Murphy’s Laws in Design

Murphy’s law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.


The perceived perversity of the universe has long been a subject of comment, and precursors to the modern version of Murphy’s law are not hard to find. Recent significant research in this area has been conducted by members of the American Dialect Society. ADS member Stephen Goranson has found a version of the law, not yet generalized or bearing that name, in a report by Alfred Holt at an 1877 meeting of an engineering society:

It is found that anything that can go wrong at sea generally does go wrong sooner or later, so it is not to be wondered that owners prefer the safe to the scientific…. Sufficient stress can hardly be laid on the advantages of simplicity. The human factor cannot be safely neglected in planning machinery. If attention is to be obtained, the engine must be such that the engineer will be disposed to attend to it.

Mathematician Augustus De Morgan on June 23, 1866 “Supplement to the Budget of Paradoxes,” The Athenaeum no. 2017 page 836 col. 2 [and later reprints: e.g., 1872, 1915, 1956, 2000] wrote: “The first experiment already illustrates a truth of the theory, well confirmed by practice, what-ever can happen will happen if we make trials enough.” In later publications “whatever can happen will happen” occasionally is termed “Murphy’s Law,” which raises the possibility—if something went wrong—that “Murphy” is “De Morgan” misremembered (an option, among others, raised by Goranson on American Dialect Society list)

American Dialect Society member Bill Mullins has found a slightly broader version of the aphorism in reference to stage magic. The British stage magician Nevil Maskelyne wrote in 1908:

It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.

The contemporary form of Murphy’s law goes back as far as 1952, as an epigraph to a mountaineering book by Jack Sack, who described it as an “ancient mountaineering adage”:

Anything that can possibly go wrong, does.

Fred R. Shapiro, the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, has shown that in 1952 the adage was called “Murphy’s law” in a book by Anne Roe, quoting an unnamed physicist:

he described [it] as “Murphy’s law or the fourth law of thermodynamics” (actually there were only three last I heard) which states: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

In May 1951, in Genetic Psychology Monographs volume 43, page 204, Anne Roe gives a transcript of an interview (part of a Thematic Apperception Test, asking impressions on a photograph) with Theoretical Physicist number 3: “…As for himself he realized that this was the inexorable working of the second law of the thermodynamics which stated Murphy’s law ‘If anything can go wrong it will’.” Anne Roe’s papers are in the American Philosophical Society archives in Philadelphia; those records (as noted by Stephen Goranson on the American Dialect Society list 12/31/2008) identify the interviewed physicist as Howard Percy “Bob” Robertson (1903–1961). Robertson’s papers are at the Caltech archives; there, in a letter Robertson offers Roe an interview within the first three months of 1949 (as noted by Goranson on American Dialect Society list 5/9/2009). The Robertson interview apparently predated the Muroc scenario said by Nick Spark (American Aviation Historical Society Journal 48 (2003) p. 169) to have occurred in or after June, 1949.

The name “Murphy’s law” was not immediately secure. A story by Lee Correy in the February 1955 issue of Astounding Science Fiction referred to “Reilly’s Law,” which “states that in any scientific or engineering endeavor, anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss was quoted in the Chicago Daily Tribune on February 12, 1955, saying “I hope it will be known as Strauss’ law. It could be stated about like this: If anything bad can happen, it probably will.”

Arthur Bloch, in his 1977 book “Murphy’s Law, and Other Reasons Why Things Go WRONG”, prints a letter that he received from George E. Nichols who recalls the event that occurred in 1949 at Edwards Air Force Base, Muroc, California that, according to him, is the origination of Murphy’s Law. An excerpt from the letter reads:

…The Law’s namesake was Capt. 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.

Association with Murphy

According to the book A History of Murphy’s Law by author Nick T. Spark, differing recollections years later by various participants make it impossible to pinpoint who first coined the saying Murphy’s law. The law’s name supposedly stems from an attempt to use new measurement devices developed by the eponymous Edward Murphy. The phrase was coined in adverse reaction to something Murphy said when his devices failed to perform and was eventually cast into its present form prior to a press conference some months later — the first ever (of many) conferences given by Dr.John Stapp, a U.S. Air Force colonel and Flight Surgeon in the 1950s. These conflicts (a long running interpersonal feud) were unreported until Spark researched the matter. His book expands upon and documents an original four part article published in 2003 (Annals of Improbable Research(AIR)) on the controversy: Why Everything You Know About Murphy’s Law is Wrong.

