.

Army Axiom:

Any order that can be misunderstood has been misunderstood.

Axiom of the Pipe: (Trischmann's Paradox)

A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his mouth.

Baker's Law:

Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.

Halpern's Observation:

The tendency to err that programmers have been noticed to share with other human beings has often been treated as if it were an awkwardness attendant upon programming's adolescence, which (like acne) would disappear with the craft's coming of age. It has proved otherwise.

Boren's First Law:

When in doubt, mumble.

Brook's Law:

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Barth's Distinction:

There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.

Forthoffer's Cynical Summary of Barzun's Laws:

1) That which has not yet been taught directly can never be taught directly.

2) If at first you don't succeed, you will never succeed.

Decaprio's Rule:

Everything takes more time and money.

Gallois's Revelation:

If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes back out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow enobled, and none dares to criticize it.

Dijkstra's Law of Programming Inertia:

If you don't know what your program is supposed to do, you'd better not start writing it.

Etorre's Observation:

The other line moves faster.

First Maxim of Computers:

To err is human, but to really screw things up requires a computer.

Gallois's Corollary:

An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the Grand Fallacy.

Glib's Laws of Reliability:

1. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Corollary - At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

2. Any system which relies on human reliability is unreliable.

3. The only difference between the fools and the criminal who attacks a system is that the fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.

4. A system tends to grow in terms of complexity rather than simplification, until the resulting unreliability becomes intolerable.

5. Self-checking systems tend to have a complexity in proportion to the inherent unreliability of the system in which they are used.

6. The error detection and correction capabilities of a system will serve as the key to understanding the types of error which they cannot handle.

7. Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.

8. All real programs contain errors unless proven otherwise, which is impossible.

9. Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until somebody insists on getting some useful work done.

Goodin's Law of Conversions:

The new hardware will break down as soon as the old is disconnected and out.

Gordon's First Law:

If a research project is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.

Golub's Laws of Computerdom:

1. Fuzzy project objectives are used to avoid the embarrassment of estimating the corresponding costs.

2. A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; if carefully planned, it will take only twice as long.

3. The effort required to correct course increases geometrically with time.

4. Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.

Hoare's Law of Large Programs:

Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.

Grosch's Law:

Computer power increases as the square of the costs. If you want to do it twice as cheaply, you have to do it four times as fast.

Howe's Law:

Every man has a scheme that will not work.

Laws of Computability as Applied to Social Science:

1. Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.

2. If at first you don't succeed, transform your data set.

Law of Selective Gravity:

An object will fall so as to do the most damage.

Jenning's Corollary - The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.

Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology:

There's always one more bug.

Paperboy's rule of Weather:

No matter how clear the skies are, a thunderstorm will move in 5 minutes after the papers are delivered.

Project scheduling "99" rule:

The first 90 percent of the task takes 10 percent of the time. The last 10 percent takes the other 90 percent.

Sattlinger's Law:

It works better if you plug it in.

Segal's Law:

A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.

Shaw's Principle:

Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.

Troutman's Programming Postulates:

1. If a test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent systems will malfunction.

2. Not until a program has been in production for at least six months will the most harmful error be discovered.

3. Job control cards that positively cannot be arranged in improper order will be.

4. Interchangeable tapes won't.

5. If the input editor has been designed to reject all bad input, an ingenious idiot will discover a method to get bad data past it.

6. Profanity is the one language all programmers understand.

The Unspeakable Law:

As soon as you mention something ... if it's good, it goes away; if it's bad, it happens.

Weinberg's Law:

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy society as we know it.

It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realize that you are in a hurry.

Cannon's Comment:

If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the next morning you will have a flat tire.

Manly's Maxim:

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

Firestone's Law of Forecasting:

Chicken Little only has to be right once.

Grizzard's truism:

The trouble with most jobs is the job holder's resemblance to being one of a sled dog team. No one gets a change of scenery except the lead dog.

Scott's Second Law:

When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been correct in the first place.

Finagle's First Law:

If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

Finagle's Second Law:

No matter what the experiment's result, there will always be someone eager to:

(a) misinterpret it.

(b) fake it.


(c) believe it supports his own pet theory.

Finagle's Third Law:

In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake.

Finagle's Fourth Law:

Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

Rudin's Law:

In crises that force people to choose among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst one possible.

Howe's Law:

Everyone has a scheme that will not work.

Etorre's Observation:

The other line always moves faster.

O'Brien's Variation:

If you change lines, the one you just left will start to move faster than the one you are now in.

Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving Systems Dynamics:

Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a bigger can.

Non-Reciprocal Law of Expectations:

Negative expectations yield negative results.

Positive expectations yield negative results.

Klipstein's Law:

Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum difficulty of assembly.

Glatum's Law of Materialistic Acquisitiveness:

The perceived usefulness of an article is inversely proportional to its actual usefulness once bought and paid for.

Lewis' Law:

No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.

The Airplane Law:

When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on time.

The Queue Principal:

The longer you wait in line, the greater the likelihood that you are in the wrong line.

Lowery's Law:

If it jams - force it.

If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.

First Law of Revision:

Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after - and only after - the plans are complete.

(Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law)

Corollary I:

In simple cases, presenting one obvious right way versus one obvious wrong way, it is often wiser to choose the wrong way so as to expedite subsequent revision.

Second Law of Revision:

The more innocuous the modification appears to be, the further its influence will extend and the more plans will have to be redrawn.

Third Law of Revision:

If, when completion of a design is imminent, field dimensions are finally supplied as they actually are -- instead of as they were meant to be -- it is always simpler to start all over.

Corollary I:

It is usually impractical to worry beforehand about interferences --if you have none, someone will make one for you.

Law of Selective Gravity:

An object will fall so as to do the most damage.

Maier's Law:

If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.

Law of Research:

Enough research will tend to support your theory.

Wyszkowski's Second Law:

Anything can be made to work if you fiddle with it long enough.

Sattinger's Law

It works better if you plug it in.

Schmidt's Law:

If you mess with a thing long enough, it'll break.

Cahn's Axiom:

When all else fails, read the instructions.

Law of the Perversity of Nature:

You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.

Jennings' Corollary to the Law of Selective Gravity:

The chance of the bread falling with the butter side down is directly proportional to the value of the carpet.

Peer's Law:

The solution to the problem changes the problem.

Carson's Law:

It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick.

Mark's mark:

Love is a matter of chemistry;

sex is a matter of physics.

Korman's conclusion:

The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again.

Lennon's Law:

Life is what happens while you are making other plans.

Maugham's Thought:

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

Krueger's Observation:

A taxpayer is someone who does not have to take a civil service exam in order to work for the government.

Harver's Law:

A drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts.

Rule of Accuracy:

When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know the answer.

Schmidt's Observation:

All things being equal, a fat person uses more soap than a thin person.

Gibb's Law:

Infinity is one lawyer waiting for another.

Wyszowski's Law:

No experiment is reproducible.

Fett's Law:

Never replicate a successful experiment.

Brooke's Law:

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

Peter's Placebo:

An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.

Zymurgy's Law of Volunteer Labour:

People are always available for work in the past tense.

Clarke's Second Law:

The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible.

Witten's Law:

Whenever you cut your fingernails, you will find a need for them an hour later.

Katz's Law:

Men and women will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.

Cole's Axiom:

The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.

Hartley's Second Law:

Never go to bed with anybody crazier than you are.

Weiler's Law:

Nothing is impossible for the man who does not have to do it himself.

Clarke's Third Law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Jones' Motto:

Friends come and go but enemies accumulate.

The ultimate Law:

All general statements are false.

Law of Reruns:

If you have watched a TV series only once, and you watch it again, it will be a rerun of the same episode.

The Whispered Rule:

People will believe anything if you whisper it.

Farnsdick's corollary:

After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat itself.

Law of Revelation:

The hidden flaw never remains hidden.

Grossman's Misquote:

Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

Ducharme's Precept:

Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.

First Postulate of Isomurphism:

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.

The Unapplicable Law:

Washing your car to make it rain doesn't work.

The Unspeakable Law:

As soon as you mention something;

if it is good, it goes away.

if it is bad, it happens.

Perkin's postulate:

The bigger they are, the harder they hit.

Stewart's Law of Retroaction:

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

First Law of Laboratory Work:

Hot glass looks exactly the same as cold glass.

Handy Guide to Modern Science:

1. If it's green or it wiggles, it's biology.

2. If it stinks, it's chemistry.

3. If it doesn't work, it's physics.

4. If it's incomprehensible, it's mathematics.

5. If it doesn't make sense, it's either economics or psychology.

Merkin's Maxim:

When in doubt, predict that the present trend will continue.

Woltman's Law:

Never program and drink beer at the same time.

Matz's warning:

Beware of the physician who is great at getting out of trouble.

Lewis' Law:

People will buy anything that's one to a customer.

Shirley's Law:

Most people deserve each other.

