Murphy's Laws by Topic

Copyright © 1997 by Andreas Götz

Computers, Research and Technology

Murphy's Laws of Computer Programming
Murphy's Laws of Computation
Murphy's Computer Laws
Murphy's Laws of PC's
Murphy's Hardware Laws
Murphy's Laws on Technology
Murphy's Laws of BBS'ing
Murphy's Laws of Broadcast Engineering
Murphy's Law for Researchers
Ralf's Laws of Observational Astronomy

Schools and Education

Murphy's Laws Concerning Education
Murphy's Laws of Teaching
Murphy's Laws for School Administrators

Sex and Dating

Murphy's Laws of Dating
Murphy's Laws on Sex
Mother Murphy's Laws
Murphy's Love Laws


Murphy's Food Laws
Murphy's Laws of Eating
Murphy's Laws on Vending Machines


General Shefields Corollaries
Murphy's In Laws
Murphy's Laws of Camping
Murphy's Military Laws
New Military Laws
Murphy's Laws of Sewing
Sad Thruth's of Life
Murphy's Laws for Frequent Flyers
Murphy's Driving Laws
Murphy's Horse Laws
Murphy's Laws of Martial Arts
Murphy's Laws on Work
Murphy's Laws on Bush Fire Brigades
Murphy's Laws of Corn Growing
Murphy's Laws of Locksmithing
H.L. Mencken on Murphy
Murphy's Laws of Antiques

Related Topics

Murphy's Law Proven with Quantum Mechanics
Anti- Murphy's Laws
The Problem of Anti Gravity
Why Why Why

Murphy's Laws of Computer Programming

  1. Every non- trivial program has at least one bug
    Corollary 1 - A sufficient condition for program triviality is that it have no bugs.
    Corollary 2 - At least one bug will be observed after the author leaves the organization.
  2. Bugs will appear in one part of a working program when another 'unrelated' part is modified.
  3. The subtlest bugs cause the greatest damage and problems.
    Corollary - A subtle bug will modify storage thereby masquerading as some other problem.
  4. Lulled into Security Law
    A 'debugged' program that crashes will wipe out source files on storage devices when there is the least available backup.
  5. A hardware failure will cause system software to crash, and the customer engineer will blame the programmer.
  6. A system software crash will cause hardware to act strangely and the programmers will blame the customer engineer.
  7. Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
  8. Any given program costs more and takes longer.
  9. If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
  10. If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
  11. Any program will expand to fill available memory.
  12. The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
  13. Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capabilities of the programmer who must maintain it.
  14. Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
  15. Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
  16. Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English, and you will find that programmers can not write in English.
  17. The documented interfaces between standard software modules will have undocumented quirks.
  18. The probability of a hardware failure disappearing is inversely proportional to the distance between the computer and the customer engineer.

Murphy's Laws of Computation

Murphy's Computer Laws

  1. No matter how many resources you have, it is never enough.
  2. Any cool program always requires more memory than you have.
  3. When you finally buy enough memory, you will not have enough disk space.
  4. Disks are always full. It is futile to try to get more disk space. Data expands to fill any void.
  5. If a program actually fits in memory and has enough disk space, it is guaranteed to crash.
  6. If such a program has not crashed yet, it is waiting for a critical moment before it crashes.
  7. No matter how good of a deal you get on computer components, the price will always drop immediately after the purchase.
  8. All components become obsolete.
  9. The speed with which components become obsolete is directly proportional to the price of the component.
  10. Software bugs are impossible to detect by anybody except the end user.

Murphy's Laws of PC's

Murphy's Hardware Laws

  1. The maintenance engineer will never have seen a model quite like yours before.
  2. It is axiomatic that any spares required will have just been discontinued and will be no longer in stock.
  3. Any VDU, from the cheapest to the most expensive, will protect a twenty cent fuse by blowing first.
  4. Any manufacturer making his warranties dependent upon the device being earthed will only supply power cabling with two wires.
  5. If a circuit requires n components, then there will be only n - 1 components in locally-held stocks.
  6. A failure in a device will never appear until it has passed final inspection.

Murphy's Laws on Technology

  1. You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
  2. Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
  3. Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
  4. An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
  5. 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.
  6. All great discoveries are made by mistake.
  7. The first myth of management is that is exists.
  8. A failure will not appear until the unit has passed final inspection.
  9. Nothing motivates a man more than to see his boss putting in an honest day's work.
  10. Some people manage by the book, even they don't know who wrote the book, or even what book.
  11. To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
  12. After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.
  13. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  14. The only perfect science is hindsight.
  15. If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
  16. When all else fails, read the instructions.
  17. 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.
  18. When any instrument is dropped, it will roll into the least accessible corner.
  19. Any simple theory will be worded in the most complicated way.
  20. The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management.
  21. Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.
  22. After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.
  23. 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.
  24. If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
  25. If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
  26. The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management.
  27. The only perfect science is hind-sight.
  28. The attention span of a computer is only as long as it electrical cord.
  29. Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.
  30. A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.
  31. New systems generate new problems.
  32. We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.
  33. A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.
  34. A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
  35. If mathematically you end up with the incorrect answer, try multiplying by the page number.
  36. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
  37. The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.
  38. The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.
  39. 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.

