This list represents a compilation from many sources, including slips of unidentified paper and long-since-deleted electronic mail. Some sources, however, provided significant enough contributions that they are remembered. Foremost among these are (1) a list accumulated by veteran collector Conrad Schneiker (formerly of U of Arizona, now believed to be at CDC in Sunnyvale) and expanded by Ed Logg, Gregg Townshend, and John Ehrman, and (2) Paul Dickson's excellent book, "The Official Rules", which I heartily recommend. Not only does Dickson include many items that, for one reason or another, are omitted from this list, but he also includes attributions wherever possible. (Some of his attributions are known to be incorrect, but it's still amusing reading.) Another book: "The Complete Murphy's Laws" by Arthur Bloch.
Part 1: Classic, Military, Technology, Love, Sex , Misc. A B C D
Part 2: Misc. E F G H I J K L M Part 3: Misc. N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Everything takes longer than you think.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
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.
If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
Mother nature is a bitch.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
Every solution breeds new problems.
Murphy's Law of Research
Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Murphy's Law of Copiers
The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance.
Murphy's 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.
Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics Things get worse under pressure.
The Murphy Philosophy
Smile . . . tomorrow will be worse.
Quantization Revision of Murphy's Laws
Everything goes wrong all at once.
Murphy's Constant
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
Murphy's Corollaries
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious
Law of the Perversity of Nature (Mrs. Murphy's Corollary):
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
Corollary (Jenning):
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of
the carpet.
Hill's Commentaries on Murphy's Laws
If we lose much by having things go wrong, take all possible care.
If we have nothing to lose by change, relax.
If we have everything to gain by change, relax.
If it doesn't matter, it does not matter.
O'Toole's Commentary
Murphy was an optimist.
NBC's Addendum to Murphy's Law
You never run out of things that can go wrong.

Murphy's Military Laws

Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
Friendly fire ain't.
The most dangerous thing in the combat zone is an officer with a map.
The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it.
The buddy system is essential to your survival; it gives the enemy somebody else to shoot at.
The further you are in advance of your own positions, the more likely your artillery will shoot short.
Incoming fire has the right of way.If your advance is going well, you are walking into an ambush.
The quartermaster has only two sizes, too large and too small.
If you really need an officer in a hurry, take a nap.
The only time suppressive fire works is when it is used on abandoned positions.
The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.
There is nothing more satisfying that having someone take a shot at you, and miss.
Don't be conspicuous. In the combat zone, it draws fire. Out of the combat zone, it draws
If your sergeant can see you, so can the enemy.

Murphy's Technology Laws

You can never tell which way the train went by looking at the track.
Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which
either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.
Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that
came along would destroy civilization.
The opulence of the front office decor varies inversely with the fundamental solvency of the firm.
The attention span of a computer is only as long as it electrical cord.
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely
everything about nothing.
Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has
wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.
All great discoveries are made by mistake.
Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.
Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
All's well that ends.
A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.
The first myth of management is that it exists.
A failure will not appear till a unit has passed final inspection.
New systems generate new problems.
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer.
We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.
Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years make.
Nothing motivates a man more than to see his boss putting in an honest day's work.
Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even
what book.
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and
impossible for the serviceman.
To spot the expert, pick the one who predicts the job will take the longest and cost the most.
After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.
Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are
unobtainable and three parts which are still under development.
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that
If mathematically you end up with the incorrect answer, try multiplying by the page number.
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
Give all orders verbally. Never write anything down that might go into a "Pearl Harbor File."
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables the organism will do as it damn well pleases.
If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.
The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.
In designing any type of construction, no overall dimension can be totalled correctly after 4:30
p.m. on Friday. The correct total will become self-evident at 8:15 a.m. on Monday.
Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches.
All things are possible except skiing through a revolving door.
The only perfect science is hind-sight.
Work smarder and not harder and be careful of yor speling.
If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.
If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
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.
Everything that goes up must come down.
Any instrument when dropped will roll into the least accessible corner.
Any simple theory will be worded in the most complicated way.
Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.
The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management.

Murphy's Love Laws
All the good ones are taken.