From 1948 to 1949, Stapp headed research project MX981 at Muroc Army Air Field (later renamed Edwards Air Force Base) for the purpose of testing the human tolerance for g-forces during rapid deceleration. The tests used a rocket sled mounted on a railroad track with a series of hydraulic brakes at the end. Initial tests used a humanoid crash test dummy strapped to a seat on the sled, but subsequent tests were performed by Stapp, at that time an Air Force captain. During the tests, questions were raised about the accuracy of the instrumentation used to measure the g-forces Captain Stapp was experiencing. Edward Murphy proposed using electronic strain gauges attached to the restraining clamps of Stapp’s harness to measure the force exerted on them by his rapid deceleration. Murphy was engaged in supporting similar research using high speed centrifuges to generate g-forces. Murphy’s assistant wired the harness, and a trial was run using a chimpanzee.

The sensors provided a zero reading; however, it became apparent that they had been installed incorrectly, with each sensor wired backwards. It was at this point that a disgusted Murphy made his pronouncement, despite being offered the time and chance to calibrate and test the sensor installation prior to the test proper, which he declined somewhat irritably, getting off on the wrong foot with the MX981 team. In an interview conducted by Nick Spark, George Nichols, another engineer who was present, stated that Murphy blamed the failure on his assistant after the failed test, saying, “If that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will.” Nichols’ account is that “Murphy’s law” came about through conversation among the other members of the team; it was condensed to “If it can happen, it will happen,” and named for Murphy in mockery of what Nichols perceived as arrogance on Murphy’s part. Others, including Edward Murphy’s surviving son Robert Murphy, deny Nichols’ account (which is supported by Hill, both interviewed by Spark), and claim that the phrase did originate with Edward Murphy. According to Robert Murphy’s account, his father’s statement was along the lines of “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way.”

The phrase first received public attention during a press conference in which Stapp was asked how it was that nobody had been severely injured during the rocket sled tests. Stapp replied that it was because they always took Murphy’s Law under consideration; he then summarized the law and said that in general, it meant that it was important to consider all the possibilities (possible things that could go wrong) before doing a test and act to counter them. Thus Stapp’s usage and Murphy’s alleged usage are very different in outlook and attitude. One is sour, the other an affirmation of the predictable being surmountable, usually by sufficient planning and redundancy. Hill and Nichols believe Murphy was unwilling to take the responsibility for the device’s initial failure (by itself a blip of no large significance) and is to be doubly damned for not allowing the MX981 team time to validate the sensor’s operability and for trying to blame an underling when doing so in the embarrassing aftermath.

The association with the 1948 incident is by no means secure. Despite extensive research, no trace of documentation of the saying as Murphy’s law has been found before 1951 (see above). The next citations are not found until 1955, when the May–June issue of Aviation Mechanics Bulletinincluded the line “Murphy’s Law: If an aircraft part can be installed incorrectly, someone will install it that way,” and Lloyd Mallan’s book, Men, Rockets and Space Rats, referred to: “Colonel Stapp’s favorite takeoff on sober scientific laws—Murphy’s Law, Stapp calls it—’Everything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong’.” The Mercury astronauts in 1962 attributed Murphy’s law to U.S. Navy training films.

Other variations on Murphy’s law

From its initial public announcement, Murphy’s law quickly spread to various technical cultures connected to aerospace engineering. Before long, variants had passed into the popular imagination, changing as they went.

Author Arthur Bloch has compiled a number of books full of corollaries to Murphy’s law and variations thereof. These include the original Murphy’s Law and other reasons why things go wrong and Murphy’s Law Book Two, which are very general, and the more specific volumes Murphy’s Law: Doctors: Malpractice Makes Perfect and Murphy’s Law: Lawyers: Wronging the Rights in the Legal Profession!. Later, a collection of three volumes was also published. This led to a corollary Stores selling Volume I have not heard of Volume II; stores selling Volume II have run out of Volume I.

There have been persistent references to Murphy’s law associating it with the laws of thermodynamics right from the very beginning (see the quotation from Anne Roe’s book above). In particular, Murphy’s law is often cited as a form of the second law of thermodynamics (the law of entropy) because both are predicting a tendency to a more disorganised state.