Galbraith's Law of Political Wisdom:

Anyone who says he is not going to resign, four times, definitely will.

Hawkin's Theory of Progress:

Progress does not consist of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is right. It consists of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more subtly wrong.

Mencken's Metalaw:

For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong.

Allen's Distinction:

The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf won't get much sleep.

Berra's Law:

You can observe a lot just by watching.

Bicycle Law:

All bicycles weigh 50 pounds:

A 30 pound bicycle needs a 20 pound lock.

A 40 pound bicycle needs a 10 pound lock.

A 50 pound bicycle doesn't need a lock.

Cohen's Law:

What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts, not the facts themselves.

Comin's Law:

People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.

Fourth Law of Thermodynamics:

If the probability of success is not almost one, then it is damned near zero.

Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics:

1. An object in motion will be heading in the wrong direction.

2. An object at rest will be in the wrong place.

Allen's Law:

Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.

Jones' Principle:

Needs are a function of what other people have.

Langin's Law:

If things were left to chance, they'd be better.

Sevareid's Law:

The chief cause of problems is solutions.

Thoreau's Law:

If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intention of doing you good, you should run for your life.

Lyall's Conjecture:

If a computer cable has one end, then it has another.

Klipstein's Lament:

All warranty clauses are voided by payment of the invoice.

Horwood's Fourth Law:

The respectability of existing data grows with elapsed time and distance from the data source to the investigator.

Horwood's Fifth Law:

Data can be moved from one office to another but it cannot be created or destroyed.

de la Lastra's Law:

After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed.

de la Lastra's Corollary:

After an access cover has been secured by 16 hold-down screws, it will be discovered that the gasket has been omitted.

Rosenfield's Regret:

The most delicate component will be dropped.

Klipstein's Observation:

Any product cut to length will be too short.

Sueker's Note:

If you need n items of anything, you will have n - 1 in stock.

Horwood's First Law:

Good data is the data you already have.

Horwood's Second Law:

Bad data drives out good.

Horwood's Third Law:

The data you have for the present crisis was collected to relate to the previous one.

Horwood's Sixth Law:

If you have the right data you have the wrong problem; and vice versa.

Horwood's Seventh Law:

The important thing is not what you do, but how you measure it.

Kelly-Bootle's Law of Programming:

The sooner you start coding, the longer it is going to take.

Horwood's Ninth Law:

Acquisition of knowledge from experience is an exception.

Horwood's Tenth Law:

Knowledge grows at half the rate at which academic courses proliferate.

Cheops Law:

No project was ever completed on time and within budget.

Horwood's Eighth Law:

In complex systems, there is no relationship between information gathered and decisions made.

The Seven Catastrophes of Computing:

The user, the manufacturer, the model, the salesperson, the operating system, the language, and the application.

Olivier's Law

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Weiner's Law of Libraries:

There are no answers, only cross-references.

Searle's Third Law:

You win a few, you loose a lot.

Berra's Second Law:

Anyone who is popular is bound to be disliked.

Sodd's Second Law:

Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur.

Foster's Law:

The only people who find what they are looking for in life are the fault finders.

Schopenhauer's Law of Entropy:

If you put a spoonful of wine in a barrel of sewage, you get sewage. If you put a spoonful of sewage in a barrel of wine, you get sewage.

Munder's Theorem:

For every '10', there are ten '1's.

Levy's Eighth Law:

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.

Strong's Reply:

Genius cannot be fruitful without due consideration and attention to detail.

Weatherwax's Postulate:

The degree with which you overreact to information will be in inverse proportion to its accuracy.

Zappa's Law:

There are two things which are truly universal: hydrogen and stupidity.

Fagin's observation:

Hindsight is an exact science.

First rule of History:

History doesn't repeat itself; historians merely repeat one another.

Ehler's First Law:

When you find out how far you can go, you've gone too far.

Sigstad's Law:

When it gets to be your turn, they change the rules.

Roger's Law:

As soon as the stewardess serves coffee, the aircraft encounters turbulence.

Davis' Explanation:

Serving coffee on aircraft causes turbulence.

Bachman's Law:

The greater the cost of putting a plan into operation, the less chance of abandoning it.

Bachman's Corollary:

The higher the level of prestige accorded the people behind a plan, the less chance of abandoning it.

Law of Probable Distribution:

Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

Cohn's First Law:

In any bureaucracy, paperwork increases as you spend more and more time reporting on the less and less you are doing.

Cohn's Second Law:

In any bureaucracy, stability is achieved when you spend all of your time reporting on the nothing you are doing.