If the person isn't taken, there's a reason. (corr. to 1)
The nicer someone is, the farther away (s)he is from you.
Brains x Beauty x Availability = Constant.
The amount of love someone feels for you is inversely proportional to how much you love them.
Money can't buy love, but it sure gets you a great bargaining position.
The best things in the world are free --- and worth every penny of it.
Every kind action has a not-so-kind reaction.
Nice guys(girls) finish last.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Availability is a function of time. The minute you get interested is the minute they find someone

Murphy's Laws of Sex
The more beautiful the woman is who loves you, the easier it is to leave her with no hard
Nothing improves with age.
No matter how many times you've had it, if it's offered take it, because it'll never be quite the
same again.
Sex has no calories.
Sex takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble.
There is no remedy for sex but more sex.
Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got.
No sex with anyone in the same office.
Sex is like snow; you never know how many inches you are going to get or how long it is going to last.
A man in the house is worth two in the street.
If you get them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Virginity can be cured.
When a man's wife learns to understand him, she usually stops listening to him.
Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.
The qualities that most attract a woman to a man are usually the same ones she can't stand years later.
Sex is dirty only if it's done right.
It is always the wrong time of month.
The best way to hold a man is in your arms.
When the lights are out, all women are beautiful.
Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, chances are you won't either.
Sow your wild oats on Saturday night -- Then on Sunday pray for crop failure.
The younger the better.
The game of love is never called off on account of darkness.
It was not the apple on the tree but the pair on the ground that caused the trouble in the garden.
Sex discriminates against the shy and the ugly.Before you find your handsome prince, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs.
There may be some things better than sex, and some things worse than sex. But there is nothing exactly like it.
Love your neighbor, but don't get caught.
Love is a hole in the heart.
If the effort that went in research on the female bosom had gone into our space program, we would now be running hot-dog stands on the moon.
Love is a matter of chemistry, sex is a matter of physics.
Do it only with the best.
Sex is a three-letter word which needs some old-fashioned four-letter words to convey its full meaning.
One good turn gets most of the blankets.
You cannot produce a baby in one month by impregnating nine women.
Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.
It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.....unless in the mood.
Never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than you.
Abstain from wine, women, and song; mostly song.
Never argue with a women when she's tired -- or rested.
A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he couldn't.
What matters is not the length of the wand, but the magic in the stick.
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
Never say no.
A man can be happy with any woman as long as he doesn't love her.
Folks playing leapfrog must complete all jumps.
Beauty is skin deep; ugly goes right to the bone.
Never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.
A man is only a man, but a good bicycle is a ride.
Love comes in spurts.
The world does not revolve on an axis.
Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation; the other eight are unimportant.
Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.
Don't do it if you can't keep it up.
There is no difference between a wise man and a fool when they fall in love.
Never go to bed mad, stay up and fight.
Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
"This won't hurt, I promise."
Abbott's Admonitions:
If you have to ask, you're not entitled to know.
If you don't like the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question.
Abrams's Advice:
When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.
Rule of Accuracy:
When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps if you know the answer.
Corollary: Provided, of course, that you know there is a problem.
Acheson's Rule of the Bureaucracy:
A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
Acton's Law:
Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Ade's Law:
Anybody can win -- unless there happens to be a second entry.
Airplane Law:
When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on time.
Alan's Law of Research
The theory is supported as long as the funds are.
Albrecht's Law:
Social innovations tend to the level of minimum tolerable well being.
Algren's Precepts:
Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never play cards with a man named Doc. And never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than you.
Allen's Law of Civilization:
It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it.
Agnes Allen's Law:
Almost anything is easier to get into than out of.
Allen's Axiom
When all else fails, follow instructions.
Allen's Distinction
The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf won't get much sleep.
Fred Allen's Motto:
I'd rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy.
Alley's Axiom:
Justice always prevails . . . three times out of seven.
Alligator Allegory:
The objective of all dedicated product support employees should be to thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence, have answers for these problems, and move swiftly to solve these problems when called upon. However, when you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.