Murphy’s Laws

  • If anything can go wrong, it will
  • Corollary: It canCorollary sent by Dr. Allen Roberds

    Corollary: It should

    MacGillicuddy’s Corollary: At the most inopportune time

    Corollary sent by Earl R. Johnson

    Extension: it will be all your fault, and everyone will know it.

    Extension sent by Dean A. Izett

  • If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrongExtreme version:

    If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the FIRST to go wrong

    Extreme version sent by Neal Miller

  • If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway
  • 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 developCorollary: It will be impossible to fix the fifth fault, without breaking the fix on one or more of the others

    Corollary sent by Sean Cheshire

  • 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 flawCorollary: The hidden flaw never stays hidden for long.

    Corollary sent by Dave M.

  • Mother nature is a bitchAddendum: and not an obedient one at that

    Addendum sent by Paul Kekanovich

  • Murphy’s Law of ThermodynamicsThings get worse under pressure.
  • The Murphy PhilosophySmile . . . tomorrow will be worse.
  • Quantization Revision of Murphy’s LawsEverything goes wrong all at once.
  • Murphy’s ConstantMatter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value
  • Murphy’s Law of ResearchEnough research will tend to support whatever theory.
  • Research supports a specific theory depending on the amount of funds dedicated to it.Sent by Tony ’68
  • Addition to Murphy’s LawsIn nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right … something is wrong.
  • More Laws
  • Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
  • It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
  • Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
  • 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.
  • Nothing is as easy as it looks.
  • Everything takes longer than you think.
  • Everything takes longer than it takes.Sent by Jon Carpenter
  • If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
  • Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
  • Every solution breeds new problems.
  • The legibility of a copy is inversely proportional to its importance.
  • no matter how perfect things are made to appear, Murphy’s law will take effect and screw it up.Sent by Mitch
  • You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.
  • The chance of the buttered side of the bread falling face down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.Sent by Paul Breen
  • The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
  • More Laws of Selective Gravitation.
  • A falling object will always land where it can do the most damage.
  • 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.
  • More Laws of Selective Gravitation were sent by Jack from the Classic CKLW Page
  • The greater the value of the rug, the greater the probability that the cat will throw up on it.Sent by Ralph
  • You will always find something in the last place you look.
  • If your looking for more than one thing, you’ll find the most important one last.Sent by Alegna
  • It is never in the last place you look. It is in the first place you look, but never discovered on the first attempt.Sent by Peter
  • After you bought a replacement for something you’ve lost and searched for everywhere, you’ll find the original.Sent by Dizzy
  • You have to look where you lost it.Sent by
  • No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you’ve bought it, it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.
  • The other line always moves faster.
  • In order to get a personal loan, you must first prove you don’t need it.
  • 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.
  • Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will use it.
  • Everyone has a scheme for getting rich that will not work.
  • In any hierarchy, each individual rises to his own level of incompetence, and then remains there.
  • There’s never time to do it right, but there’s always time to do it over.
  • When in doubt, mumble. When in trouble, delegate.
  • Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral or fattening.
  • Murphy’s golden rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules.
  • A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.
  • In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
  • Never argue with a fool, people might not know the difference.
  • Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
  • No good deed goes unpunished.Sent by John Cougar and by getalife who asks “who wrote that?”.

    Illustrious Blackbird knew the answer, it was Samuel L. Clemens also known as Mark Twain.

  • Where patience fails, force prevails.Sent by Woody.
  • Erma Bombeck”Anything dropped in the bathroom will fall in the toilet.

    Sent by

  • Heisenberg indetermination principle applied to ill luck:The better you know the amount of ill luck that will strike you,

    the worse you know when this will happen,

    and vice-versa.

    and Relativistic correction of Murphy’s law:

    Whether things can go wrong or not, it depends on your frame of reference.

    Corollary (otherwise said: ill luck is actually absolute):

    Regardless of your frame of reference, things will go wrong anyway.

    Were sent by Simone Penzavalle.

  • If you want something bad enough, chances are you won’t get it.
  • If you think you are doing the right thing, chances are it will back-fire in your face.
  • When waiting for traffic, chances are that when one lane clears the other is congested.
  • Just when you think things cannot get any worse, they will.
  • Remember the “Boomer-rang” effect; Whatever you do will always come back.
  • If you re-act to actions, you’ve acted on actions.
  • He who angers you controls you, there-fore you have no control over your anger.The last SEVEN laws were sent by Leesa,

    Thank you.