Kushner's Law:

The chances of anybody doing anything are inversely proportional to the number of other people who are in a position to do it instead.

Gourd's Axiom:

A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.

Steinbach's Advice to Systems Programmers:

Never test for an error you don't know how to handle.

Rule of Defactualization:

Information deteriorates upward through bureaucracies.

Maier's Second Law:

The bigger the theory, the better.

Barach's Rule:

An alcoholic is a person who drinks more than his physician.

Hofstadter's Law:

The time and effort required to complete a project are always more than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

Matz's Medication Rule:

A drug is that substance which, when injected into a rat, will produce a scientific report.

Hane's Law:

There is no limit to how bad things can get.

Conner's Second Law:

If something is confidential, it will be left in the copier.

Edward's Law:

If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Tusseman's Law:

Nothing is an inevitable as a mistake whose time has come.

Block's Bombshell:

A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics:

Things get worse under pressure.

Ogden's Law:

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

Shick's Law:

There is no problem a good miracle can't solve.

Mayhis Rule:

It is bad luck to be superstitious.

Fundamental Tenet of Reform:

Reforms come from below. No man who has four aces ever calls for a new deal.

Maxey's Maxim:

No matter what happens, there is always someone who knew it would.

Sprinkle's Law:

Things fall at right angles.

Myer's Second Law:

Experiments must be reproducible -- they should fail the same way.

Myer's Third Law:

Always verify your witchcraft.

Myer's Fourth Law:

First draw your curves -- then plot your readings.

Myer's Sixth Law:

A record of data is useful -- it indicates that you have been working.

Myer's Eighth Law:

To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.

Myer's Ninth Law:

In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.

Rothstein's Observation:

The one part that the fabrication plant forgot to ship you supports seventy five per cent of the balance of the shipment.

Rothstein's Corollory:

Not only did they forget to ship it; fifty per cent of the time they haven't even made it..

Rothstein's Note:

Truck deliveries that normally take one day will take five when you're waiting for the truck.

Otto's Observation:

The color of any paint formula, as shown by the manufacturer's sample, bears no resemblance to the actual color of that formula when applied to any surface.

Rothstein's Advice:

The eye of the Chief Inspecting Engineer is more accurate than the finest instrument.

Law of the Too, Too Solid Point:

In any collection of data, the figure that is most obviously correct --beyond any need of checking -- is the mistake.

Corollary I:

No one whom you ask for help will see it either.

Corollary II:

Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.

Blattenbenberger's Marital Principle:

Marriages are like union contracts in that six weeks after the event, both parties feel that they could have done better if they had held out longer.

Three Laws of Crises

A person must rock the boat to get ahead.

Technological hierarchies abhor perfection.

The maximum rate of promotion is achieved at a level of crises only slightly less than that which will result in dismissal.

The Grocery Bag Law:

The candy bar you had planned to eat on the way home from the market is hidden at the bottom of the grocery bag.

First Law of Business Meetings:

The probability that the lead pencil will break is directly proportional to the importance of the notes being taken.

Brasington's First Law:

You will never use the backup copy you just made.

Brasington's Second Law:

The only backup copy you will ever need is either:

- the one you didn't have time to make, or;

- the one you did make but cannot read.

Brasington's Third Law:

There is no danger in x-raying a scratch disk or tape. However, a boy scout's magnet can destroy the only copy of a file at 50 yards.

Brasington's Fourth Law:

The probability that a given program will conform to expectations is inversely proportional to the programmer's confidence in his ability to do the job.

Brasington's Fifth Law:

When a programmer tells you "no problem", you have a serious problem.

Brasington's Wisdom:

When a programmer commits to a completion date, make sure it includes day, month, and year.

Brasington's Sixth Law:

No system is ever completely debugged. Attempts to debug it invariably introduce new bugs which are even harder to find.

Brasington's Seventh Law:

Projects progress quickly until they become 90% complete, then they remain 90% complete forever.

Brasington's Insight:

One advantage of fuzzy project objectives is that they let you avoid the embarrassment of estimating the costs.

Liebling's Truth:

Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.

Brasington's Eighth Law:

If project content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress.

Brasington's Ninth Law:

A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned one will take only twice as long.

Timmins' Tautology:

That quantity which, when mathematically manipulated into a set of experimental results, will produce the predicted results, is known as a constant.

Swanson's Principle of Prelusive Programming:

Hardware will learn to emulate any software bug within one hour of its removal.