Allison's Precept
The best simple-minded test of expertise in a particular area is the ability to win money in a series of bets on future occurrences in that area.
Anderson's Law
Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.
Andrews's Canoeing Postulate:
No matter which direction you start it's always against the wind coming back.
Law of Annoyance:
When working on a project, if you put away a tool that you're certain you're finished with, you will need it instantly.
Anthony's Law of Force:
Don't force it, get a larger hammer.
Anthony's Law of the Workshop:
Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner of the workshop.
Corollary: On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first always strike your toes.
Laws of Applied Confusion:
The one piece that the plant forgot to ship is the one that supports 75% of the balance of the shipment.
Corollary: Not only did the plant forget to ship it, 50% of the time they haven't even made it.
Truck deliveries that normally take one day will take five when you are waiting for the truck.
After adding two weeks to the schedule for unexpected delays, add two more for the unexpected, unexpected delays.
In any structure, pick out the one piece that should not be mismarked and expect the plant to cross you up.
In any group of pieces with the same erection mark on it, one should not have that mark on it.
It will not be discovered until you try to put it where the mark says it's supposed to go.
Never argue with the fabricating plant about an error. The inspection prints are all checked off, even to the holes that aren't there.
Approval Seeker's Law:
Those whose approval you seek the most give you the least.
The Aquinas Axiom:
What the gods get away with, the cows don't.
Army Axiom:
Any order that can be misunderstood has been misunderstood.
Army Law:
If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; if you can't pick it up, paint it.
Ashley-Perry Statistical Axioms:
Numbers are tools, not rules.
Numbers are symbols for things; the number and the thing are not the same.
Skill in manipulating numbers is a talent, not evidence of divine guidance.
Like other occult techniques of divination, the statistical method has a private jargon deliberately contrived to obscure its methods from nonpractitioners.
The product of an arithmetical computation is the answer to an equation; it is not the solution to a problem.
Arithmetical proofs of theorems that do not have arithmetical bases prove nothing.
Astrology Law:
It's always the wrong time of the month.
Fourteenth Corollary of Atwood's General Law of Dynamic Negatives:
No books are lost by loaning except those you particularly wanted to keep.
Avery's Rule of Three:
Trouble strikes in series of threes, but when working around the house the next job after a series of three is not the fourth job -- it's the start of a brand new series of three.
Babcock's Law:
If it can be borrowed and it can be broken, you will borrow it and you will break it.
Baer's Quartet:
What's good politics is bad economics; what's bad politics is good economics; what's good economics is bad politics; what's bad economics is good politics.
Bagdikian's Law of Editor's Speeches:
The splendor of an editor's speech and the splendor of his newspaper are inversely related to the distance between the city in which he makes his speech and the city in which he publishes his paper.
Baker's Byroad:
When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.
Baker's Law:
Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.
Baldy's Law:
Some of it plus the rest of it is all of it.
Barber's Laws of Backpacking
The integral of the gravitational potential taken around any loop trail you chose to hike always comes out positive.
Any stone in your boot always migrates against the pressure gradient to exactly the point of most pressure.
The weight of your pack increases in direct proportion to the amount of food you consume from it. If you run out of food, the pack weight goes on increasing anyway.
The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.
The difficulty of finding any given trail marker is directly proportional to the importance of the consequences of failing to find it.
The size of each of the stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.
The remaining distance to your chosen campsite remains constant as twilight approaches.
The net weight of your boots is proportional to the cube of the number of hours you have been on the trail.
When you arrive at your chosen campsite, it is full.
If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.
The local density of mosquitos is inversely proportional to your remaining repellent.
Barrett's Laws of Driving:
You can get ANYWHERE in ten minutes if you go fast enough.
Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the desired restraining speed.
The vehicle in front of you is traveling slower than you are.
This lane ends in 500 feet.
Barr's Comment on Domestic Tranquility:
On a beautiful day like this it's hard to believe anyone can be unhappy -- but we'll work on it.
Barth's Distinction
There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.
Bartz's Law of Hokey Horsepuckery:
The more ridiculous a belief system, the higher the probability of its success.