Murphy's Laws of BBS'ing

Murphy's Laws of Broadcast Engineering

Murphy's Laws for Researchers

  1. If you think of something new, it's been done.
  2. If you think something is important, no one else will.
  3. If you throw it away, someone else will publish it, obtain a grant, write a book, and get on the Oprah Winfrey show.
  4. No theory will answer the important questions.
    Corollary: All theories are irrelevant.
  5. When you think you have discovered the real problem, you have not.
    Corollary: When you are sure it is not important, it is.
  6. Your study will only make sense as long as your research question is hazy.
  7. The more you enjoy your research, the less data there is to support it.

Ralf's Laws of Observational Astronomy

  1. Seeing is always (6 - (# of setup steps to do))
  2. There are no working trigger cables, unless they are too short
  3. Disk space is always ((Data set size) - 200 MB)
  4. The number of terminals in a computer network is always ((number of potential users) - 1)
  5. There are never clouds in the sky unless the setup is complete
  6. A filter set contains all imaginable wavelengths and widths- except the one combination you need
  7. The number of days of observation time you get is
    ((days for setup) + (days of bad weather) + (days when computers are down) + (days when telescope is out of order) - 1)
  8. Scattered light never gets into your setup where it is possible.

Murphy's Laws Concerning Education

Murphy's Laws of Teaching

An Instructor's guide to Murphy's Law.
  1. The clock in the instructor's room will be wrong.
  2. Disaster will occur when visitors are in the room.
  3. A subject interesting to the teacher will bore students.
  4. The time a teacher takes in explaining is inversely proportional to the information retained by students.
  5. A meeting's length will be directly proportional to the boredom the speaker produces
  6. Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.
  7. The problem child will be a school board member's son.
  8. When the instructor is late, he will meet the principal in the hall. If the instructor is late and does not meet the principal, the instructor is late to the faculty meeting.
  9. New students come from schools that do not teach anything.
  10. Good students move away.
  11. When speaking to the school psychologist, the teacher will say: "weirdo" rather than "emotionally disturbed."
  12. The school board will make a better pay offer before the teacher's union negotiates.
  13. The instructor's study hall be the largest in several years.
  14. The administration will veiw the study hall as the teacher's preparation time.
  15. Clocks will run more quickly during free time.
  16. On a test day, at least 15% of the class will be absent
  17. If the instructor teaches art, the principal will be an ex-coach and will dislike art. If the instructor is a coach, the principal will be an ex-coach who took a winning team to the state.
  18. Murphy's Law will go into effect at the beginning of an evaluation.

Murphy's Laws for School Administrators

Murphy's Laws of Dating

Just when you thought it was safe to go out ...

  1. Every girl already has a boyfriend.
  2. If you think things are going well in a relationship, you have overlooked something.
  3. Given enough time, any relationship will end unhappily.
  4. Everywhere in the world, women outnumber men. The only exceptions to this are the place you live and any place you may move to.
  5. Women will talk to you if and only if they are unavailable.
  6. No woman will treat you as badly as the woman you marry.

A few corollaries :

Murphy's Laws on Sex

  1. The more beautiful the woman is who loves you, the easier it is to leave her with no hard feeling.
  2. Nothing improves with age.
  3. No matter how many times you've had it, if it's offered take it, because it'll never be quite the same again.
  4. Sex has no calories.
  5. Sex takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.
  6. There is no remedy for sex but more sex.
  7. Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got.
  8. No sex with anyone in the same office.
  9. Sex is like snow; you never know how many inches you are going to get or how long it is going to last.
  10. A man in the house is worth two in the street.
  11. If you get them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
  12. Virginity can be cured.
  13. When a man's wife learns to understand him, she usually stops listening to him.
  14. Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.
  15. The qualities that most attract a woman to a man are usually the same ones she can't stand years later.
  16. Sex is dirty only if it's done right.
  17. It is always the wrong time of month.
  18. The best way to hold a man is in your arms.
  19. When the lights are out, all women are beautiful.
  20. Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, chances are you won't either.
  21. Sow your wild oats on Saturday night- Then on Sunday pray for crop failure.
  22. The younger the better.
  23. The game of love is never called off on account of darkness.
  24. It was not the apple on the tree but the pair on the ground that caused the trouble in the garden.
  25. Sex discriminates against the shy and the ugly.
  26. Before you find your handsome prince, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs.
  27. There may be some things better than sex, and some things worse than sex. But there is nothing exactly like it.
  28. Love your neighbor, but don't get caught.
  29. Love is a hole in the heart.
  30. If the effort that went in research on the female bosom had gone into our space program, we would now be running hot-dog stands on the moon.
  31. Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics.
  32. Do it only with the best.
  33. Sex is a three-letter word which needs some old-fashioned four-letter words to convey its full meaning.
  34. One good turn gets most of the blankets.
  35. You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women.
  36. Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
  37. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
  38. Thou shalt not commit adultery... unless in the mood.
  39. Never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than you.
  40. Abstain from wine, women, and song; mostly song.
  41. Never argue with a women when she's tired- or rested.
  42. A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he couldn't.
  43. What matters is not the length of the wand, but the magic in the stick.
  44. It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
  45. Never say no.
  46. A man can be happy with any woman as long as he doesn't love her.
  47. Folks playing leapfrog must complete all jumps.
  48. Beauty is skin deep; ugly goes right to the bone.
  49. Never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.
  50. A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.
  51. Love comes in spurts.
  52. The world does not revolve on an axis.
  53. Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation; the other eight are unimportant.
  54. Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.
  55. Don't do it if you can't keep it up.
  56. There is no difference between a wise man and a fool when they fall in love.
  57. Never go to bed mad, stay up and fight.
  58. Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
  59. "This won't hurt, I promise."