  • Any time you put an item in a “safe place”, it will never be seen again.
  • Your best golf shots always occur when playing alone.
  • The worst golf shots always occur when playing with someone you are trying to impress.
  • No matter how hard you try, you cannot push a string.(getting everyone in the family to the car at the same time for example)
  • The fish are always biting….yesterday!
  • You will never leave a parking space without someone in an adjacent space leaving at the same time.Sent by Sean Murphy
  • The cost of the hair do is directly related to the strength of the wind.
  • Great ideas are never remembered and dumb statements are never forgotten.
  • The clothes washer/dryer will only eat one of each pair of socks.EIGHT laws were sent by Charles L. Mays,

    Thank you.

  • When you see light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel will cave in.Sent by Fridrik Bjarnason

    Or in another version

    The light at the end of the tunnel is a train

    Sent by Steve

  • Cole’s Law:Thinly sliced cabbage.

    Sent by Michael

  • Being dead right, won’t make you any less dead.and

    Having the right of way, won’t make you any less dead.

    Sent by anonymous

  • Whatever you want, you can’t have, what you can have, you don’t want.
  • Whatever you want to do, is Not possible, what ever is possible for you to do, you don’t want to do it.
  • Traffic is inversely proportional to how late you are, or are going to be.
  • The complexity and frustration factor is inversely proportional to how much time you have left to finish, and how important it is.The four last laws were sent by Joe
  • Crespins law of observation:the probability of being observed is in direct proportion to the stupidity of ones actions

    Sent by R. Crespin esq.

  • If you go to bed with an itchy ass, you wake up with smelly fingers.Sent by Chris Davidsen, from Norway.
  • A knowledge of Murphy’s Law is no help in any situation.
  • If you apply Murphy’s Law, it will no longer be applicable.
  • If you say something, and stake your reputation on it, you will lose your reputation.
  • no matter where I go, there I amSent by John Davenport
  • Where patience fails, force prevails.Sent by Woody
  • Murphy’s Law Current RevisionAny thing that can go wrong, HAS Already Gone Wrong!

    You just haven’t been notified.

  • The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” but “That’s funny…”Said by Isaac Asimov
  • A former colleague of Russell Cooper once claimed that Murphy had plagiarized his “Gamble’s Law” which says that “The letter box is always on the other side of the road”
  • If many things can go wrong, they will all go wrong at the same time.
  • If anything can go wrong, it will happen to the crankiest person.Sent by Timothy Boilard
  • Waxman’s Law:Everything tastes more or less like chicken.

    Last two laws were sent by Del Ross

  • Skarstad’s ObservationYou will never find any more loose change than you have already lost.

    Sent by Gayle

  • If authority was mass, stupidity would be gravity.Sent by Greg
  • all good things come to those who wait…but , don’t wait too long or they will pass you by…

    like 2 ships that pass in the night…

    never again to return that same exact site.

    Sent by Jujuakita

  • If anything was worth doing, it would’ve already been done.Corollary: Nothing is worth doing.

    Sent by D-D-D-Dave

  • You can do anything except light a paper match on a marshmallow under waterSent by John
  • Ants will always infest the nearest food cupboard.Sent by anonymous
  • Long’s LawThose who know the least will always know it the loudest.

    Sent by Chris Moore

  • McFalls’ MaximNo degree of acceptance can ever change the facts.

    Translation: You may come to terms with being screwed, but nevertheless you’re still screwed.

    Sent by Oliver McFalls

  • Hunter’s Corollary to Murphy’s Law:Things always go from bad to worse.
  • Hunter’s Observation on Beauty:Beauty is only skin deep, fashion even shallower.
  • Hunter’s Observation on Experts:An expert is someone with an opinion and a word processor.
  • Hunter’s Observation on Sugarcoating:All pornography is air-brushed or computer-enhanced.
  • Hunter’s Observation on hypocrites:A person without values or standards can never be a hypocrite.
  • Hunter’s Observation on Education and Oz:”We can give you a diploma, but we can’t give you a brain.”

    The last six laws were sent by Hunter

  • Sgt. Murphy’s LawDon’t get into a pissing contest with a skunk.

    Sent by Bird Waring

  • The Law of Stupid TricksJust because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

    Sent by Zenjive

  • Garbage abhors a vacuum. It will grow to fill available space.Corollary: The more space you have, the more junk you’ll have.

