160+ Murphy's Laws

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Humorous Laws Of Life

If anything can go wrong, it will.

•Murphy's Corollary:
Left to themselves, things
tend to go from bad to worse.

•Murphy's Corollary:
It is impossible to make anything
foolproof because fools are so

•Murphy's Constant:
Matter will be damaged in direct
proportion to its value.

•Quantized Revision of Murphy's Law:
Everything goes wrong all at once.

•O'Toole's Commentary:
Murphy was an optimist.

•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, or
(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.

•Gumperson's Law:
The probability of anything happening is
in inverse ratio to its desirability.

•Rudin's Law: In crises that force people
to choose among alternative courses of action,
most people will choose the worst one possible.

•Ginsberg's Restatement of the Laws of Thermodynamics:
You can't win. You can't break even. You can't quit.

•Ehrman's Commentary:
Things will get worse before they will get
better. Who said things would get better?

•Commoner's Second Law of Ecology:
Nothing ever goes away.

•Howe's Law:
Everyone has a scheme that will not work.

•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.

•Law of Interchangeable Parts:
Interchangeable parts won't.

•Law of Lost Article:
You never find a lost article
until you replace it.

•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.

Law of Unused:
•If nobody uses it, there's a reason.

•The Airplane Law:
When the plane you are on is late,
the plane you want to transfer to is on time.

•Etorre's Observation:
The other line moves faster.

•First Law of Revision:
Information necessitiating 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)

•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.

•Corollary to the First Law of Revision:
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.

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is obsolete.

II. Any given program costs more and
takes longer.

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

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

V. Any program will expand to fill
available memory.

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

VII. Program complexity grows until it
exceeds the capabilities of the programmer
who must maintain it.

VIII. Any non-trivial program contains at
least one bug.

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

X. Adding manpower to a late software
project makes it later.

•Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology:
There's always one more bug.

•Shaw's Principle:
Build a system that even a fool can use,
and only a fool will want to use it.

•Law of the Perversity of Nature:
You cannot successfully determine beforehand
which side of the bread to butter.

•Law of Selective Gravity:
An object will fall so as to do
the most damage.

•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.

•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.

•Lowery's Law:
If it jams - force it. If it breaks,
it needed replacing anyway.

•Schmidt's Law:
If you mess with a thing long enough,
it'll break.

•Anthony's Law of Force:
Don't force it - get a bigger hammer.

•Cahn's Axiom:
When all else fails, read the

•Gordon's First Law:
If a project is not worth doing at
all, it's not worth doing well.

•Law of Research:
Enough research will tend
to support your theory.

•Maier's Law:
If the facts do not conform to the
theory, they must be disposed of.

•Peer's Law:
The solution to the problem
changes the problem.

Law of Help:
•Help a man when he is in trouble
and he will remember you when he
is in trouble again.

•Carson's Law:
It's better to be rich and healthy
than poor and sick.

•The Golden Rule:
He who has the gold, makes the rules.

•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.

•Knight's Law:
Life is what happens to you 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.

•Benchley's Law of Distinction:
There are two kinds of people in the world,
those who believe there are two kinds of
people in the world and those who don't.

•Harver's Law:
A drunken man's words are
a sober man's thoughts.

•Gibb's Law:
Infinity is one lawyer waiting
for another.

•Rule of Accuracy:
When working towards the solution
of a problem, it always helps if
you know the answer.

•Law of Problems:
Inside every small problem is a
large problem struggling to get out.

•Wyszowski's Law:
No experiment is reproducible.

•Fett's Law:
Never replicate a successful

•Brooke's Law:
Whenever a system becomes completely
defined, some damn fool discovers something
which either abolishes the system or expands
it beyond recognition.

•The first Myth of Management:
It exists.

•Law of Need:
Spend sufficient time confirming the
need and the need will disappear.

•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.

•Wiker's Law:
Government expands to absorb revenue
and then some.

•Clarke's First Law:
When a distinguished but elderly scientist
states that something is possible, he is
almost certainly right. When he states that
something is impossible, he is very probably

•Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology
is indistinguishable from magic.

•Segal's Law:
A man with a watch knows what time
it is. A man with two watches is
never sure.

•Weiler's Law:
Nothing is impossible for the man
who does not have to do it himself.

•Weinberg's Second Law:
If builders built buildings the way
programmers wrote programs, the first
woodpecker to come along would destroy

•Hartley's Second Law:
Never go to bed with anybody crazier
than you are.

•Beckhap's Law:
Beauty times brains equals a constant.

•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.

•Jone's Motto:
Friends come and go but
enemies accumulate.

•Churchill's commentary on man:
Man will occasionally stumble over
the truth, but most of the time he
will pick himself up and continue on.