Mother Murphy's Laws

Murphy's Love Laws

  1. All the good ones are taken.
  2. If the person isn't taken, there's a reason. (Corrollary 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. Money can't buy love, but it sure gets you a great bargaining position.
  7. The best things in the world are free -- and worth every penny of it.
  8. Every kind action has a not-so-kind reaction.
  9. Nice guys (girls) finish last.
  10. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  11. Availability is a function of time. The minute you get interested is the minute they find someone else.

Murphy's Food Laws

  1. Everything you like is bad for you.
  2. If it isn't bad for you, it's too expensive.
  3. If you can afford it, it's out of season.
  4. You will realize it's back in season the day that the grocery store runs out.
  5. Every recipe ever written includes one ingredient that you do not have in your kitchen. If you attempt to go buy this ingredient, you will realize you are missing another one.
  6. Substitutions never taste right.
  7. Ovens either overcook or undercook. They never get it just right.
  8. Microwave ovens always overcook and undercook at the same time.
  9. The grocery store always gets a fresh shipment immediately after you buy your food for the week.
  10. You will always forget the most important item if you don't make a list.
  11. If you do make a list, the store will be out of your most important item.
  12. Every item in the store will be on sale, except the ones that you want.
  13. Coupons always expire before you have a chance to use them.
  14. The only person who ever gets to use coupons is the person in front of you in line.
  15. The number of coupons of the person in front of you is directly proportional to how much of a hurry you're in.
  16. No matter which checkout line you get in, it will always be the slowest one.
  17. The "Fast lane" isn't.
  18. Stores open 24-hours cannot close for their daily inventory update. Therefore, they just turn off the registers for ten minutes while they "download" the data. Invariably, they will plan this event to coincide with your arrival in the checkout line.

Murphy's Laws of Eating

If you want to die healthy, you must starve to death. This is said by an unknown author (it might be myself).

Thank to the remarkable knowledge of our experts, the delight of eating is taken away from us. Don't eat this, don't eat that - papers, radio and television are united against you. Let's see some Murphy's laws about the people's favorite pastime - eating.

Murphy's Laws on Vending Machines

  1. Vending machines only contain edible material when you are not hungry.
  2. The person in front of you will always get the last one.
  3. If the vending machine actually has what you want, it will cost more than the amount of change that you have.
  4. Anything you purchase will get stuck and hang on the edge of the rack.
  5. If you only have dollar bills, the vending machine will reject them.
  6. There are only two times when vending machine operators appear: when you kick the machine in disgust, and when you try to shake the machine to make your stuck snack fall.
  7. Vending machine operators will never have a sense of irony or humor.

General Shefields Corollaries

The basic law, from which the remainder derive, is that 'If anything can go wrong, it will.' In mathematical terms this means that 1+1=2, where '=' is the mathematical symbol for 'hardly ever'. Here are a few corollaries of Edsel Murphy's Law, as quoted by General Shefield:

Murphy's In Laws

  1. Nothing is ever as simple as it first seems.
  2. Everything you decide to do costs more than first estimated.
  3. Every activity takes more time than you have.
  4. By trying to please everybody, somebody will be displeased.
  5. It is a fundamental Law of Nature that nothing ever quite works out.
  6. It is easier to make a commitment or get involved in something than to get out of it.
  7. Whatever you set out to do, something else must be done first.
  8. If you improve or tinker with something long enough, eventually it will break or malfunction.
  9. By making something absolutely clear, someone will become confused.
  10. Every clarification breeds new questions.
  11. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, and that is sufficient.
  12. Persons disagreeing with your facts are always emotional and employ faulty reasoning.
  13. Enough research will tend to support your conclusions.
  14. The greater the importance of decisions to be made, the larger must be the committee assigned to make them.
  15. The more urgent the need for decision, the less apparent becomes the identity of the decision maker.
  16. The more complex the idea or technology, the more simple- minded the opposition.
  17. Each profession talks to itself in its own unique language. Apparently, there is no rosetta stone. [rosetta stone: mythical stone enscribed with properties of a universal translator]

