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Murphy and similar laws

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Murphy's law and others

  1. Criterion's 14th application of Murphy's First Law:
     You cannot succesfully determine beforehead which 
     side of the bread to butter.
  2. If you don't succeed at first, try something else.
  3. Sattinger's Law:
     It works better if you plug it in.
  4. The Law of Selective Gravity (The Buttered Side Down Law):
     An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
  5. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  6. 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.
  7. Anthony's Law of Force:
     Don't force it, get a larger hammer.
  8. Westheimer's Time Estimation Rule:
     Estimate the time you think it should take, multiply by
     2, add 3, and change the unit of measure to the next
     higher unit.
  9. Bye's First Law of Model RailRoading:
     Anytime you wish to demonstrate something, the num-
     ber of faults encountered is proportional to the num-
     ber of viewers.
 10. Murphy's Fourth Law:
     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.
 11. Murphy's Fifth Law:
     If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
 12. Murphy's Seventh Law:
     Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to
 13. Law of Communications:
     The result of improved and enlarged communications is
     vastly increased area of misunderstanding.
 14. Lord Falkland's Rule:
     When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is nec-
     essary not to make a decision.
 15. The probability of anything happening is inversely pro-
      portional to its desirability.
 16. The usefulness of a meeting is inversely proportional
     to its attendance.
 17. Shanahan's Law:
     The length of a meeting rises with the square of the
     number of people present.
 18. Carelessly planned projects take three times longer to
     complete then expected; carefully planned projects on-
     ly twice as long.
 19. It has just been discovered that research causes cancer
     in rats.
 20. Pro is to con as progresss is to Congress.
 21. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because
     fools are so ingeniours.
 22. Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology:
     There's always one more bug.
 23. Paul's Law:
     You can't fall off the floor.
 24. Heller's Law:
     The first myth of management is that it exists.
 25. Weinberg's Second Law
     If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote
     programs, then the first woodpecker that came along
     would destroy civilisation.
 26. Dentist:
     A prestidigator who, putting metal in one's mouth,
     pulls coins out of one's pockets.
 27. Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat
     hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disap-
 28. You don't have to think too hard when you talk to
 29. Those who can't write, write manuals.
 30. You worry too much about your job. Stop it. You are
     not paid enough to worry.
 31. The brain is a wonderful organ: it starts working the
     moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop
     until you get to school.
 32. Paranoids are people too; they have their own prob-
     lems. It's easy to critisize, but if everybody hated you,
     you'd be paranoid too.
 33. Main's Law:
     For every action there is an equal and oppositive gov-
     ernment program.
 34. Pohl's Law:
     Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not
     hate it.
 35. Diplomacy is the art of saying "nice doggy" until you
     can find a rock.
 36. Consultants are mystical people who ask a company
     for a number and then give it back to them.
 37. Scott's first Law:
     No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.
 38. The six steps in a project:
     1, Unbounded enthusiasm
     2, Total disillusionment
     3, PANIC!!
     4, Frantic search for the guilty
     5, Punishment of the innocent
     6, Promotion of the uninvolved.
 39. God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made
     the School Board.
 40. Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at
     tax collectors and miss.
 41. Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to
     you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.
 42. It is easier to change the specification to fit the pro-
     gram than vice versa.
 43. All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make
     me happy.
 44. If you think nobody cares you're alive, try missing a
     couple of car payments.
 45. I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so
 46. Micro Credo:
     Never trust a computer bigger than you can lift.
 47. One nice thing about egoists: they don't talk about
     other people.
 48. There are three ways to get something done: do it
     yourself, hire someone, or forbid your kids to do it.
 49. One way to stop runaway horse is to bet on him.
 50. Eighty percent of all people consider themselves to be
     above-average drivers.
 51. Misfortune:
     The kind of fortune that never misses.
 52. When you are in it up to your ears, keep your mouth
 53. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell
     and make you feel happy to be on your way.
 54. Boob's Law:
     You always find something in the last place you look.
 55. Weiler's Law:
     Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to
     do it himself.
 56. Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and
     plain dealing.
 57. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no
     influence on society.
 58. Blessed are they who go Go Around in Circles, for they
     Shall be Known as Wheels.
 59. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually
     repeat word by word what you shouldn't have said.
 60. Idiot:
     A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influ-
     ence in human affairs has always been dominant and
 61. Slick's Third Law of the Universe:
     Faith is the quality that enables you to eat blackberry
     jam on a picnic without looking to see whether the
     seeds move.
 62. Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we
     have to alter it every six months.
 63. If you put garbage in a computer, nothing comes out
     but garbage. But this garbage, having passed through
     a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and
     none dare critisize it.
 64. The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of
     the group divided by the number of people in the
 65. It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be
     there when it happens.
 66. I have seen the future and it is like the present,
     only longer.
 67. There has been an alarming increase in the number of
     things you know nothing about.
 68. What makes the universe so hard to comprehend is
     that there's nothing to compare it with.
 69. It may be that your whole purpose in life is simply to
     serve as warning to others.
 70. Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow 
     I'll probably still be a dog. Sigh! There's so little
     hope for advancement. (Snoopy)
 71. SEMINARS: from 'semi' and 'arse', hence, any half-
     assed discussion.
 72. Washing your car to make it rain doesn't work.
 73. Preudhomme's Law of Window Cleaning:
     It's on the other side.
 74. Zymurgy's Law of Volunteer Labor:
     People are always available for work in the past tense.
 75. A classic is something that everybody wants to have
     read, and nobody wants to read.
 76. NAPOLEON: What shall we do with this soldier,
     Giuseppe? Everything he says is wrong.
     GIUSEPPE: Make him a general, Excellency, and then
     everything he says will be right.
 77. Good news: Ten weeks from Friday will be a pretty
     good day.
 78. Drive defensively. Buy a tank.
 79. Conway's Law:
     In any organisation there will always be one person
     who knows what is going on.
     This person must be fired.

