If anything can go wrong, it will.
Murphy was an optimist.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools
are so ingenious
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
Quantized Revision of Murphy's Law:
Everything goes wrong all at once.
It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realize
that you are in a hurry.
Firestone's Law of Forecasting:
Chicken Little only has to be right once.
There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.
Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion
No one gets a change of scenery except the lead dog.
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.
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.
(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.
Finagle's Laws of Information:
1.The information you have is not what you want.
2.The information you want is not what you need.
3.The information you need is not what you can obtain.
4.The information you can obtain costs more than you want
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio
to its desirability.
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 Three Laws of Thermodynamics:
You can't win.
You can't break even.
You can't quit.
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.
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.
Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum
difficulty of assembly.
Interchangeable parts won't.
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.
No matter how long or hard you shop for an item, after you've
bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.
If nobody uses it, there's a reason.
You get the most of what you need the least.
The Airplane Law:
When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer
to is on time.
The other line moves faster.
First Law of Revision:
Information necessitating 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
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.
Thinking Man's Tautology:
If you think you're wrong, you're wrong.
Corollary: If you think you're wrong, you're right.
LAWS OF COMPUTER PROGRAMMING:
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.
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.
It works better if you plug it in.
If it can be borrowed and it can be broken, you will borrow
it and you will break it.
If it jams - force it.
If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
If you mess with a thing long enough, it'll break.
Anthony's Law of Force:
Don't force it - get a bigger hammer.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Gordon's First Law:
If a project is not worth doing at all, it's not worth doing
Law of Research:
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Alan's Law of Research:
The theory is supported as long as the funds are.
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed
Thinly sliced cabbage
The solution to the problem changes the problem.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns
it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of
murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having
come by their ignorance the hard way.
Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you
when he is in trouble again.
You can lead a man to slaughter, but you can't make him think.
Don't get mad, get even.
It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick.
The Golden Rule:
He who has the gold, makes the rules.
Nothing will be attempted if all possible objections must
first be overcome.
Love is a matter of chemistry; sex is a matter of physics.
The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come
your way again.
Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
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.
A drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts.
All things being equal, a fat person uses more soap than a
Infinity is one lawyer waiting for another.
Fools rush in where fools have been before.
Rule of Accuracy:
When working towards the solution of a problem, it always
helps if you know the answer.
Inside every small problem is a large problem struggling
to get out.
No experiment is reproducible.
Never replicate a successful experiment.
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:
Spend sufficient time confirming the need and the need will
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.
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 wrong.
Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable
A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches
is never sure.
Nothing is impossible for the man who does not have to do
If it happens, it must be possible.
The Aquinas Axiom:
What the gods get away with, the cows don't.
Weinberg's Second Law:
If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs,
the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.
Hartley's Second Law:
Never go to bed with anybody crazier than you are.
Beauty times brains equals a constant.
Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to
be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
Men and women will act rationally when all other possibilities
have been exhausted.
The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the
population is growing.
A man without a religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.
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
Eat a live toad the first thing in the morning and nothing
worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat
When the going gets tough, everybody leaves.
Law of Revelation:
The hidden flaw never remains hidden.
If you wait, it will go away.
... having done its damage.
... if it was bad, it will be back.
Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.
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.
Whenever you cut your fingernails, you will find a need for
them an hour later.
The bigger they are, the harder they hit.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
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
The Sausage Principle:
People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch
either one being made.
Horngren's Observation (generalized):
The real world is a special case.
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
Beware of the physician who is great at getting out of trouble.
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
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.
Most people deserve each other.
Forgive and remember.
Never program and drink beer at the same time.
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
Galbraith's Law of Political Wisdom:
Anyone who says he is not going to resign, four times, definitely
Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.
When all else fails, follow instructions.
The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf
won't get much sleep.
You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.
It does not matter if you fall down as long as you pick up
something from the floor while you get up.
You can observe a lot just by watching.
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.
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on
the facts, not the facts themselves.
When you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds
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 place.
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.
Needs are a function of what other people have.
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.
For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong.
The chief cause of problems is solutions.
If you see a man approaching you with the obvious intention
of doing you good, you should run for your life.
The solution to the problem changes the problem.
Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
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
Pournelle's Law of Costs and Schedules:
Everything costs more and takes longer.
All warranty and guarantee clauses are voided by payment of
Any product cut to length will be too short.
If you need n items of anything, you will have n - 1 in stock.
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.
Design flaws travel in groups.
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
A little ignorance can go a long way.
... in the direction of maximum harm.
The difference between a politician and a snail is that a
snail leaves its slime behind.
When a man laughs at his misfortunes, he loses a great many
friends. They never forgive the loss of their perogative.
- H. L. Mencken
An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better
than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
H. L. Mencken
Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country,
it is a sure sign he expects to be paid for it.
H. L. Menchen
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what
they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
H. L. Menchen
Archbishop - A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to
that obtained by Christ.
Puritanism - The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may
Adultary is the application of democracy to love.
H. L. Mencken
The Arithmetic of Cooperation:
When you're adding up committees
there's a useful rule of thumb:
that talents make a difference,
and follies make a sum.
Farber's First Law:
Give him an inch and he'll screw you.
Farber's Second Law:
A hand in the bush is worth two anywhere else.
Farber's Third Law:
We're all going down the same road in different directions.
Farber's Fourth Law:
Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.
The Ultimate Wisdom:
Philosophers must ultimately find their true perfection in
knowing all the follies of mankind by introspection.
Murphy's Military Law:
Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
Technologies don't transfer.