    Sent by Magycke

  • Paper is always strongest at the perforation.Sent by Mike
  • Things are never as good as they are bad.Sent by Scott Miller
  • Chaos always wins, because it’s better organized.Sent by Regards Walter citing Terry Pratchett
  • The Wingwalker’s Rule:Don’t let go of something until you have a hold of something else.

    Sent by D. Kinloch.

  • A bird in the hand is messy.Sent by Ted Machler
  • The mud that won’t come off on the doormat immediately adheres to the carpet.Sent by Jenny Pitt
  • When you wear new shoes for the first time, everyone will step on them.Sent by Pieter
  • If Murphy’s law is correct, everything East of the San Andreas Fault will slide into the Atlantic – Steven WrightSent by Deke
  • If Murphy’s Law can go wrong it will.Sent by Mark
  • Cheer up, the worst is yet to come…Sent by Yaron Budowski
  • If at first you don’t succeed destroy all evidence that you ever tried.Sent by Damien Hope
  • Mrs. Murphy’s Law:If anything can go wrong it will go wrong when Mr. Murphy is out of town….

    Sent by Sharon Murphy

  • If all else fails, hit it with a big hammer.Sent by Jeronimo
  • Warneke LawYou cannot force Murphy’s Law to happen and you can’t use it in reverse.

    Sent by Warneke

  • When something goes wrong, you cannot find the solution in the instruction booklet, but someone else always does.Sent by mark peacock
  • Everything in life is important, important things are simple, simple things are never easy.Think about it, complete the circle.

    Sent by Sam Diggly who’s dad told her this law after she got married.

  • It takes forever to learn the rules and once you’ve learned them they change again.Sent by Tracey Goldstein
  • The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds,the pessimist fears this is true.

    Sent by what’d ya say?

  • You will find an easy way to do it, after you’ve finished doing it.Sent by Conan Rock
  • Hofstadter’s Law:It always takes longer than you think, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

    Sent by Ben Jones

  • In Las Vegas, wherever you want to go in a casino, it’s as far as possible from where you are, no matter where you are.Sent by Lois Weiner
  • The wind will always blow opposite to your hairdoSent by G B
  • Wind velocity increases directly with the cost of the hairdo.
  • The probability of the toast landing peanut-butter-side-down is directly proportionate to the cost of the carpeting.Sent by Keith Hipkins
  • Laundry Math:1 Washer + 1 Dryer + 2 Socks = 1 SockSent by Bryan Ortiz
  • Window polishing:It’s always on the other side.

    Sent by Jakob Sultan

  • Hall’s Law:Anyone who isn’t paranoid simply isn’t paying attention.

    Sent by Colin

  • (Another) Hall’s LawMinor problem isn’t.

    Sent by Philip Hilbert Hall

  • A valuable falling in a hard to reach place will be exactly at the distance of the tip of your fingers.
  • If a valuable falls in a hard to reach place at a distance shorter than the tip of your finger, as soon as you try to reach it you’ll push it to that distance.The last two laws were sent by Luciano Quinones
  • If it looks good,And it taste good,

    And it feels good,

    There has got to be something wrong some where,

    So be careful.

    Sent by Shirley Cameron

  • Two heads are better than one, even if one is a sheep head.Sent by Robert Dion
  • The probability of rain is inversely proportional to the size of the umbrella you carry around with you all day.Sent by
  • No matter how hard you try, every once in a while, something is going right.
  • Behind every little problem there’s a larger problem, waiting for the little problem to get out of the way.The last two laws were sent by Robert K White
  • When you really need something, its either not available, or can’t be found.  When you don’t need it, its either available, or lays around in plain sight.Sent by Robert Van Sile
  • Whenever you cut your finger nails, you find a need for them an hour later.Sent by Jeff S
  • Law of Conservation of Filth:In order for something to get clean, something else must get dirty.

    Conclusion to the Law of Conservation of Filth:

    It is possible for everything to get dirty and nothing to get clean.

    Sent by Scott Tietjen,  AKA, “Great Scott”

  • The file you are looking for is always at the bottom of the largest pile.Sent by Larry
  • Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.Sent by G Martin
  • Gumperson’s Law:The likelihood of something happening is in inverse proportion to the desirability of it happening.

    Sent by Ken Kaplan

  • Uffelman’s Razor:[Given Murphy’s law, …] One should not attribute to evil design any unfortunate result which can be attributed to error. A mistake (or series of mistakes) is the simpler and more likely explanation.

