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Laws and other
Corollaries, Axioms, Theorems, Percepts, Maxims, Postulates, Constants,
Law was born in an US Air Force Base in 1949. It was named after
Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on an Air Force project
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" and added this one, which he called Murphy's
1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think.
3. If anything can go wrong, it will. (Except when you want to
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
7. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
8. Mother nature is a bitch
9. You will always find something in the last place you look
10. The other line always moves faster
11. When a broken appliance is demonstrated for the repairman,
it will work perfectly
12. In any hierarchy, each individual rises to his own level of
incompetence, and then remains there
13. 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
Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong,
it will happen then
14. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse
15. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must
be done first
16. Every solution breeds new problems.
Parkinson's First Law
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion; the
thing to be done swells in perceived importance and complexity in
a direct ratio with the time to be spent in its completion.
Expenditures rise to meet income.
Parkinson's Third Law
Expansion means complexity; and complexity decay
The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless
of the amount of work to be done
Parkinson's Fifth Law
If there is a way to delay an important decision the good bureaucracy,
public or private, will find it
Parkinson's Sixth Law
The progress of science varies inversely with the number of journals
Parkinson's Law of
Delay is the deadliest form of denial
Parkinson's Law of
Successful research attracts the bigger grant which makes further
Parkinson's Law of
The effectiveness of a telephone conversation is in inverse proportion
to the time spent on it
Parkinson's Law of
An enterprise employing more than 1000 people becomes a self-perpetuating
empire, creating so much internal work that it no longer needs any
contact with the outside world
It is the essence of grantsmanship to persuade the Foundation executives
that it was THEY who suggested the research project and that you
were a belated convert, agreeing reluctantly to all they had proposed
Mrs. Parkinson's Law
Heat produced by pressure expands to fill the mind available, from
which it can pass only to a cooler mind.
Second Corollary to Murphy's Laws
Just when you see the light at the end of the tunnel, the roof caves
Laws of Computer Programming
1. Any given program, when running, is obsolete
2. Any given program costs more and takes longer each time it
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.
to Murphy's Laws
In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going
right ... something is wrong.
Laws of Unreliability
1. Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
The remaining work to finish in order to reach your goal increases
as the deadline approaches.
Law of Cybernetic Entomology
There's always one more bug.
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its
The speed at which boiling milk rises from the bottom of the pan
to any point beyond the top is greater than the speed at which the
humain brain and hand can combine to snatch the confounded thing
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
damn well pleases.
Nothing ever gets build on schedule or within budget.
1. Anything that begins well ends badly.
2. Anything that begins badly ends worse.
Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Law of Copiers
The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance.
Law of the Open Road
When there is a very long road upon which there is a one-way bridge
placed at random, and there are only two cars on that road, it follows
that: (1) the two cars are going in opposite directions, and (2)
they will always meet at the bridge.
Law of Thermodynamics
Things get worse under pressure.
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly
proportional to the cost of the carpet.
Golf scores are directly proportional to the number of witnesses.
Murphy was an optimist.
Addendum to Murphy's Law
You never run out of things that can go wrong.
1. Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool
discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands
it beyond recognition.
2. A failure will not appear till a unit has passed final inspection.
3. Everything that goes up must come down.
4. Any attempt to print Murphy's laws will jam the printer.