Murphy's Laws of Camping

  1. Any stone in a hiking boot migrates to the point of maximum pressure.
  2. The distance to a given camp site remains constant as twilight approaches.
  3. The number of mosquitoes at any given location is inversely proportional to the amount of repellent that remains.
  4. The probability of diarrhea increases with the square of the thistle content of the local vegetation.
  5. Scout troops of the opposite sex are only encountered while dealing with the diarrhea mentioned above.
  6. The area of level ground in the neighborhood tends to vanish as the need to make camp becomes finite.
  7. In a mummy bag the urgency of ones need to urinate is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing worn. It is also inversely proportional to the temperature and the degree to which the mummy bag is completely zipped up.
  8. Waterproof clothing isn't. (However, it is 100% effective at containing sweat).
  9. The width of backpack straps decreases with the distance hiked. To compensate, the weight of the backpack increases.
  10. Average temperature increases with the amount of clothing brought.
  11. Tent stakes come only in the quantity "N-1" where N is the number of stakes necessary to stake down a tent.
  12. Propane/butane tanks that are full when they are packed, will unexplainably empty themselves before you can reach the campsite.
  13. Given a chance, matches will find a way to get wet.
  14. Your side of the tent is the side that leaks.
  15. All foods assume a uniform taste, texture, and color when freeze-dried.
  16. Divide the number of servings by two when reading the directions for reconstituting anything freeze-dried.
  17. When reading the instructions of a pump-activated water filter, "hour" should be substituted for "minute" when reading the average quarts filtered per minute.
  18. The weight in a backpack can never remain uniformly distributed.
  19. All tree branches in a forest grow outward from their respective trunks at exactly the height of your nose. If you are male, tree branches will also grow at groin height.
  20. You will lose the little toothpick in your Swiss Army knife as soon as you open the box.
  21. Rain. ('nuff said)
  22. Enough dirt will get tracked into the tent on the first day out, that you can grow the food you need for the rest of the trip in rows between sleeping bags.
  23. When camping in late fall or winter, your underwear will stay at approximately 35.702 degrees Kelvin no matter how long you keep it in your sleeping bag with you.
  24. Bears. (see Rain)
  25. The sun sets three-and-a-half times faster than normal when you're trying to set up camp.
  26. Tents never come apart as easily when you're leaving a site as when you're trying to get them set up in the first place.
  27. When planning to take time off of work/school for your camping trip, always add an extra week, because when you get home from your "vacation" you'll be too tired to go to back for a week after.