•The ultimate Law:
All general statements are false.

•The Unspeakable Law:
As soon as you mention something;
if it is good, it goes away. if it
is bad, it happens.

•The Whispered Rule:
People will believe anything if
you whisper it.

•The First Law of Wing Walking:
Never let hold of what you've got until
you've got hold of something else.

•Farnsdick's corollary:
After things have gone from bad to
worse, the cycle will repeat itself.

•Lynch's Law:
When the going gets tough, everybody

•Law of Revelation:
The hidden flaw never remains hidden.

•Langsam's Law:
Everything depends.

•Hellrung's Law:
If you wait, it will go away.
(Shevelson's Extension: ... having done
its damage.) [Grelb's Addition: ... if
it was bad, it will be back.]

•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.

•Witten's Law:
Whenever you cut your fingernails,
you will find a need for them an hour

•Perkin's postulate:
The bigger they are, the harder they hit.

•Harrison's Postulate:
For every action, there is an equal
and opposite criticism.

•Conway's Law:
In every organization there will always
be one person who knows what is going on.
-> This person must be fired.

•Stewart's Law of Retroaction:
It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

•MacDonald's Second Law:
Consultants are mystical people who ask a
company for a number and give it back to them.

•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.

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

•Horngren's Observation: (generalized)
The real world is a special case.

•Merkin's Maxim:
When in doubt, predict that the
present trend will continue.

•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.

•Never attribute to malice that which
is adequately explained by stupidity.

•Matz's warning:
Beware of the physician who is great
at getting out of trouble.

•Gold's Law:
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.

•Lewis' Law:
People will buy anything that's
one to a customer.

•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.

•Shirley's Law:
Most people deserve each other.

•Woltman's Law:
Never program and drink beer at
the same time.

•Gallois' Revelation:
If you put tomfoolery into a computer,
nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But
this tomfoolery, having passed through
a very expensive machine, is somehow
enobled, and no one dares to criticize it.

•Galbraith's Law of Political Wisdom:
Anyone who says he is not going to resign,
four times, definitely will.

•Allen's Law:
Almost anything is easier to get
into than out of.

•Allen's Axiom:
When all else fails, follow instructions.

•Allen's Distinction:
The lion and the calf shall lie
down together, but the calf won't
get much sleep.

•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.

•Colson's Law:
When you've got them by the balls,
their hearts and minds will follow.

•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

•Goldwyn's Law of Contracts:
A verbal contract isn't worth the
paper it's written on.

•Jacquin's Postulate on Democratic Government:
No man's life, liberty, or property are safe
while the legislature is in session.

•Jone's Principle:
Needs are a function of what other
people have.

•Langin's Law:
If things were left to chance,
they'd be better.

•In America, it's not how much an item
costs that matters, it's how much you save.

•If you can keep your head when all about
you are losing theirs, maybe you just don't
understand the situation.

•Mencken's Metalaw:
For every human problem, there is a neat,
simple solution; and it is always wrong.

•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.

•Peer's Law:
The solution to the problem changes
the problem.

•Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

•Lyall's Conjecture:
If a computer cable has one end,
then it has another.

•Lyall's Fundamental Observation:
The most important leg of a three legged
stool is the one that's missing.

•Pournelle's Law of Costs and Schedules:
Everything costs more and takes longer.

•Klipstein's Lament:
All warranty and guarantee clauses are
voided by payment of the invoice.

•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.

•Rosenfield's Regret:
The most delicate component will
be dropped.

•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 ommitted.

•You can't fight the law of conservation
of energy but you sure can bargain with it.

•Gerrold's Fundamental Truth:
It's a good thing money can't buy happiness.
We couldn't stand the commercials.

•Gerrold's Law:
A little ignorance can go a long way.
(Lyall's Addendum: ...in the direction
of maximum harm.)

•Gerrold's Pronouncement:
The difference between a politician
and a snail is that a snail leaves
its slime behind.

•Paul's Law:
You can't fall off the floor.

•Heller's Law:
The first myth of management is
that it exists.

•First Law of Bicycling:
No matter which way you ride,
it's uphill and against the wind.

•Osborn's Law: Variables won't;
constants aren't.

•Weinberg's Second Law:
If builders built buildings the way
programmers wrote programs, then the
first woodpecker that came along would
destroy civilization.

•First Law of Socio-Genetics:
Celibacy is not hereditary.

•Parker's Law:
Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly
goes clean to the bone.

•Hartley's First Law:
You can lead a horse to water, but if you
can get him to float on his back, you've
got something.

•Ralph's Observation:
It is a mistake to allow any mechanical
object to realize that you are in a hurry.

•Manly's Maxim:
Logic is a systematic method of coming
to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

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

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.


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