Baruch's Rule for Determining Old Age:
Old age is always fifteen years older than I am.
Barzun's Laws of Learning
The simple but difficult arts of paying attention, copying accurately, following an argument, detecting an ambiguity or a false inference, testing guesses by summoning up contrary instances, organizing one's time and one's thought for study -- all these arts -- cannot be taught in the air but only through the difficulties of a defined subject. They cannot be taught in one course or one year, but must be acquired gradually in dozens of connections.
The analogy to athletics must be pressed until all recognize that in the exercise of Intellect those who lack the muscles, coordination, and will power can claim no place at the training table, let alone on the playing field.
Forthoffer's Cynical Summary of Barzun's Laws
That which has not yet been taught directly can never be taught directly.
If at first you don't succeed, you will never succeed.
Baxter's First Law:
Government intervention in the free market always leads to a lower national standard of living.
Baxter's Second Law:
The adoption of fractional gold reserves in a currency system always leads to depreciation, devaluation, demonetization and, ultimately, to complete destruction of that currency.
Baxter's Third Law:
In a free market good money always drives bad money out of circulation.
Beardsley's Warning to Lawyers:
Beware of and eschew pompous prolixity.
Beauregard's Law:
When you're up to your nose, keep your mouth shut.
Becker's Law:
It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.
Beifeld's Principle:
The probability of a young man meeting a desirable and receptive young female increases by pyramidal progression when he is already in the company of (1) a date, (2) his wife, and (3) a better looking and richer male friend.
Belle's Constant:
The ratio of time involved in work to time available for work is usually about 0.6.
Benchley's Distinction:
There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.
Benchley's Law:
Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.
Berkeley's Laws:
The world is more complicated than most of our theories make it out to be.
Ignorance is no excuse.
Never decide to buy something while listening to the salesman.
Information which is true meets a great many different tests very well.
Most problems have either many answers or no answer. Only a few problems have a single answer.
An answer may be wrong, right, both, or neither. Most answers are partly right and partly wrong.
A chain of reasoning is no stronger than its weakest link.
A statement may be true independently of illogical reasoning.
Most general statements are false, including this one.
An exception TESTS a rule; it NEVER PROVES it.
The moment you have worked out an answer, start checking it -- it probably isn't right.
If there is an opportunity to make a mistake, sooner or later the mistake will be made.
Being sure mistakes will occur is a good frame of mind for catching them.
Check the answer you have worked out once more -- before you tell it to anybody.
Estimating a figure may be enough to catch an error.
Figures calculated in a rush are very hot; they should be allowed to cool off a little before being used; thus we will have a reasonable time to think about the figures and catch mistakes.
A great many problems do not have accurate answers, but do have approximate answers, from which sensible decisions can be made.
Berra's Law:
You can observe a lot just by watching.
Berson's Corollary of Inverse Distances:
The farther away from the entrance that you have to park, the closer the space vacated by the car that pulls away as you walk up to the door.
Bicycle Law:
All bicycles weigh 50 pounds:
A 30-pound bicycle needs a 20-pound lock and chain.
A 40-pound bicycle needs a 10-pound lock and chain.
A 50-pound bicycle needs no lock or chain.
First Law of Bicycling:
No matter which way you ride it's uphill and against the wind.
The Billings Phenomenon:
The conclusions of most good operations research studies are obvious.
Billings's Law:
Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.
Blaauw's Law:
Established technology tends to persist in spite of new technology.
Blanchard's Newspaper Obituary Law:
If you want your name spelled wrong, die.
Bok's Law:
If you think education is expensive -- try ignorance.
Boling's Postulate:
If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it.
Bolton's Law of Ascending Budgets:
Under current practices, both expenditures and revenues rise to meet each other, no matter which one may be in excess.
Bombeck's Rule of Medicine:
Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.
Bonafede's Revelation:
The conventional wisdom is that power is an aphrodisiac. In truth, it's exhausting.
Boob's Law:
You always find something the last place you look.
Booker's Law:
An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.
Boozer's Revision:
A bird in the hand is dead.
