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Murphy's Laws

  • Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view.
  • If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
  • Success can be insured only by devising a defense against failure of the contingency plan.
  • Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
  • Everything takes longer than you think.
  • It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
  • If there is an opportunity to make a mistake, sooner or later the mistake will be made.
  • Being sure mistakes will occur is a good frame of mind for catching them.
  • The world is more complicated than most of our theories make it out to be.
  • The theory is supported as long as the funds are.
  • Exceptions prove the rule... and wreck the budget.
  • A chain of reasoning is no stronger than its weakest link.
  • A statement may be true independently of illogical reasoning.
  • Most general statements are false, including this one.
  • Trust everybody ... then cut the cards.
  • Never decide to buy something while listening to the salesman.
  • When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.
  • No matter which direction you start it's always against the wind coming back.
  • Ignorance is no excuse.
  • History proves nothing.
  • An exception TESTS a rule; it NEVER PROVES it.
  • Always store beer in a dark place.
  • Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win.
  • Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.
  • If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.
  • A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight.
    Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.
  • A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.
  • A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.
  • Small change can often be found under seat cushions.
  • It's better to copulate than never.
  • Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.
  • It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
  • Never appeal to a man's "better nature". He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
  • Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry.
  • A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.
  • Everybody lies about sex.
  • Rub her feet.
  • Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
  • Always tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is not.
  • In a family argument, if it turns out you are right, apologize at once.
  • Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.
  • The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
  • Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors -- and miss.
  • Yield to temptation; it may not pass your way again.
  • Anything free is worth what you pay for it.
  • Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.
  • The organization of any program reflects the organization of the people who develop it.
  • Estimating a figure may be enough to catch an error.
  • Figures calculated in a rush are very hot; they should be allowed to cool off a little before being used; thus we will have a reasonable time to think about the figures and catch mistakes.
  • Truck deliveries that normally take one day will take five when you are waiting for the truck.
  • The one piece that the plant forgot to ship is the one that supports 75% of the balance of the shipment.
  • Corollary: Not only did the plant forget to ship it, 50% of the time they haven't even made it.
  • After adding two weeks to the schedule for unexpected delays, add two more for the unexpected, unexpected delays.
  • When the product is destined to fail, the delivery system will perform perfectly.
  • When in doubt, mumble.
  • When in trouble, delegate.
  • When in charge, ponder.
All bicycles weigh 50 pounds:
  • A 30-pound bicycle needs a 20-pound lock and chain.
  • A 40-pound bicycle needs a 10-pound lock and chain.
  • A 50-pound bicycle needs no lock or chain.

Going Wrong
  • Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
  • If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
  • If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
  • If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
  • Two wrongs are only the beginning.
  • Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  • Anybody can win -- unless there happens to be a second entry.
Problems and Solutions
  • Nothing is as easy as it looks.
  • Anything is possible, but nothing is easy.
  • When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know the answer.
  • If you have to ask, you're not entitled to know.
  • If you don't like the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question.
  • Every solution breeds new problems.
  • Most problems have either many answers or no answer. Only a few problems have a single answer.
  • The moment you have worked out an answer, start checking it -- it probably isn't right.
  • An answer may be wrong, right, both, or neither. Most answers are partly right and partly wrong.
  • Check the answer you have worked out once more -- before you tell it to anybody.
  • A great many problems do not have accurate answers, but do have approximate answers, from which sensible decisions can be made.
  • The product of an arithmetical computation is the answer to an equation; it is not the solution to a problem.

  • You can get ANYWHERE in ten minutes if you go fast enough.
  • When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on time.
  • Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the desired restraining speed.
  • The vehicle in front of you is traveling slower than you are.
  • This lane ends in 500 feet.

  • Any stone in your boot always migrates against the pressure gradient to exactly the point of most pressure.
  • The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.
  • The difficulty of finding any given trail marker is directly proportional to the importance of the consequences of failing to find it.
  • The size of each of the stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.
  • The net weight of your boots is proportional to the cube of the number of hours you have been on the trail.
  • If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.
  • The local density of mosquitos is inversely proportional to your remaining repellent.

