murphy’s law and corollaries

Murphy's Law ("If anything can go wrong, it will") was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base. It was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, designed to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it."

The contractor's project manager kept a list of "laws" which he called Murphy's Law. Over the years, many people have made their own additions, and the compilation is pretty impressive. Take a look.

  • MURPHY'S LAW – If anything can go wrong, it will.
  • O'TOOLE'S COMMENTARY – Murphy was an optimist.
  • MURPHY'S FIRST COROLLARY – Nothing is as easy as it looks.
  • MURPHY'S SECOND COROLLARY – Everything takes longer than you think.
  • MURPHY'S THIRD COROLLARY – 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.
  • MURPHY'S FOURTH COROLLARY – Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
  • MURPHY'S FIFTH COROLLARY – Every solution breeds new problems.
  • MURPHY'S SIXTH COROLLARY – It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
  • MURPHY'S SEVENTH COROLLARY – Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
  • MURPHY'S EIGHTH COROLLARY – Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  • MURPHY'S CONSTANT – Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.
  • BOLING'S POSTULATE – If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it.
  • MURPHY'S LAW OF MULTIPLES – If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way will promptly develop.
  • THE ORDERING PRINCIPLE – The supplies necessary for yesterday's work must be ordered no later then noon tomorrow.

One of my favourites is the Law of the Perversity of Nature, which says, “You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter”.

Which one is your favourite law?


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