Heblock's Horror:

If it's good, they'll stop making it.

Cayo's Law:

The only things that start on time are those that you're late for.

The Word Processor's Rule:

Nothing highlights a document as much as a failure in the spele checker.

Walton's Observation:

Given two choices, you'll make the wrong one -- twice.

Augustine's Fundamental Law of Aeronautics:

Never fly on an airplane with a tail number less than 10.

Boyle's First Law:

The success of any venture will be helped by prayer, even in the wrong denomination.

Boyle's Second Law:

An original idea will never emerge from a committee in the original form.

Boyle's Third Law:

If not controlled, work will flow to the competent employee until he or she is submerged.

Conrad's consolation:

One advantage of getting older is that there are more younger women all the time.

Otto's Corollary:

No two samples of any paint formula, when prepared at two different times, look anything like each other.

Dieter's Law:

Food that tastes best has the highest number of calories.

Craine's Laws of Simplicity:

For every simple solution, there are a number of complex problems. For every simple problem there are a number of complex problems.

Morton's Law:

If rats are experimented on, they will develop cancer.

Booth's Observation:

The best parachute folders are those who jump themselves.

Byrne's Law of Concrete Placement:

When you pour, it rains.

Caffyn's Rule on Pronouncements:

The rosier the news, the higher ranking the official who announces it.

Buechner's Principle:

The simplest explanation is that it just doesn't make sense.

Canning's Law:

Nothing is so fallacious as facts -- except figures.

Corcoran's Laws of Nonsense:

1 - There are no laws of nonsense because laws are logical and nonsense is not.

2 - Since the previous law is nonsense, ignore Corcoran's First Law of Nonsense.

3 - If you don't like the first two laws of nonsense, come up with your own.

Brown's Insight:

The only game that can't be fixed is peek-a-boo.

Blick's Rule of Life:

You have two chances -- slim and none.

Cuppy's Note:

All modern men are descended from wormlike creatures, but it shows more on some people.

Gary's Rule:

The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance.

Bobbitt's Law of TV:

Television network trouble never occurs except during the most exciting part of your favorite program.

Boettcher's Attribution:

If you have a bunch of clowns, you're going to have a circus.

Boorstein's Observation:

Two centuries ago, when a great man appeared, people looked for God's purpose in him; now we look for his press agent.

Boorstlemann's Rule:

If everything seems to be coming your way, you're probably in the wrong lane.

Boucher's Corollary to Murphy's Law:

Murphy's Law holds no more than eighty per cent of the time; unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when.

Bradley's Reminder:

Everything comes to him who waits, including death.

Brauer's Warning:

He who tries to pick all the flowers, is sure to get some poison ivy.

Buchwald's Second Sans Souci Rule:

When a cabinet minister comes to dine, everybody's lunch is tax deductible.

Bressler's Law:

There is no crisis to which academics will not respond with a seminar.

Brewster's Exception:

Every rule has its exceptions except this one: a man must be present when he's being shaved.

Buchwald's First Sans Souci Rule:

Any rumor that survives forty eight hours is probably true.

Astor's Economic Insight:

A man who has a million dollars is as well off as if he were rich.

Austin's Law:

It tastes better at someone else's house.

Barber's Rule:

Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.

Schwabb's Truth:

You can get as drunk on water as you can on land.

Ballweg's Discovery:

Whenever there is a flat surface, someone will find something to put on it.

Barne's Law of Probability:

There's a fifty per cent chance of anything. Either it will happen or it won't.

Agrait's Law:

A rumor will travel fastest to the place where it will do the most damage.

Albinak's Algorithm:

When graphing a function, the width of the line should be inversely proportional to the precision of the data.

Arnofy's Law of the Post Office:

The likelihood of a letter getting lost in the mail is directly proportional to its importance.

Baker's Bylaw:

When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.

Anderson's Second Maxim:

You can't out-think a person who isn't thinking.

Daugherty's Dictum:

The computer is most likely to crash during backup.

Hanlon's Assertion:

An unwatched printer always falters.

Bontchev's Laws of Computer viruses:

1 - If the virus can be made, it will be.

2 - If the virus cannot be made, it will be anyway.

Nestor's Nostrum:

Anything worth doing makes a mess.

Government Rule:

It is useless for sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism while wolves remain of a different opinion.

Saul's Saw:

When fastening down something held by several screws, don't tighten any of them until they are all in place.

Atkin's Adage:

Miserable penny pinching, never-spend-a-dime people are not much fun to live with, but they make wonderful ancestors.