Boren's Laws of the Bureaucracy:
When in doubt, mumble.
When in trouble, delegate.
When in charge, ponder.
Borkowski's Law:
You can't guard against the arbitrary.
Borstelmann's Rule:
If everything seems to be coming your way, you're probably in the wrong lane.
Boston's Irreversible Law of Clutter:
In any household, junk accumulates to fill the space available for its storage.
Boultbee's Criterion:
If the converse of a statement is absurd, the original statement is an insult to the intelligence and should never have been said.
Boyle's Laws:
The success of any venture will be helped by prayer, even in the wrong denomination.
When things are going well, someone will inevitably experiment detrimentally.
The deficiency will never show itself during the dry runs.
Information travels more surely to those with a lesser need to know.
An original idea can never emerge from committee in the original.
When the product is destined to fail, the delivery system will perform perfectly.
The crucial memorandum will be snared in the out-basket by the paper clip of the overlying correspondence and go to file.
Success can be insured only by devising a defense against failure of the contingency plan.
Performance is directly affected by the perversity of inanimate objects.
If not controlled, work will flow to the competent man until he submerges.
The lagging activity in a project will invariably be found in the area where the highest overtime rates lie waiting.
Talent in staff work or sales will recurringly be interpreted as managerial ability.
The "think positive" leader tends to listen to his subordinates' premonitions only during the postmortems.
Clearly stated instructions will consistently produce multiple interpretations.
On successive charts of the same organization the number of boxes will never decrease.
Branch's First Law of Crisis:
The spirit of public service will rise, and the bureaucracy will multiply itself much faster, in time of grave national concern.
First Law of Bridge:
It's always the partner's fault.
Brien's First Law:
At some time in the life cycle of virtually every organization, its ability to succeed in spite of itself runs out.
Broder's Law:
Anybody that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning for it is not to be trusted with the office.
Brontosaurus Principle:
Organizations can grow faster than their brains can manage them in relation to their environment and to their own physiology; when this occurs, they are an endangered species.
Brooks's Law:
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Brooke's Law:
Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.
Brownian Motion Rule of Bureacracies:
It is impossible to distinguish, from a distance, whether the bureaucrats associated with your project are simply sitting on their hands, or frantically trying to cover their asses.
Heisenberg's Addendum to Brownian Bureaucracy: If you observe a bureaucrat closely enough to make the distinction above, he will react to your observation by covering his ass.
(Jerry) Brown's Law:
Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases.
(Sam) Brown's Law:
Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.
(Tony) Brown's Law of Business Success:
Our customer's paperwork is profit. Our own paperwork is loss.
Bruce-Briggs's Law of Traffic:
At any level of traffic, any delay is intolerable.
Buchwald's Law:
As the economy gets better, everything else gets worse.
Bucy's Law:
Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.
Bunuel's Law:
Overdoing things is harmful in all cases, even when it comes to efficiency.
Bureaucratic Cop-Out 1:
You should have seen it when *I* got it.
Burns's Balance:
If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions aren't likely to be very good.
Bustlin' Billy's Bogus Beliefs:
The organization of any program reflects the organization of the people who develop it.
There is no such thing as a "dirty capitalist", only a capitalist.
Anything is possible, but nothing is easy.
Capitalism can exist in one of only two states -- welfare or warfare.
I'd rather go whoring than warring.
History proves nothing.
There is nothing so unbecoming on the beach as a wet kilt.
A little humility is arrogance.
A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.
Butler's Law of Progress:
All progress is based on a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.
Bye's First Law of Model Railroading:
Anytime you wish to demonstrate something, the number of faults is proportional to the number of viewers.
Bye's Second Law of Model Railroading:
The desire for modeling a prototype is inversely proportional to the decline of the prototype.
Cahn's Axiom (Allen's Axiom):
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Calkin's Law of Menu Language:
The number of adjectives and verbs that are added to the description of a menu item is in inverse proportion to the quality of the resulting dish.
John Cameron's Law:
No matter how many times you've had it, if it's offered, take it, because it'll never be quite the same again.
Camp's Law:
A coup that is known in advance is a coup that does not take place.
