Sunday, 11 August 2013

Who was Murphy, anyway?

You've all heard of Murphy's Law, right? It states that 'anything that can go wrong, will go wrong'. Well, what I wanted to find out was who was Murphy, anyway, and why is his name so well known in connection with this strange 'law'? In my quest to find out this information I came across some fascinating things.

Wikipedia has a lot of interesting comments about Murphy and his Law. Apparently, "The law's namesake was Captain Ed Murphy, a development engineer from Wright Field Aircraft Lab. Frustration with a strap transducer which was malfunctioning due to an error in wiring the strain gage bridges caused him to remark – "If there is any way to do it wrong, he will" – referring to the technician who had wired the bridges at the Lab. I assigned Murphy's law to the statement and the associated variations."

There are many other versions and extensions of the original Murphy's Law (whatever that was-!) and you may be interested in some of them below.

  • A falling object will always land where it can do the most damage.
  • 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. 
  • A shatterproof object will always fall on the only surface hard enough to crack or break it. 
  • A paint drip will always find the hole in the newspaper and land on the carpet underneath (and will not be discovered until it has dried). 
  • A dropped power tool will always land on the concrete instead of the soft ground (if outdoors) or the carpet (if indoors) - unless it is running, in which case it will fall on something it can damage (like your foot). 

  • If a dish is dropped while removing it from the cupboard, it will hit the sink, breaking the dish and chipping or denting the sink in the process. 
  • A valuable dropped item will always fall into an inaccessible place (a diamond ring down the drain, for example) - or into the garbage disposal while it is running. 
  • If you use a pole saw to saw a limb while standing on an aluminum ladder borrowed from your neighbor, the limb will fall in such a way as to bend the ladder before it knocks you to the ground. 
  • If you pick up a chunk of broken concrete and try to pitch it into an adjacent lot, it will hit a tree limb and come down right on the driver's side of your car windshield. 
  • The greater the value of the rug, the greater the probability that the cat will throw up on it. 
  • You will always find something in the last place you look. 
  • (Or, alternatively, It is never in the last place you look. It is in the first place you look, but never discovered on the first attempt. ) 
  • No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it, it will be on sale somewhere else cheaper. 
  • The other line always moves faster. 

  • Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost you more than you thought. 
  • If you fool around with a thing for very long you will screw it up. 
  • If it jams - force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway. 
  • When a broken appliance is demonstrated for the repairman, it will work perfectly. 
  • Anything dropped in the bathroom will fall in the toilet. 

I can totally agree with most of these! Particularly the last one, but that's another story....

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