Watson's Wisdom:

Show me a man with both feet on the ground and I'll show you a man who can't get his pants on.

Comroe's Definition:

Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and finding the farmer's daughter.

McFee's McFact:

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. However, it can be lost.

Medical Truism:

Just because your doctor has a name for your condition doesn't mean your doctor knows what it is.

Corollory I:

If the name of your condition includes the word "intrinsic", then nobody knows what it is.

Coull's Comment:

Every new project requires a tool that you don't have.

Coull's First Corollory:

The required tool is probably out of stock.

Coull's Second Corollory:

If the required tool is in stock, it is more expensive than any tool in your present kit.

Skelton's First Law:

Advice is correct, if and only if it is not taken.

Finagle's Principle:

The perversity of the universe has no bounds.

Grandma Solderquist's Conclusion:

There are more horses' asses in the world than there are horses.

Capra's Wisdom:

A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.

Putt's Law

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

Vile's Law

No one is watching until you make a mistake.

Voltaire's Laws

There is nothing more respectable than an ancient evil.

Weiner's Law

There are no answers -- only cross-references.

Wilde's Comment

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.

William and Holland's Law

If enough data is collected, anything can be proved by statistical methods.

Willoughby's Law

When you try to prove that a machine won't work, it will.

Wolter's Law

If you have the time, you won't have the money. If you have the money, you won't have the time.

Woodington's Law of Gifts

The toy with the most potential for driving you crazy will become your child's favorite.

Young's Law

All great discoveries are made by mistake.

Susan's Law of Consumerism

If you want it and can afford it, but leave to think about it, it won't be there when you go back for it.

T. Smith's Rule of Holiday Shopping

There is always one more gift to buy.

Thal's Law

For every vision there is an equal and opposite revision.

The Reja-Jansen Law

On the first pull of the cord, the drapes move the wrong way.

Aigner's Axiom

No matter how well you perform your job, a superior will seek to modify the results.

Akvol's Second Law of the Corporation

Any action for which there is no logical explanation will be deemed "company policy"

Amand's Law of Management

Everyone you need is always someplace else.

Army Axiom

Any order that can be misunderstood has been misunderstood.

Beach's Law

No two identical parts are alike.

Brien's First Law

At some time in the life of any organization, its ability to succeed in spite of itself runs out.

Brintnall's Second Law

If you are given two contradictory orders, obey them both.

Bron's Rule of Leadership

The way to succeed in politics is to find a crowd going somewhere and get in front of it.

Cripps' Law of Travel

One child, of any given number of children, will want to go to the bathroom exactly half way between rest areas.

Day's minimalist theory of Politics

No politician ever lost an election over a speech that wasn't made.

Diner's Dilemma

A clean tie attracts the soup of the day.

Dooley's Law

Trust everybody, but cut the cards.

Drew's Law of Highway Biology

The first bug to hit a clean windshield lands directly in front of your eyes.

Kagel's Conclusion

Anything adjustable sooner or later needs adjusting.

Kaiser's Comment

Never open a can of worms unless you plan to go fishing.

Katz' Law

Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.

Kaufman's First Law of Airports

The distance to the gate is inversely proportional to the time available to catch your flight.

Knagg's Law

The more grandiose the plan, the greater the chance of failure.

Kyle's Rule of Advertising

The more useless the product, the bigger the campaign hyping it.

Ferguson's Precept

A crisis is when you can't say: "Let's forget the whole thing."

Fourth Law of the Household

The more powerful the vacuum cleaner, the less likely it will pick up a tiny piece of fuzz on the rug.

Murphy's Asymmetry Principle

Things go right gradually, but things go wrong all at once.

Murphy's Flu Philosophy

You never have the right number of pills left on the last day of the prescription.

Murphy's Fourth Law for Husbands

Your wife's stored possessions will be on top of your stored possessions.

Murphy's Law of Revision

Once a mistake is corrected, a second mistake will become apparent.

Murphy's Law of the Infinite

No matter how many things have gone wrong, there remains at least one more thing that will go wrong.

Murphy's Paradox

Doing it the hard way is always easier.

Murphy's Rule of Auto Repair

No matter how minor the job is, it's still over $50.

Murphy's Seventh Corollary

Every solution breeds new problems.

Murphy's Sixth Corollary

Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

Murphy's Theory of Automobiles

It's not a question of IF the car will break down, but WHEN it will break down.

Rap's Law of Inanimate Reproduction

If you take something apart and put it back together enough times, eventually you will have two of them.