Campbell's Law:
Nature abhors a vacuous experimenter.
Canada Bill Jones's Motto:
It's morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.
Canada Bill Jones's Supplement:
A Smith and Wesson beats four aces.
Cannon's Cogent Comment:
The leak in the roof is never in the same location as the drip.
Cannon's Comment:
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.
Carson's Law
It's better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick.
Cartoon Laws
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation. 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 over.
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 retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge's surcease.
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter. Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality 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.
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.
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.
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.
Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot. This trompe l'oeil inconsistency has baffled generation, 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.
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.
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.
Everything falls faster than an anvil. Examples too numerous to mention from the Roadrunner cartoons.
Cavanaugh's Postulate:
All kookies are not in a jar.
Law of Character and Appearance:
People don't change; they only become more so.
Checkbook Balancer's Law:
In matters of dispute, the bank's balance is always smaller than yours.
Cheops's Law:
Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
Chili Cook's Secret:
If your next pot of chili tastes better, it probably is because of something left out, rather than added.
Chisholm's First Law and Corollary: see Murphy's Third and Fifth Laws.
Chisholm's Second Law:
When things are going well, something will go wrong.
When things just can't get any worse, they will.
Anytime things appear to be going better, you have overlooked something.
Chisholm's Third Law:
Proposals, as understood by the proposer, will be judged otherwise by others.
If you explain so clearly that nobody can misunderstand, somebody will.
If you do something which you are sure will meet with everyone's approval, somebody won't like it.
Procedures devised to implement the purpose won't quite work.
No matter how long or how many times you explain, no one is listening.
The First Discovery of Christmas Morning: Batteries not included.
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 as though nothing has happened.
Ciardi's Poetry Law:
Whenever in time, and wherever in the universe, any man speaks or writes in any detail about the technical management of a poem, the resulting irascibility of the reader's response is a constant.
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.
Corollary (Asimov): When the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists, and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion -- the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, right.
Clarke's Second Law:
The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
Clarke's Third Law:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas:
Every revolutionary idea -- in Science, Politics, Art or Whatever -- evokes three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the three phrases:
"It is completely impossible -- don't waste my time."
"It is possible, but it is not worth doing."
"I said it was a good idea all along."
Clark's First Law of Relativity:
No matter how often you trade dinner or other invitations with in-laws, you will lose a small fortune in the exchange.
Corollary: Don't try it: you cannot drink enough of your in-laws' booze to get even before your liver fails.
Clark's Law:
It's always darkest just before the lights go out.
Cleveland's Highway Law:
Highways in the worst need of repair naturally have low traffic counts, which results in low priority for repair work.
Clopton's Law:
For every credibility gap there is a gullibility fill.
Clyde's Law:
If you have something to do, and you put it off long enough, chances are someone else will do it for you.
Cohen's Law:
What really matters is the name you succeed in imposing on the facts -- not the facts themselves.
Cohen's Laws of Politics:
Law of Alienation:
Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate.
Law of Ambition:
At any one time, thousands of borough councilmen, school board members, attorneys, and businessmen -- as well as congressmen, senators, and governors -- are dreaming of the White House, but few, if any of them, will make it.
Law of Attraction:
Power attracts people but it cannot hold them.
Law of Competition:
The more qualified candidates who are available, the more likely the compromise will be on the candidate whose main qualification is a nonthreatening incompetence.
Law of Inside Dope:
There are many inside dopes in politics and government.
Law of Lawmaking:
Those who express random thoughts to legislative committees are often surprised and appalled to find themselves the instigators of law.
Law of Permanence:
Political power is as permanent as today's newspaper. Ten years from now, few will know or care who the most powerful man in any state was today.
Law of Secrecy:
The best way to publicize a governmental or political action is to attempt to hide it.
Law of Wealth:
Victory goes to the candidate with the most accumulated or contributed wealth who has the financial resources to convince the middle class and poor that he will be on their side.
Law of Wisdom:
Wisdom is considered a sign of weakness by the powerful because a wise man can lead without power but only a powerful man can lead without wisdom.