Murphy's Military Laws

  1. Friendly fire -- aint.
  2. Recoilless rifles -- aren't.
  3. Suppressive fires -- won't.
  4. If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; if you can't pick it up, paint it.
  5. If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
  6. If your advance is going well, you are walking into an ambush.
  7. If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  8. Incoming fire has the right of way.
  9. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
  10. No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
  11. The Army Axiom: Any order that can be misunderstood has been misunderstood.
  12. The buddy system is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.
  13. The further you are in advance of your own positions, the more likely your artillery will shoot short.
  14. The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map.
  15. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire .
  16. The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned positions.
  17. The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it .
  18. The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small.
  19. A retreating enemy is probably just falling back and regrouping.
  20. Airstrikes always overshoot the target, artillery always falls short.
  21. All-weather close air support doesn't work in bad weather.
  22. Anything you do can get you killed, including nothing.
  23. As soon as you are served hot chow in the field, it rains.
  24. Combat will occur on the ground between two adjoining maps.
  25. Density of fire increases proportionally to the curiousness of the target.
  26. Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last and don't ever volunteer to do anything.
  27. Don't be conspicuous. In the combat zone, it draws fire. Out of the combat zone, it draws sergeants.
  28. Don't look conspicuous; it draws fire. For this reason, it is not at all uncommon for aircraft carriers to be known as bomb magnets.
  29. Every command which can be misunderstood, will be.
  30. Everything always works in your HQ, everything always fails in the Colonel's HQ.
  31. Exceptions prove the rule, and destroy the battle plan.
  32. Field experience is something you never get until just after you need it.
  33. For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism. (in boot camp)
  34. Fortify your front; you'll get your rear shot up.
  35. If enough data is collected, a board of inquiry can prove anything.
  36. If it's stupid but it works, it isn't stupid.
  37. If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it is usually a stupid solution.
  38. If orders can be misunderstood, they have been.
  39. If the enemy is in range so are you.
  40. If the enemy is within range, so are you.
  41. If the Platoon Sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.
  42. If you are forward of your position, your artillery will fall short.
  43. If you are short of everything but the enemy, you are in the combat zone.
  44. If you can't remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
  45. If you take more than your fair share of objectives, you will get more than your fair share of objectives to take.
  46. If your ambush is properly set, the enemy won't walk into it.
  47. If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
  48. If your flank march is going well, the enemy expects you to outflank him.
  49. If your positions are firmly set and you are prepared to take the enemy assault on, he will bypass you.
  50. It isn't necessary to be an idiot to be a senior officer, but it sure helps.
  51. It's not the one with your name on it; it's the one addressed "to whom it may concern" you've got to think about.
  52. Killing for peace is like screwing for virginity.
  53. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in, and you won't be able to get out.
  54. Military Intelligence is an oxymoron.
  55. Mines are equal opportunity weapons.
  56. Murphy was a grunt.
  57. Never draw fire; it irritates everyone around you.
  58. Never forget that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.
  59. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself.
  60. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
  61. Never tell the Captain or Deputy Captain you have nothing to do.
  62. Friendly fire isn't.
  63. Never tell the Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.
  64. No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
  65. No inspection ready unit has ever passed combat.
  66. No matter which way you have to march, its always uphill.
  67. Odd objects attract fire never lurk behind one.
  68. One enemy soldier is never enough, but two is entirely too many.
  69. Professional soldiers are predictable; the world is full of dangerous amateurs.
  70. Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.)
  71. Radios will fail as soon as you need fire support.
  72. Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the General is watching.
  73. Suppressive fires won't.
  74. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at.
  75. The bursting radius of a hand grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.
  76. The Cavalry doesn't always come to the rescue.
  77. The combat worth of a unit is inversely proportional to the smartness of its outfit and appearance.
  78. The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.
  79. The enemy diversion you're ignoring is their main attack.
  80. The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions:
  81. The enemy never monitors your radio frequency until you broadcast on an unsecured channel.
  82. The enemy never watches until you make a mistake.
  83. The important things are always simple; the simple are always hard.
  84. The more stupid the leader is, the more important missions he is ordered to carry out.
  85. The most dangerous thing in the world is a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass.
  86. The newest and least experienced soldier will usually win the Medal of Honor.
  87. The one item you need is always in short supply.
  88. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
  89. The perfect officer for the job will transfer in the day after that billet is filled by someone else.
  90. The self-importance of a superior is inversely proportional to his position in the hierarchy (as is his deviousness and mischievousness).
  91. The seriousness of a wound (in a firefight) is inversely proportional to the distance to any form of cover.
  92. The army with the smartest dress uniform will lose.
  93. The tough part about being an officer is that the troops don't know what they want, but they know for certain what they don't want.
  94. There is always a way, and it usually doesn't work.
  95. There is no such place as a convenient foxhole.
  96. There is no such thing as a perfect plan.
  97. There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and miss.
  98. A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive.
  99. Things that must be together to work usually can't be shipped together.
  100. Things which must be shipped together as a set, aren't.
  101. Those who hesitate under fire usually do not end up KIA, MIA or WIA.
  102. To steal information from a person is called plagiarism. To steal information from the enemy is called gathering intelligence.
  103. Tracers work both ways.
  104. Try to look unimportant; the enemy may be low on ammo and not want to waste a bullet on you.
  105. Uniforms only come in two sizes, too small and too large.
  106. Weather ain't neutral.
  107. When both sides are convinced they're about to lose, they're both right.
  108. When in doubt, empty your magazine.
  109. When reviewing the radio frequencies that you just wrote down, the most important ones are always illegible.
  110. When you have secured the area, make sure the enemy knows it too.
  111. When you have sufficient supplies & ammo, the enemy takes 2 weeks to attack. When you are low on supplies & ammo the enemy decides to attack that night.
  112. Whenever you have plenty of ammo, you never miss. Whenever you are low on ammo, you can't hit the broad side of a barn.

  113. You are not Superman; Marines and fighter pilots take note.
  114. A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down.
  115. If at first you don't succeed, call in an airstrike.
  116. Never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself.
  117. No OpPlan ever survives initial contact.
  118. All five-second grenade fuses will burn down in three seconds.
  119. There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.
  120. The easy way is always mined.
  121. There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and miss.
  122. Radar tends to fail at night and in bad weather, and especially during both.
  123. Military Intelligence is a contradiction.
  124. Air defense motto: shoot 'em down; sort 'em out on the ground.
  125. 'Flies high, it dies; low and slow, it'll go.
  126. Napalm is an area support weapon.
  127. B-52s are the ultimate close support weapon.
  128. Sniper's motto: reach out and touch someone.

New Military Laws

  1. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend.
  2. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.
  3. Automatic weapons - aren't.
  4. Never mind the bullet with your name on it, try to avoid the shrapnel addressed to occupant.
  5. Body count math -> 3 guerrillas plus 1 probable plus 2 pigs equals 37 enemies killed in action.
  6. Your weapon was made on an assembly line by the same type of people who made your car.
  7. All 15 round magazines will be a few rounds short in a firefight.
  8. No one ever carries too much ammo.
  9. Pilots who can see you when dropping you supplies cannot see you when dropping bombs.
  10. Whenever you drop your equipment in a fire-fight, your ammo and grenades always fall the farthest away, and your canteen always lands at your feet.
  11. Your bivouac for the night is the spot where got tired of marching that day.
  12. Suppressive fire works on everything but the enemy.
  13. You are not Superman, but sometimes thinking you are will save you ass!
  14. There's no such thing as a "sucking chest wound," all chest wounds suck.
  15. Anything the Army says is man-portable, isn't.
  16. All battles are fought at the junction of two or more map sheets, ... printed at different scales.
  17. What gets you promoted from one rank gets you killed in the next rank.
  18. A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.
  19. When a front line soldier overhears two General Staff officers conferring, he's fallen back too far.
  20. The weight of all of your equipment is proportional to the cube of the time you have been carrying it.
  21. There are two kinds of naval vessels: submarines and targets.
  22. Surprise is an event that takes place in the mind of a commander.
  23. If they're shooting at you, it's a high intensity conflict.
  24. Mine fields are not neutral. They attack both armies.
  25. The effective radius of a hand grenade is greater then the average grunt can throw it.
  26. Odd objects attract fire. You are odd.
  27. If it flies, it dies.
  28. Peace is our profession, mass murder's just a hobby.
  29. If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs, you may have misjudged the situation.
  30. Whenever you lose contact with the enemy, look behind you.
  31. If you find yourself in front of your platoon they know something you don't.

