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We live in a world ruled by law, post your favorites here:

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 *****.

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.

Forsyth's Second Corollary to Murphy's Laws

Just when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, the roof caves in.

Weiler's Law

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.

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 Any given program, when running, is obsolete.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.

Addition to Murphy's Laws

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

Brook's Law

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

Grosch's Law

Computing power increases as the square of the cost.

Golub's Laws of Computerdom

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

2. A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes 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.

Osborn's Law

Variables won't; constants aren't.

Gilb's Laws of Unreliability

1. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.

2. Any system that depends upon human reliability is unreliable.

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

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

Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology

There's always one more bug.

Troutman's Postulate

1. Profanity is the one language understood by all programmers.

2. Not until a program has been in production for 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. If a test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent systems will malfunction.

Weinberg's Second Law

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.

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.

Zymurgy's First Law of Evolving System Dynamics

Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can (old worms never die, they just worm their way into larger cans).

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 **** well pleases.

Sattinger's Law

It works better if you plug it in.

Jenkinson's Law

It won't work.

Horner's Five Thumb Postulate

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.

Cheop's Law

Nothing ever gets build on schedule or within budget.

Rule of Accuracy

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

Zymurg's Seventh Exception to Murphy's Law

When it rains, it pours.

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 highest 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 **** near impossible.

Atwoods 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 contains 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 never find the article until you replace it.

Brooke's Law

Adding manpower to a late software makes it later.

Finagle's Fourth Law

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

Featherkile'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 unexpected manner for reasons that are either entirely obscure or else completely mysterious.

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Cartoon Laws:

Cartoon Law I


Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its


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


Cartoon Law II


Any body 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 ******* their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called

this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.

Cartoon Law III


Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming

to its perimeter.

Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the specialty

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.

Cartoon Law IV


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.

Cartoon Law V


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.

Cartoon Law VI


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.

Cartoon Law VII


Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel

entrances; others cannot.

This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, 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.

Cartoon Law VIII


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.

Cartoon Law IX


Everything falls faster than an anvil.

Cartoon Law X


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.

Cartoon Law Amendment A


A sharp object will always propel a character upward.

When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin),

a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great velocity.

Cartoon Law Amendment B


The laws of object permanence are nullified for "cool" characters.

Characters who are intended to be "cool" can make previously nonexistent

objects appear from behind their backs at will. For instance, the Road

Runner can materialize signs to express himself without speaking.

Cartoon Law Amendment C


Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.

They merely turn characters temporarily black and smoky.

Cartoon Law Amendment D


Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.

Their operation can be witnessed by observing the behavior of a canine

suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to fall first,

causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its torso, that part

will begin to fall, causing the neck to stretch. As the head begins to

fall, tension is released and the canine will resume its regular

proportions until such time as it strikes the ground.

Cartoon Law Amendment E


Dynamite is spontaneously generated in "C-spaces" (spaces in which

cartoon laws hold).

The process is analogous to steady-state theories of the universe which

postulated that the tensions involved in maintaining a space would cause

the creation of hydrogen from nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite large

(stick sized) and unstable (lit). Such quanta are attracted to psychic

forces generated by feelings of distress in "cool" characters (see

Amendment B, which may be a special case of this law), who are able to

use said quanta to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where all

matter and energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding. A big

bang indeed.


Subject: More on Mr. Coyote

Forwarded-by: lanih@info.berkeley.edu (Lani Herrmann)

Forwarded-by: Mark Witteman <witteman@iii.com>

Forwarded-by: Don Macnaughtan <MACNAUGHTAN@edlane.lane.edu>

From: Kent Peterson <71644.1645@compuserve.com>


Jen found this gem in the Autobiography of Chuck Young, the creator of

the Road Runner cartoons.

"Rules that we obeyed in the Coyote-Road Runner Series:"

1. The Road Runner cannot harm the coyote exept by going "Beep Beep!"

2. No outside force can harm the Coyote-only his own ineptitude or the

failure of the ACME products.

3. The Coyote could stop anytime -- IF he were not a fanatic. "A fanatic

is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim" -George


4. No dialogue ever, except "Beep Beep!"

5. The road Runner must stay on the road -- otherwise, logically, he would

not be called Road Runner.

6. All Action must be confined to the natural environment of the two

characters -- the Southwest American desert.

7. All material, tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be

obtained from the ACME Corporation.

8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy.

9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures

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Here are a few for Silent Bob:

Murphy's toddlers laws

* When you need to carry a child they will want to walk.

* When you want them to walk they will want to be carried.

* When you bring the stroller they will want to walk.

* When you forget the stroller they will want to ride.

The more potential a food has for stains the greater the coverage area when it is hurled by a child.

Corollary: The more potential a food has for stains the more expensive the item of clothing/fabric/furniture it strikes.

A child's favorite one day is never a favorite the next day (especially food).

The intensity of the tantrum is directly proportional to the amount of people around to witness.

If it's mine it's mine,

if it's yours it's mine,

if I like it is mine,

if I can take it from you it is mine,

if I am playing with something ALL of the pieces are mine,

if I think it is mine it is,

if I saw it first it's mine,

if I had it then put it down it is still mine,

if you had it then you put it down it is now mine,

if it looks like the one I have at home it is mine,

if it is broken it is yours.

* If I make a mess you must clean it up

* If I broke it, its your fault

* The louder you speak and the more you repeat something is inversely proportional to the amount of information taken in.

* Soccer, Dance, Basketball, Softball, Piano, Girl(Boy)Scouts (etc.) is always on the same day with less then 5 minutes between.

* The more preparation time for the meal the less likely a child is to eat it.

* As soon as the snow suit, and all of the paraphernalia that accompanies, is on the child will have to use the bathroom.

* As soon as the child is in the car and the car has left the driveway the child will have to use the bathroom.

* The clothes/shoes you bought last week will not fit this week or will not be "cool" enough for this week.

* The amount of sound from the other room is inversely proportional to the amount of trouble the child is getting into.

* The more you paid for the car seat the more the child will hate it.

* When you are in a hurry the child will dawdle.

* The greater the importance of the phone call the bigger the mess the child will make or the louder the tantrum the child will have.

* The availability of daycare is directly proportionate to how badly you need it.


* Your child will always wait until you are fully dressed for work before spilling their food on you.

* The later you let a child stay up at night, the earlier he will wake up in the morning.

* If I hid it well enough it will always be mine

* If they hide it under their bed, you will:

Relocate it when they graduate from high school

Find it when it begins to rot

* When leaving the house without an extra set of clothes, they will render the clothes they have on nwearable

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