    Conspiracy Corollary to Uffelman’s Razor:

    Nothing should be attributed to conspiracy that can be explained by error or a succession of errors.

    • Example 1: The alleged conspiracy to “fake” the Apollo moon landing.Such an undertaking would be so likely to result in multiple glitches that it would be nearly impossible to pull off. Thus, conspiracy is an unlikely explanation of events. Accordingly, the “evidence” of the “faked” landing is more likely a result of the errors of those interpreting the evidence than of the evil design of the alleged conspirators.
    • Example 2: The Warren Report.Any open questions in the Warren Report are more likely the result of the errors of the Warren commission, or the errors of those interpreting the Warren Report, than the result of a conspiracy to cover up the true facts.

    copyright 1995, 2002. David G. Uffelman

  • Probability law:Probabilities serve only and exclusively to determine the degree of improbability of the catastrophes that actually take place.

    Corollary: If something is likely to happen AND desirable, it won’t happen.

    Sent by Sylvain Galibert

  • Common Sense Is Not So Common
  • Power Is Taken… Not GivenSent by John  Burke
  • Two wrongs don’t make a right. It usually takes three or four.
  • If the truth is in your favor no one will believe you.The last two laws were sent by Lenny Quites
  • When things go from bad to worse, the cycle repeats.Sent by Rivers
  • Laws are like a spider web, in that it snares the poor and weak while the rich and powerful brake them.Solon, ancient Greece

    Sent by Red

  • key to happiness is to be O.K. with not being O.K.Sent by Divya
  • The two most abundant things in all the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.Sent by Ross Henderson

    and another version to this law

    The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen, stupidity and opinions.

    Sent by Martin and Henrik from Denmark

  • Stupidity is the fundamental driving force of the Universe, which explains why stupid people always go wrong.Sent by Anonymousepad
  • Every rule has an exception except the Rule of Exceptions.Sent by GL Roberts
  • If your action has a 50% possibility of being correct, you will be wrong 75% of the time.Sent by Bob Holdegraver
  • If you plan for something to go wrong, and it doesn’t go wrong, it would have been ultimately profitable for it to go wrong.Sent by John Wilson
  • Common sense isn’t.Sent by Joe Facchini
  • The difference between Stupidity and Genius is that Genius has its limits.Sent by Mark M Stevens
  • The universe is great enough for all possibilities to exist.Sent by Elizabeth A. Kennedy
  • Those who don’t take decisions never make mistakes.Sent by Asier Zabarte
  • The only price you pay for greatness is knowing that it can’t last forever.Sent by Taranis Valerin
  • Anything that cant possible in a million years go wrong, will go wrong.
  • Anything that seems right, is putting you into a false sense of security.
  • If everything seems great, its already gone wrong.
  • The only time you’re right, is when its about being wrong.
  • The only times something’s right, is when everyone agrees its wrong.The last five laws were sent by Thomas Wrobel
  • If a Murphy law is tried to be used to have a desired outcome, the law will backfire.Sent by Pat M.
  • Its never so bad it couldn’t be worse.Sent by Raymond J. Gunn that says that his friend George Brabbs use to say it, then he died, now he wonders
  • Andrew’s LawWhen saying that things can not possibly get any worse – they will

    Sent by Andrew Milbourne

  • Murphy’s MetalawKnowing Murphy’s Law will never help.
  • Occult Principle of MurphismTo know Murphy’s Law is to draw its attention.
  • Avoidance LawIf for some reason Murphy’s Law fails to operate, it is building up for something big.
  • Hermetic MurphismAs above, so below.
  • The big catastrophes are made up of smaller ones.
  • Buddha’s Version of Murphy’s LawDecay is inherent in all things, strive unceasingly.
  • Fleming’s corollary:Nothing ever gets better.
  • Murphologist’s CurseGiven time one can develop a sense of how Murphy’s Law will act, but the Murphy Sense will tingle only after it is too late to keep the excreta from impacting the rotating blade based wind generator.

    The last seven laws were sent by Azrias Mordax

  • The probability that something can go wrong is directly proportional to the square of the amount of inconvenience it can cause you
  • Everything that could possibly go wrong for anyone else always seems to happen to you
  • Law of cooperativesIn any particular situation, if three things can go wrong, they usually do in sequence, each facilitating the occurrence of the next

    The last three laws were sent by Takura Razemba

  • Mr. Murphy warning:Don’t mess with Mrs. Murphy
  • Mrs. Murphy’s Law:If something goes wrong, it’s Mr. Murphy’s fault.