The 19 Rules for good writing:
  1. Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
  2. Just between you and I, case is important.
  3. Verbs has to agree with their subject.
  4. Watch out for irregular verbs which has cropped up into our language.
  5. Don't use no double negatives.
  6. A writer mustn't shift your point of view.
  7. When dangling, don't use participles.
  8. Join clauses good like a conjunction should.
  9. And don't use conjunctions to start sentences.
  10. Don't use a run-on sentence you got to punctuate it.
  11. About sentence fragments.
  12. In letters themes reports articles and stuff like that we use commas to keep strings apart.
  13. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
  14. Its important to use apostrophe's right.
  15. Don't abbrev.
  16. Check to see if you any words out.
  17. In my opinion I think that the author when he is writing should not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words which he does not really need.
  18. Then, of course, there's that old one: Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
  19. Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

Information and Work
  • Clearly stated instructions will consistently produce multiple interpretations.
  • A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
  • The crucial memorandum will be snared in the out-basket by the paper clip of the overlying correspondence and go to file.
  • Information travels more surely to those with a lesser need to know.
  • Those whose approval you seek the most give you the least.
  • If not controlled, work will flow to the competent man until he submerges.
  • It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.
  • The lagging activity in a project will invariably be found in the area where the highest overtime rates lie waiting.
  • Talent in staff work or sales will recurringly be interpreted as managerial ability.
  • Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases.
Truths of Management:
  • Think before you act; it's not your money.
  • All good management is the expression of one great idea.
  • No executive devotes effort to proving himself wrong.
  • Cash in must exceed cash out.
  • Management capability is always less than the organization actually needs.
  • Either an executive can do his job or he can't.
  • If sophisticated calculations are needed to justify an action, don't do it.
  • If you are doing something wrong, you will do it badly.
  • If you are attempting the impossible, you will fail.
  • The easiest way of making money is to stop losing it.

Murphy's Love Laws.
  1. All the good ones are taken.
  2. If the person isn't taken, there's a reason. (corr. to 1)
  3. The nicer someone is, the farther away (s)he is from you.
  4. Brains x Beauty x Availability = Constant.
  5. The amount of love someone feels for you is inversely proportional to how much you love them.
  6. Availability is a function of time. The minute you get interested is the minute they find someone else.
  7. Money can't buy love, but it sure gets you a great bargaining position.
  8. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  9. Nice guys(girls) finish last.
  10. The best things in the world are free --- and worth every penny of it.
  11. Every kind action has a not-so-kind reaction.

Murphy's Technology Laws.
  1. You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
  2. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
  3. Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables the organism will do as it damn well pleases.
  4. 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.
  5. A failure will not appear till a unit has passed final inspection.
  6. A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
  7. New systems generate new problems.
  8. Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.
  9. If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
  10. Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.
  11. If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
  12. When all else fails, read the instructions.
  13. All things are possible except skiing through a revolving door.
  14. Everything that goes up must come down.
  15. Any instrument when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.
  16. All great discoveries are made by mistake.
  17. Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
  18. An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
  19. To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
  20. If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
  21. To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
  22. A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.
  23. The faster a computer is, the faster it will reach a crashed state.
  24. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  25. The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.
  26. If mathematically you end up with the incorrect answer, try multiplying by the page number.
  27. If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
  28. In designing any type of construction, no overall dimension can be totalled correctly after 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The correct total will become self-evident at 8:15 a.m. on Monday.
  29. Any simple theory will be worded in the most complicated way.
  30. The first myth of management is that it exists.
  31. Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.
  32. Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
  33. After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.
  34. All's well that ends.
  35. Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.
  36. A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.
  37. Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
  38. We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.
  39. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches.
  40. Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
  41. Any attempt to print Murphy's laws will jam the printer.
  42. The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.
Murphy's Military Laws.
  1. The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map.
  2. The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it.
  3. The buddy system is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.
  4. If your advance is going well, you are walking into an ambush.
  5. The further you are in advance of your own positions, the more likely your artillery will shoot short.
  6. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
  7. Friendly fire ain't.
  8. Incoming fire has the right of way.
  9. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  10. There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and miss.
  11. No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
  12. If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  13. If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
  14. Don't be conspicuous. In the combat zone, it draws fire. Out of the combat zone, it draws sergeants.
  15. The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned positions.
  16. The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small.

Laws of Gardening:
  1. Other people's tools work only in other people's yards.
  2. Fancy gizmos don't work.
  3. If nobody uses it, there's a reason.
  4. You get the most of what you need the least.

Cartoon Laws
  • Anybody suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.
Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.

  • Anybody in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.
Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.
  • Anybody passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.
Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout- perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.

  • The time required for an object to fall twenty stories...
is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken. Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.

  • All principles of gravity are negated by fear.
Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth's surface. A spooky noise or an adversary's signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.

  • As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.
This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character's head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled. A 'wacky' character has the option of self- replication only at manic high speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.

  • Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.
This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generation, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall's surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space. The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.

  • Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify. Corollary: A cat will assume the shape of its container.

  • For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck instead.

  • Everything falls faster than an anvil.
Examples too numerous to mention from the Roadrunner cartoons.

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