Murphy's Laws of Sewing

  1. Fusible interfacings always fuse to the iron.
  2. The serger only eats the customer's garment.
  3. If you need 6 buttons, you will find 5 in your button box.
  4. The seam you meant to rip out is invariably the other one.
  5. When you are in a hurry, the needle eye is always too small.
  6. The fabric you forgot to pre-shrink will always shrink the most.
  7. The pattern you wanted to make again will have one key piece missing.
  8. If you drop something out of your sewing basket, it will be your box of pins .... with the cover off.
  9. Whenever the construction process is going well, the bobbin thread runs out.
  10. The magnitude of the goof is in direct proportion to the cost of the fabric.
  11. Your lost needle will be found by your son, husband or brother-in-law... while walking around barefoot.
  12. Facings tend to be sewn to the wrong side. (Opposite sides attract).
  13. Collar points don't match, and you've trimmed all the seams.
  14. The iron never scorches the garment until its final pressing.
  15. The steam iron only burps rusty water on light silk fabric.
  16. The sewing machine light usually burns out on Sunday.
  17. Pinking shears get dull just by looking at them.
  18. Gathering threads always break in the middle.
  19. The scissors cut easiest past the buttonhole.

Sad Truths of Life

Murphy's Laws for Frequent Flyers

  1. No flight ever leaves on time unless you are running late and need the delay to make the flight.
  2. If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate within the terminal.
  3. If you arrive very early for a flight, it inevitably will be delayed.
  4. Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world.
  5. If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper.
  6. If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just look for the two largest passengers.
  7. Only passengers seated in window seats ever have to get up to go to the lavatory.
  8. The crying baby on board your flight is always seated next to you.
  9. The best-looking woman on your flight is never seated next to you.
  10. The less carry-on luggage space available on an aircraft, the more carry-on luggage passengers will bring aboard.

Murphy's Driving Laws

  1. If you try to leave the proper driving distance between you and the car in front of you, someone will always move in.
  2. The guy that has a bumper sticker that says "If you can read this, You're too close" always tailgates.
  3. Trucks that overturn on the highway are alway filled with something sticky.
  4. There's always room to merge behind a diesel bus.
  5. As soon as you change lanes to a faster lane, it becomes the slowest lane.
  6. If you try to change lanes to get off the ramp, the guy in the lane to your right will always speed up.
  7. Wherever you park your car in the summer, the sun is always shining on the driver's seat.
  8. It takes longer to get there than it does to get back.
  9. If all the cars are coming your way -- you're probably going the wrong way on a one-way street.
  10. If you park several blocks away from your destination, there will always be a parking space right in front of it.
  11. The first bug to land on your clean windshield will always splatter right in front of your eyes.
  12. When you need to change a flat tire, you discover that the spare tire is flat too.
  13. The air conditioning breaks down on the hottest day of the year.
  14. A ding in the door is more aggravating than a dent.
  15. A traffic light will always turn yellow as you approach it.
  16. Your car never malfunctions or makes the same noise in front of your mechanic.
  17. Your car runs worse after being serviced.
  18. The engine falls out of the car the day after the warranty expires.
  19. Your car horn will always get stuck when your're behind a group of "Hell's Angels".

Murphy's Horse Laws

  1. If you do a thorough check of your trailer before hauling, your truck will break down.
  2. There is no such thing as a sterile barn cat.
  3. No one ever notices how you ride until you fall off.
  4. The least useful horse in your barn will eat the most, require shoes every four weeks and need the vet at least once a month.
  5. A horse's misbehavior will be in direct proportion to the number of people who are watching.
  6. Tack you hate never wears out; blankets you hate cannot be destroyed; horses you hate cannot be sold and will outlive you.
  7. Clipper blades will become dull only when the horse is half finished. Clipper motors will quit only when you have the horse's head left to trim.
  8. If you're wondering if you left the water on in the barn, you did. If you're wondering if you latched the pasture gate, you didn't.
  9. One horse isn't enough; two is too many.
  10. If you approach within 50 feet of the barn in your "street clothes," you will get dirty.
  11. You can't push a horse on a lunge line.
  12. If a horse is advertised "under $5,000," you can bet he isn't $2,500.
  13. The number of horses you own increases according to the number of stalls in your barn.
  14. An uncomplicated horse can be ruined with enough schooling.
  15. You can't run a barn without baling twine.
  16. Hoof picks migrate.
  17. Wind velocity increases in direct proportion to how well your hat fits.
  18. There is no such thing as the "right feed."
  19. If you fall off, you will land on the site of your most recent injury.
  20. If you're winning, quit.