    Last two laws were sent by Frank O’Neal

  • Mrs. Murphy’s LawIf anything can go wrong it will, and when it does, the woman will get the blame

    Sent by

  • Lewis’ AxiomThe person ahead of you in the queue, will have the most complex transaction possible

    Sent by Robert Lewis

  • Every problem is replaceable with a bigger one.Sent by Nabeel
  • Another name for Murphy’s law: The law of conservation of miserySent by Achten
  • Carvalheiro’s deductionIf in a particular circumstance Murphy’s law don’t apply, then something must be wrong

    Sent by Filipe Carvalheiro

  • Sharad’s LawIf Murphy’s law is right then it will go wrong

    Sent by Sharad Bhandari

  • A law about websites:The more important it is to get to a website, the greater the chance the server is down.

    Sent by Shaunna

  • Laws about this site:The More the number of laws you claim to have, the more the number of laws you are going to miss.

    Sent by Sathish

  • This site won’t open when you want to show someone what exactly Murphy laws areSent by Dinni
  • Remember:Shit happens
  • Murphy’s law is intrinsic.Sent by wolfram
  • And on the eighth day God said;”O.K. Murphy, you take over!Sent by Robert A. Silvestri
  • Larry Niven’s summary of Murphy’s Law:The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum.

    Sent by Kevin Boland

  • The road to success is always under constructionBy Anton Figg (?)
  • If in a series events that could have gone wrong and didn’t, It will have been ultimately beneficial for them to have gone wrong in the first place.Sent by John Greeno
  • Bralek’s Rule for Success:Trust only those who stand to lose as much as you.

    Sent by Don Jackson

  • whatever was supposed to happen, won’tSent by TJ Engelking
  • You can’t expect the unexpected, otherwise there would be no need for the word unexpected
  • You cant reason with the stupidThe last two laws were sent by Tye Boyce
  • If you lose something that is replaceable (textbooks, clothing etc) as soon as you buy a replacement the original will surface.Sent by Nancy Decker
  • Clemens’ LawIn any given situation, people will act so as to display the maximum possible amount of stupidity for that situation.

    Clemens’ Law short form

    People are stupid.

    Sent by Matt Clemens

  • What goes in must come out.Unless it’s the other way around.

    Sent by Jeff Smith

  • Better to be a pessimist than an optimist because when you say the glass is half empty it will have to be refilledSent by Derek Drake
  • Sooner or later, you will spill your beer
  • Berneathys directional dichotomyWest is always East of somewhere
  • Berneathys formula factInstruction manuals are for losers
  • Berneathys guide theoremYou’re only lost if you admit it
  • Berneathys gravitational paradoxIf gravity is all around us, why can’t you push a fat dog down the stairs?

    Last five laws were sent by Mike Berneathy

  • Wet LawA spoon placed in the sink will locate to maximize splash from the faucet
  • Pack Rat’s LawAll horizontal surfaces shall be filled to capacity
  • Wife’s LawAnything worth doing is well worth over-doing


    Anything over-done isn’t worth the extra effort

    Last three laws were sent by Doug Ebeling

  • It’s no the drop that kills you…. its the sudden stopSent by Martin Rowland
  • When things are going right, you won’t notice
  • The cleverness of Murphy’s Laws is inverse proportion to the number of lawslast two laws were sent by Lucky Number 11
  • The entropy of the universe tends to a maximumSent by Vikram Aphale
  • and never forget O’Toole’s Corollary or
    Sod’s Law or
    McGillicuddy Law
    Murphy was an optimist
    Well, there are a lot of people who think he was an optimist, aren’t there?

    Or in other words:

    someone else always seems to get the credit for your work.

    The harder you work the more people there will be to claim credit except when it backfires.

    You get all the credit for the dumb move.

    Murphy was an extreme optimist!

    Says Charles L. Mays

  • And we’ll end this page with something optimistic (don’t hit me).Don’t worry about Murphy’s Law, you know it’s gonna happen anyway, so just get on with it and get it over with!

    Sent by Ruth Beaty

  • The humor of Murphy’s Law leaves you laughing at the end of the day.If you make it through a Murphy Day…you win!

Adopted from’s_law


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