Phillips' Law

Four-wheel-drive just means getting stuck in more inaccessible places.

Cutler Webster's Law

There are two sides to every argument unless a man is personally involved, in which case there is only one.

Czecinski's Conclusion

There is only one thing worse than dreaming you are at a conference and aking to find that you are at a conference, and that is the conference where you can't fall asleep.

Darrow's Observation

History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.

Dieter's Law

Food that tastes the best has the highest number of calories.

Dijkstra's Prescription for Programming Inertia

If you don't know what your program is supposed to do, you'd better not start writing it.

Dennis's Principles of Management by Crisis

1) To get action out of management, it is necessary to create the illusion of a crisis in the hope it will be acted upon.

2) Management will select actions or events and convert them to crises. It will then over-react.

3) Management is incapable of recognizing a true crisis.

4) The squeaky hinge gets the oil.

Dhawan's Laws for the Non-Smoker

1) The cigarette smoke always drifts in the direction of the non-smoker regardless of the direction of the breeze.

2) The amount of pleasure derived from a cigarette is directly proportional to the number of non-smokers in the vicinity.

3) A smoker is always attracted to the non-smoking section.

4) The life of a cigarette is directly proportional to the intensity of the protests from non-smokers.

Durrell's Parameter

The faster the plane, the narrower the seats.

Dyer's Law

A continuing flow of paper is sufficient to continue the flow of paper.

Economists' Laws

1) What men learn from history is that men do not learn from history.

2) If on an actuarial basis there is a 50-50 chance that something will go wrong, it will actually go wrong nine times out of ten.

Rule of Feline Frustration

When your cat has fallen asleep on your lap and looks utterly content and adorable, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.

Finagle's Laws of Information

1) The information you have is not what you want.

2) The information you want is not what you need.

3) The information you need is not what you can obtain.

4) The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.

Jaroslovsky's Law

The distance you have to park from your apartment increases in proportion to the weight of packages you are carrying.

Jay's Laws of Leadership

1) Changing things is central to leadership, and changing them before anyone else is creativity.

Johnson's Second Law

If, in the course of several months, only three worthwhile social events take place, they will all fall on the same evening.

Jones's Law

The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.

Laws of the Frisbee

1) The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc straining to land under a car, just beyond reach. (The technical term for this force is "car suck".)

2) The higher the quality of a catch or the comment it receives, the greater the probability of a crummy return throw. ("Good catch. . . Bad throw.")

3) One must never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive than, "Watch this!" (Keep 'em guessing.)

4) The higher the costs of hitting any object, the greater the certainty it will be struck. (Remember: The disk is positive; cops and old ladies are clearly negative.)

5) The best catches are never seen. ("Did you see that?" "See what?")

6) The greatest single aid to distance is for the disc to be going in a direction you did not want. (Wrong way = long way.)

7) The most powerful hex words in the sport are: "I really have this down -- watch." (Know it? Blow it!)

8) In any crowd of spectators at least one will suggest that razor blades could be attached to the disc. ("You could maim and kill with that thing.")

9) The greater your need to make a good catch, the greater the probability your partner will deliver his worst throw. (If you can't touch it, you can't trick it.)

10) The single most difficult move with a disc is to put it down. ("Just one more!")

All wiring access holes are either too small or in the wrong place.

The person who snores falls asleep first.

The wise are pleased when they discover the truth; fools are pleased when they discover falsehood.

There is something to be said for every error; but, whatever may be said for it, the most important thing to be said about it is that it is erroneous.

Octal is just like base 10, really, if you're missing two fingers.

Finance is the study of money and how it violates the rules of mathematics and common sense.

Reciprocity works both ways.

Computer programs are ninety percent debugged, fifty per cent of the time.

Any given container designed to hold water, will leak, and any given orifice designed to drain water, will plug up.

Originality is the art of concealing your source.

If all the economists in the world were laid end to end, they wouldn't reach a conclusion.

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

Counting in OCTAL is just like counting in DECIMAL if you don't use your thumbs.

Counting in BINARY is just like counting in DECIMAL if you are all thumbs.

Any wire cut to specified length will be too short.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.

In new equipment, a failure will not occur until the unit has passed final inspection.

Documentation is the castor oil of programming ... Managers know it must be good because the programmers hate it so much.

A purchased component or instrument will meet specifications long enough and only long enough to pass incoming inspection.

Always remove the last screw first to save time.

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.

Installation and operation instructions shipped with the equipment will be promptly discarded by the receiving department.