Murphy's Laws of Martial Arts

Ten scientific principles that apply to the study of all martial arts :

  1. The wimp who made it through the eliminations on luck alone will suddenly turn into Bruce Lee when you're up against him.
  2. The referee will always be looking the other way when you score.
  3. You will have trouble with the ties on your gi pants when members of the opposite sex are in class.
  4. The day you leave work early to make it to class on time, the sensei will be sick.
  5. The sensei will only use you during demonstrations for joint-locking and sweeping techniques.
  6. If you have to use your training in self-defence, your assailant's father will be a lawyer.
  7. After a flawless demonstration, you will trip on your way back to your seat.
  8. After years of training without a single injury, you will pull a groin muscle the night before your black belt grading.
  9. In an otherwise vacant locker room, the only other person will have the locker right next to yours.
  10. No matter how many times you take care of it before your grading, you will invariably have to go to the bathroom when it's your turn.

Murphy's Laws on Work

Murphy's Bush Fire Brigade Laws

  1. Don't look conspicuous. When your dealing with the public it draws stupid questions. Back on Station it draws Crew Leaders.
  2. There is always an easy way.
  3. The easy way usually results in more damage done than less or is blocked by a large, pissed off dog who hasn't eaten in a week.
  4. When dealing with the public try to look unimportant, They may go and find someone else to ask that stupid question to.
  5. Falling trees have the right of way.
  6. Uniforms only come in two sizes, too small and too large.
  7. If your Captain can see you then so can the public.
  8. Never worry about the falling tree branch with your name on it. Instead, worry about the falling tree addressed, "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN".
  9. If orders can be misunderstood, they have been.
  10. It isn't necessary to be an idiot to be a senior officer, but it sure helps.
  11. Priorities are made by Crew Leaders, not GOD. Theres a difference.
  12. Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.
  13. Never tell the Captain or Deputy Captain you have nothing to do.
  14. Crew leaders and above never watch until you make a mistake.
  15. One Crew leader is never enough but two is entirely too many.
  16. A clean and dry set of overalls is a magnet for mud and rain.
  17. The worse the weather, the more you are required to be out in it.
  18. the more an item of equipment costs, the farther you have to send it away to be repaired.
  19. Field experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
  20. Interchangeable parts don't, leak proof seals will and self starters wont.
  21. The Item of equipment that usually wont start or jams when you need it the most is the pump.
  22. You aren't Superman.
  23. If it's stupid but it works, it ain't stupid.
  24. The important things are always simple.
  25. The simple things are always hard.
  26. Beer Math -> 2 beers times 37 men equals 49 cases.
  27. Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last and don't ever volunteer to do anything.
  28. The more stupid the leader is, the more important tasks he is ordered to carry out.
  29. The self-importance of a Deputy Captain is inversely proportional to his actual importance in the chain of command.
  30. Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when the Fire Control Officer is watching.
  31. As soon as you are served hot food in the field, it rains.
  32. If only one solution can be found for a field problem, then it is usually a stupid solution. see rule 23

Murphy's Laws of Corn Growing

Two of the more prized books in my collection are a couple of small volumes written by Arthur Bloch, entitled "Murphy's Laws and Other Reasons Why Things Go Wrong" and Murphy's Laws: Book Two". I expect that many of you are already familiar with Murphy's Law, at least in practice, if not in words. It states, "If anything can go wrong, it will." Sounds much like farming doesn't it?

These books are filled with dozens of similar little quips that sum up everyday life perfectly. However, although these "laws" cover most aspects of modern civilization, few apply directly to agriculture. Because I felt that this was too great an omission to overlook, I set out to write a few "laws" of my own.

Now if the truth of all these laws makes you depressed, just remember that Murphy's Law even applies to itself. At times, it goes wrong too, allowing you to accomplish something.

Murphy's Laws of Locksmithing

An Irish bartender named Murphy is credited with a large and still growing (despite his death) number of laws relating to the likely hood of difficulties. Some thing Murphy was a pessimist. True Pessimists feel he was unduly optimistic and fear that things are really much worse. Here are a few of the laws that apply to Locksmithing.

H.L. Mencken on Murphy

  1. A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
  2. Adultery is the application of democracy to love.
  3. An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
  4. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
  5. Mencken's Law
  6. Mencken's Metalaw
    For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong
  7. Puritanism - The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
  8. When a man laughs at his misfortunes, he loses a great many friends. They never forgive the loss of their prerogatives.
  9. Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sure sign he expects to be paid for it.

Murphy Laws of Antiques

Murphy's Law Proven with Quantum Mechanics

News From the Physics Frontier

In a startling new development in the field of physics, U.C. Berkeley professor Erwin Brodinger claims to have proven the validity of Murphy's Law--the "law" which states that anything that can go wrong will do so, and at the worst possible moment--with quantum mechanics.