Cohn's Law:
The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything. Stability is achieved when you spend all your time doing nothing but reporting on the nothing you are doing.
Cole's Law:
Thinly sliced cabbage.
Mr. Cole's Axiom:
The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.
Colson's Law:
If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.
Comins's Law:
People will accept your idea much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.
Committee Rules:
Never arrive on time, or you will be stamped a beginner.
Don't say anything until the meeting is half over; this stamps you as being wise.
Be as vague as possible; this prevents irritating the others.
When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed.
Be the first to move for adjournment; this will make you popular -- it's what everyone is waiting for.
Commoner's Three Laws of Ecology:
No action is without side-effects.
Nothing ever goes away.
There is no free lunch.
Law of Computability
Any system or program, however complicated, if looked at in exactly the right way, will become even more complicated.
Law of Computability Applied to Social Science:
If at first you don't succeed, transform your data set.
Laws of computer programming
Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
Any given program costs more and takes longer.
If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
Any program will expand to fill available memory.
The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capabilities of the programmer who must maintain it.
Any non-trivial program contains at least one bug.
Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology: There's always one more bug.
First Maxim of Computers
To err is human, but to really screw things up requires a computer.
Connolly's Law of Cost Control:
The price of any product produced for a government agency will be not less than the square of the initial Firm Fixed-Price Contract.
Connolly's Rule for Political Incumbents:
Short-term success with voters on any side of a given issue can be guaranteed by creating a long-term special study commission made up of at least three divergent interest groups.
Conrad's Conundrum
Technologie don't transfer.
Considine's Law:
Whenever one word or letter can change the entire meaning of a sentence, the probability of an error being made will be in direct proportion to the embarrassment it will cause.
Conway's Law 1
If you assign N persons to write a compiler you'll get a N-1 pass compiler.
Conway's Law 2
In every organization there will always be one person who knows what is going on. - This person must be fired.
Cooke's Law:
In any decisive situation, the amount of relevant information available is inversely proportional to the importance of the decision.
Cook's Law:
Much work, much food; little work, little food; no work, burial at sea.
Coolidge's Immutable Observation:
When more and more people are thrown out of work, unemployment results.
Cooper's Law:
All machines are amplifiers.
Cooper's Metalaw:
A proliferation of new laws creates a proliferation of new loopholes.
Mr. Cooper's Law:
If you do not understand a particular word in a piece of technical writing, ignore it. The piece will make perfect sense without it.
Corcoroni's Laws of Bus Transportation:
The bus that left the stop just before you got there is your bus.
The amount of time you have to wait for a bus is directly proportional to the inclemency of the weather.
All buses heading in the opposite direction drive off the face of the earth and never return.
The last rush-hour express bus to your neighborhood leaves five minutes before you get off work.
Bus schedules are arranged so your bus will arrive at the transfer point precisely one minute after the connecting bus has left.
Any bus that can be the wrong bus will be the wrong bus. All others are out of service or full.
Cornuelle's Law:
Authority tends to assign jobs to those least able to do them.
Corry's Law:
Paper is always strongest at the perforations.
Courtois's Rule:
If people listened to themselves more often, they'd talk less.
Crane's Law (Friedman's Reiteration):
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. ("tanstaafl")
Mark Miller's Exception to Crane's Law:
There are no "free lunches", but sometimes it costs more to collect money than to give away food.
Crane's Rule:
There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone, or forbid your kids to do it.
Cripp's Law:
When traveling with children on one's holidays, at least one child of any number of children will request a rest room stop exactly halfway between any two given rest areas.
Cropp's Law:
The amount of work done varies inversely with the amount of time spent in the office.
Culshaw's First Principle of Recorded Sound:
Anything, no matter how bad, will sound good if played back at a very high level for a short time.
Cutler Webster's Law:
There are two sides to every argument unless a man is personally involved, in which case there is only one.
Czecinski's Conclusion:
There is only one thing worse than dreaming you are at a conference and waking to find that you are at a conference, and that is the conference where you can't fall asleep.