a80. Just because your doctor has a name for your condi- tion doesn't mean he knows what it is.

b80. As your doctor has a name for your condition yet it doesn't mean he knows what it is.

 81. Nothing is faster then the speed of light...
     To prove this to yourself, try opening refrigerator
     door before the light comes on.
 82. Anything is good if it's made of chocolate.
 83. "Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
 84. Leibowitz's Rule:
     When hammering a nail, you will never hit your finger
     if you hold the hammer with both hands.
 85. Weiner's Law of Libraries:
     There are no answers, only cross references.
 86. You can always talk to a Harward man, but you can't tell
     him much.
 87. Murphy's Statement on the Power of Negative
     It is impossible for an optimist to be pleasantly sur-
 88. Farndick's Corollary to the Fifth Corollary:
     After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle
     will repeat itself.
 89. A surprising property of a computer program. A bug
     can be changed to a feature by documenting it.
 90. Havig children is hereditary:
     If your parents didn't have any, then you probably
     won't either.
 91. Cheops' Law:
     Nothing EVER gets built on schedule or within budget.
 92. A committee is a life form with six or more legs and
     no brain.
 93. The Law of Frisbee:
     The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc
     straining to land under a car, just out of reach (this
     force is technically termed "car sucks").
 94. Putt's Law:
     Technology is dominated by two types of people:
     1. Those who understand what they do not manage.
     2. Those who manage what they do not understand.
 95. Mr. Cole's Axiom:
     The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant;
     yet the population is growing.
 96. Show respect for age. Drink good scotch for a change.
 97. How long a minute is depends upon which side of the
     bathroom door you're on.
 98. One reason why computers can do more work than
     people is that they never have to stop and answer the
 99. At source of every error which is blamed on the
     computer, you will find at least two human errors, in-
     cluding the error of blamming it on the computer.

100. Psychiatrist say that one out of for people are men- tally ill. Check three friends. If they're ok, you're it.

101. If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict atten- tion to every word you say, talk in your sleep.

102. People usually get what's coming to them … unless it's been mailed.

103. Oliver's Law: Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

104. Slick's First Law of the Universe: Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad check.

105. Slick's Second Law of the Universe: A quarter-ounce of chocolate = four pounds of fat.

106. You will be a winner today. Pick a fight a four- year-old.

107. REPORTER (to Mahatma Gandhi): Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilisation? GANDHI: I think it would be a good idea.

108. The way to make a small fortune in the commodities market is to start with a large fortune.

109. How many hardware engineers does it take to change a light bulb? None: "We'll fix it in software."

110. Mitchell's Law of Committees: Any simple problem can be made insoluble if enough meetings are held to discuss it.

111. You know it's going to be a bad day when… You wake up face down on the pavement.

112. You know it's going to be a bad day when… Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candle.

113. You know it's going to be a bad day when… Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway.

114. You know it's going to be a bad day when… You wake up and discover that your waterbed sprang a leak, and then you realize that you don't have a waterbad.