"I won't go into the details," said Brodinger, "because it'd take you 50 years to understand them (if you're lucky). Suffice it to say that computer simulation has shown that, given the universe's most probable configuration, the quantum mechanical state corresponding to an intelligent being saying 'Holy shit! I'm FUCKED!' in its native language happens to be an extremely likely one. This is just one of several theoretical predictions I've worked out which show the vailidity of Murphy's Law."

Perhaps the most significant of these other predictions is what has become known the the physics community as the paradox of Brodinger's Dog.

"Basically, the idea behind Brodinger's Dog is that when a poodle takes a dump, the resulting doodie isn't really here, there, or anywhere in particular. It's in a quantum-mechanical superposition of locations, smeared out exponentially over a 10-foot or so radius-- until, that is, an observer steps into the general vicinity. Then, and only then, does it decide where it really is. As it turns out, unfortunately, 97.4% of the time it decides it's right under the observer's foot."

Does this only hold for poodles?

"Well, while doing the calculations, I made a minor simplification: in the models I used, the dog was assumed to be about half the size of an atomic nucleus. While I'm positive this assumption wouldn't prevent my results from applying to small dogs, I'm not sure about really big dogs, like, say, German Shepherds."

In collaboration with another Berkeley professor, Wiener Heifenburg, Brodinger also helped to formulate the Heifenberg Certainty Principle, which is stated as follows: the certainty that you are about to make an incredibly stupid and embarrassing mistake is directly proportional to the total importance of the people currently watching you.

Brodinger says his work was inspired by an instance last summer in which he was maimed by a pack of rabid platypuses marauding the south side of campus. "Right before a hot date I had that night, too," the professor sighed.

Anti- Murphy's Laws

  1. If anything can go wrong, Fix It! (to hell with Murphy!)
  2. When given a choice -- take both!
  3. Multiple projects lead to mulitple successes.
  4. Start at the top then work your way up.
  5. Do it by the book...but be the author!
  6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.
  7. If you can't beat them, join them, then beat them.
  8. If it's worth doing, it's got to be done right now.
  9. If you can't win, change the rules.
  10. If you can't change the rules, then ignore them.
  11. Perfection is not optional.
  12. When faced without a challenge, make one.
  13. "No" simply means begin again at one level higher.
  14. Don't walk when you can run.
  15. Bureaucracy is a challenge to be conquered with a righteous attitude, a tolerance for stupidity, and a bulldozer when necessary.
  16. When in doubt: THINK!
  17. Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.
  18. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.
  19. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

The Problem of Anti Gravity

Why Why Why

  1. Do you need a silencer if you are going to shoot a mime?
  2. Does a fish get cramps after eating?
  3. Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?
  4. How can someone "draw a blank"?
  5. How does the guy who drives the snowplow get to work in the mornings?
  6. If 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors?
  7. If 75% of all accidents happen within 5 miles of home, why not move 10 miles away?
  8. If a cow laughed real hard, would milk come out her nose?
  9. If nothing ever sticks to TEFLON, how do they make TEFLON stick to the pan?
  10. If pro is the opposite of con, is progress the opposite of congress?
  11. If someone invented instant water, what would they mix it with?
  12. If you can't drink and drive, why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor, and why do bars have parking lots?
  13. If you have your finger touching the rearview mirror that says "objects in mirror are closer than they appear", how can that be possible?
  14. If you keep trying to prove Murphy's Law, will something keep going wrong?
  15. If you tied buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it from a tall building what would happen?
  16. If you're in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?
  17. Shouldn't there be a shorter word for "monosyllabic"?
  18. What does Geronimo say when he jumps out of a plane?
  19. What is another word for "thesaurus"?
  20. When they ship styrofoam, what do they pack it in?
  21. Why are cigarettes sold in gas stations when smoking is prohibited there?
  22. Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?
  23. Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?
  24. Why are they called 'stands' when they're made for sitting?
  25. Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
  26. Why do 'tugboats push their barges?
  27. Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
  28. Why do they call them "apartments" when they are all stuck together?
  29. Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?
  30. Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?
  31. Why do we sing 'Take me out to the ball game', when we are already there?
  32. Why does "cleave" mean both split apart and stick together?
  33. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?
  34. Why does an alarm clock "go off" when it begins ringing?
  35. Why does flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?
  36. Why does your nose run and your feet smell?
  37. Why doesn't "onomatopoeia" sound like what it is?
  38. Why is it called a "building" when it is already built?
  39. Why is it called a TV "set" when you only get one?
  40. Why is it so hard to remember how to spell mnemonic?
  41. Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?
  42. Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?
  43. Why is it when two planes almost hit each other it is called a "near miss"? Shouldn't it be called a "near hit"?
  44. Why is it, whether you sit up or sit down, the result is the same?
  45. Why is the word "abbreviate" so long?
  46. Why is there an expiration date on SOUR cream?
  47. Why is there only ONE Monopolies Commission?
  48. Why isn't "palindrome" spelled the same way backwards?
  49. Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
  50. You know how most packages say "Open here". What do you do if the package says, "Open somewhere else"?
  51. You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes, why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?
Copyright © 1996,97 by Andreas Götz All rights reserved.