Darrow's Observation:
History repeats itself. That's one of the things wrong with history.
Darwin's Observation:
Nature will tell you a direct lie if she can.
Dave's Law of Advice:
Those with the best advice offer no advice.
Dave's Rule of Street Survival:
Speak softly and own a big, mean Doberman.
Davidson's Maxim:
Democracy is that form of government where everybody gets what the majority deserves.
Davis's Basic Law of Medicine:
Pills to be taken in twos always come out of the bottle in threes.
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.
Deadlock's Law:
If the law-makers make a compromise, the place where it will be felt most is the taxpayer's pocket.
Corollary: The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the suggestions it is compromising.
Dean's Law of the District of Columbia:
Washington is a much better place if you are asking questions rather than answering them.
First Law of Debate:
Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference.
Decaprio's Rule
Everything takes more time and money.
Deitz's Law of Ego:
The fury engendered by the misspelling of a name in a column is in direct ratio to the obscurity of the mentionee.
Dennis's Principles of Management by Crisis:
To get action out of management, it is necessary to create the illusion of a crisis in the hope it will be acted upon.
Management will select actions or events and convert them to crises. It will then over-react.
Management is incapable of recognizing a true crisis.
The squeaky hinge gets the oil.
Dhawan's Laws for the Non-Smoker:
The cigarette smoke always drifts in the direction of the non-smoker regardless of the direction of the breeze.
The amount of pleasure derived from a cigarette is directly proportional to the number of non-smokers in the vicinity.
A smoker is always attracted to the non-smoking section.
The life of a cigarette is directly proportional to the intensity of the protests from non-smokers.
Dieter's Law:
Food that tastes the best has the highest number of calories.
Dijkstra's Prescription for Programming Inertia:
If you don't know what your program is supposed to do, you'd better not start writing it.
Diogenes's First Dictum:
The more heavily a man is supposed to be taxed, the more power he has to escape being taxed.
Diogenes's Second Dictum:
If a taxpayer thinks he can cheat safely, he probably will.
Dirksen's Three Laws of Politics:
Get elected.
Get re-elected.
Don't get mad -- get even.
Principle of Displaced Hassle:
To beat the bureaucracy, make your problem their problem.
Donohue's Law:
Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
Donsen's Law:
The specialist learns more and more about less and less until, finally, he knows everything about nothing; whereas the generalist learns less and less about more and more until, finally, he knows nothing about everything.
Laws of Dormitory Life:
The amount of trash accumulated within the space occupied is exponentially proportional to the number of living bodies that enter and leave within any given amount of time.
Since no matter can be created or destroyed (excluding nuclear and cafeteria substances), as one attempts to remove unwanted material (i.e., trash) from one's living space, the remaining material mutates so as to occupy 30 to 50 percent more than its original volume.
Corollary: Dust breeds.
The odds are 6:5 that if one has late classes, one's roommate will have the EARLIEST possible classes.
Corollary 1:
One's roommate (who has early classes) has an alarm clock that is louder than God's own.
Corollary 2:
When one has an early class, one's roommate will invariably enter the space late at night and suddenly become hyperactive, ill, violent, or all three.
Douglas's Law of Practical Aeronautics:
When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly.
Dow's Law:
In a hierarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.
Dror's First Law:
While the difficulties and dangers of problems tend to increase at a geometric rate, the knowledge and manpower qualified to deal with these problems tend to increase linearly.
Dror's Second Law:
While human capacities to shape the environment, society, and human beings are rapidly increasing, policymaking capabilities to use those capacities remain the same.
Ducharme's Precept
Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.
Dude's Law of Duality:
Of two possible events, only the undesired one will occur.
Dunne's Law:
The territory behind rhetoric is too often mined with equivocation.
Dunn's Discovery:
The shortest measurable interval of time is the time between the moment one puts a little extra aside for a sudden emergency and the arrival of that emergency.
Durant's Discovery:
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
Durrell's Parameter:
The faster the plane, the narrower the seats.
Dyer's Law:
A continuing flow of paper is sufficient to continue the flow of paper.

Second part of Merphy's Laws

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