115. Originality is the art of concealing your source.

116. Amand's Law of Management: Everyone is always someplace else.

117. Paul's Second Law: The sooner you fall behind, the more time you will have to cath up.

118. If you have a difficult task, give it to someone lazy … that person will find an easier way to do it.

119. If there's artificial intelligence, there's bound to be some artificial stupidity.

120. Insanity is hereditary, - You get it from your children.

121. An honest politician is one who, when brought, stays bought.

122. You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.

123. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

124. What's black and white and red all over? An embarassed zebra.

125. Organisation is enemy of improvisation.

126. He flung himself on his horse and rode madly off in all directions.

127. On a clear disk you can seek forever.

128. He who laughs last probably doesn't understand the joke.

129. This place is so weird that the cockroaches have moved next door.

130. !lanimret siht edisni deppart ma I !pleH

131. Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.

132. To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly be- fore you start.

133. And so we plow along, as the fly said to the ox.

134. If a program is usefull, it will have to be changed.

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

136. A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.

137. You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back you've got something.

138. If you put your supper dish to yout ear you can hear the sounds of a restaurant. (Snoopy)

139. When in darkness or in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout.

140. Always draw your curves first, then plot the readings.

141. Experiments should be reproducable - they should all fail in the same way.

142. When working toward the solution of a problem, it al- ways helps if you know the answer.

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

144. Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

145. Never try to outstubborn a cat.

146. Anything free is worth what you pay for it.

147. Two wrongs do not make a right: it usually takes three or more.

148. Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.

149. He was so narrow-minded he could see through a key- hole with two eyes.

150. I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.

151. My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.

152. No one can feel as helpless as the owner of a sick goldfish.

153. Now and than an innocent man is sent to the legisla- ture.

154. Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lamp- posts for support rather than illumination.

155. That must be wonderful! I don't understand it at all.

156. The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

157. Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feel- ing passes.

158. Basic research is what I am doing when - I don't know what I am doing.

  1. Weiler's Law: Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.
  2. Mitchell's Law of Committees: Any simple problem can be made insoluble if enough meetings are held to discuss it.
[John Carmack on Java]
Write-once-run-anywhere. Ha. Hahahahaha. We are only testing on four
platforms right now, and not a single pair has the exact same quirks. All
the commercial games are tweaked and compiled individually for each
(often 100+) platform. Portability is not a justification for the awful
"What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free?"
-- Bill Gates, An Open Letter to Hobbyists, 1976
 "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

-- George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists
« La cravate représente le phallus du père. Ceux qui la portent sont des petits garçons, propagateurs pervers ou impuissants, mais toujours infantiles, d’une société d’escrocs. C’est pourquoi, après celle des sans-culottes, la prochaine révolution sera celle des sans-cravates.»

"I would only do it if I could get some compensation for immaterial damage; yuck, working on Windows is so painful."

— Reyk Floeter,
Two students walk out of a toilet. One of them says to the other, “At Harvard we were taught to wash our hands after taking a leak.” The other retorts, “At the Moscow University they taught us not to piss on our hands.”

additional quotes for CS and programming

We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil - C. A. R. Hoare

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen - Edward V Berard

It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. - Hofstadter’s Law

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems - Jamie Zawinski

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. - Brian Kernighan

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight. - Bill Gates

PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil, perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals. - Jon Ribbens

On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.” - Charles Babbage

Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live. - Rick Osborne

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning. - Rich Cook

I don’t care if it works on your machine! We are not shipping your machine! - Ovidiu Platon

I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone. - Bjarne Stroustrup

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

If debugging is the process of removing software bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in. - E. W. Dijkstra

It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to BASIC. As potential programmers, they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration. - E. W. Dijkstra

In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re not. - Yoggi Berra

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. - Albert Einstein

Perl – The only language that looks the same before and after RSA encryption. - Keith Bostic

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. - Douglas Adams

Saying that Java is good because it works on all platforms is like saying anal sex is good because it works on all genders - Unknown

XML is like violence – if it doesn’t solve your problems, you are not using enough of it. - Unknown

Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer. - Fred Brooks

“Using Java as a front-end for your security product, is like putting a pedophile in charge of a day-care center.” - Anonymous

“Java is a DSL for converting large XML files into Stack Traces” - Anonymous

"If they who represent us are unwilling to disclose what they said on our behalf the only thing certain is that they no longer represent us." - From Twitter about WikiLeaks?

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” - Unknown