Manufacturers specifications of performance shall be multiplied by a factor of .5.

Every good idea has disadvantages equal to or greater than its advantages.

Software suppliers are trying to make their software packages more 'user friendly' ... their best approach, so far, has been to take all the old brochures and stamp the words 'user friendly' on the cover.

Organizations are like wine; the bottleneck is always at the top.

It is only when you need to knock on wood that you realize that the world is entirely made up of aluminum and plastic.

Hell is the place where everything tests perfectly and nothing works.

Ignorance and stupidity are not the same thing. At the battle at Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse was an ignorant savage and George Custer was an educated military tactician and strategist. Custer was also stupid; Crazy Horse wasn't.

The more obvious the defect in a plan, the more likely it will be approved.

The more sensible and simple your plan, the more likely your supervisor will change it.

An experiment may be considered successful if no more than half the data must be discarded to obtain agreement with your pet theory.

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.

Ever notice that, when operating blinds, you always pull the wrong string first?

Murphy's Famous Law - If anything can go wrong, it will - is said to have entered history in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base, when a malfunctioning strap transducer moved a Capt. Murphy to his highest eloquence. Other truths attributed to Murphy are: Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Everything takes longer than you expect, and, left to themselves, things always go from bad to worse.

Since Murphy's extraordinary leap into immortality, many imitators have sought in similar manner to plumb the human condition. Perhaps the most successful was British historian C. Northcote Parkinson, who found that work expands to fill the time allotted to it. Next in notoriety is the (Lawrence) Peter Principle, that in every hierarchy each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence and remain there fouling things up.

Lesser known, but just as penetrating, are all the slippery laws about money. Those and other pearls have been collected by Paul Dickson, whose book, "The Official Rules," will be published Nov. 27 by Delacorte Press. For example, there's Parkinson's Second Law, which states that expenditures rise to meet income. Further refined by Dunn's Discovery - that the shortest measurable interval of time is the time between the moment you put a little extra aside for a sudden emergency and the arrival of that emergency. This state of affairs is summed up in Gumperson's Law: that after a rise in salary you will have less money at the end of each month than you had before.

With regard to products, Graditor's Laws: (1) If it can break it will, but only after the warranty expires, and (2) A necessary item only goes on sale after you have purchased it at the regular price. To which, add Dyer's Discovery: it's easy to tell when you've got a bargain - it doesn't fit. And Herblock's Law: It it's good, they'll stop making it.

Car owners are well acquainted with Hartman Automotive Laws:

(1) Nothing minor ever happens to a car on the weekend.

(2) Nothing minor ever happens to a car on a trip.

(3) Nothing minor ever happens to a car.

Which brings me to Goldwyn's Law of Contracts: A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Law-giving actually precedes Murphy by a good many centuries. Samuel Butler knew that all progress is based on the innate desire for every organism to live beyond its income. Josh Billings similarly admonished: Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do it.

Another great name in the field is Finagle. His unique contributions came in the area of science, but Finagle's Laws on Information apply equally to understanding financial transactions:

(1) The information you have is not what you want.

(2) The information you want is not what you need.

(3) The information you need is not what you can obtain.

(4) The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.

The difference between rich and poor is sharply caught by Getty's Reminder, that the meek shall inherit the earth but not its mineral rights. Followed by the Golden Rule of Arts and Sciences: Whoever has the gold makes the rules.

Donohue's Law says that what's worth doing is worth doing for money. And Goldfarber's Law, that under any system a few sharpies will beat the rest of us.

On pocketbook matters, everyone has to keep his eyes open. It's Gross's Law that when two people meet to decide how to spend a third person's money, fraud will result. As in O'Doyle's Corollary: No matter how many reporters share a cab, and no matter who pays, each puts the full fare on his own expense account.

Woody Allen said that the lion shall lay down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep. To which add Clopton's Law: For every credibility gap there's a gullibility fill. The Checkbook Balancer's Law holds that in matters of dispute, the bank's balance is always smaller than yours. But if you think the problem is bad now, Epstein adds, just wait until we've solved it.

Finally, Quinn's Law: The reader interest generated by any newspaper column is inversely proportional to the importance of its subject.

A committee is a group of six people doing the work of one.

How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you are on.

If it's lush, green and thriving in the garden ... it's a weed.

If wires can be connected in two different ways, the first blows the fuse.

Forthoffer's Cynical Summary of Barzun's Laws:

1) That which has not yet been taught directly can never be taught directly.

2) If at first you don't succeed, you will never succeed.

Always leave a way out.

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