POPULAR APPLICATIONS OF MURPHY'S LAWS compiled by Thomas Tonino
Everybody must have heard of some of Murphy's laws; one of them
is very commonly known and sounds like 'If there are many
different ways in which something can be done, the faulty ways
will undoubtedly be done' (or something like that).
I have compiled a lot of these applications to Murphy's Laws, and
have put them in this article. I hope you have fun reading them!
If a series of events can go wrong, it will do so in the worst
After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat
In order for something to become clean, something else must
become dirty, but you can get everything dirty without getting
You will always find what you're not looking for.
The time it takes to rectify a situation is inversely
proportional to the time it took to do the damage.
The best way to inspire fresh thoughts is to seal the letter.
The tendency of smoke to drift in someones face is directly
proportional with that persons sensitivity to smoke.
Never make a decision you can get someone else to make.
You can't fix it if it ain't broke.
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things
difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the repairman.
Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the
Vital papers demonstrate their vitality by spontaneously moving
from where you left them to where you can't find them.
Teamwork is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.
Science is true. Don't be misled by facts.
If reproducibility may be a problem, conduct the test only once.
If a straight line fit is required, obtain only two points.
To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a
Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle.
Government corruption is always reported in the past tense.
An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less
until he knows absolutely everything about nothing.
History doesn't repeat itself - historians merely repeat each
Facts are solidified opinion.
Facts may weaken under extreme heat and pressure.
When in doubt, predict that the trend will continue.
Only adults have difficulty with child-proof bottles.
Even water tastes bad on doctor's orders.
If everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
When you're not in a hurry, the traffic light will turn green as
soon as your vehicle comes to a complete stop.
Anything labeled 'NEW' or 'IMPROVED' isn't.
A one-year warranty guarantees that the product will self-
destruct on the 366th day.
The consumer's guide on a item you bought will come out one week
after the purchase.
- The one you bought will be rated 'unacceptable'
- The one you nearly bought will be rated 'best buy'
You are always complimented on the item which took the least
effort to prepare.
Time spent consuming a meal is inversely proportional to time
spent preparing it.
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
If there are two TV-shows worth watching, they will be on the
When you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal.
People to whom you are attracted invariably think you remind them
of someone else.
The one who snores will fall asleep first.
Never get excited about a person because of what it looks like
All probabilities are 50%. A thing will happen, or it won't.
The scratch on the CD is always through the track you like most.
Anything good in life:
A - Is illegal, immoral or fattening, or
B - Causes cancer in laboratory mice and are taxed beyond
To err is human - to blame it on someone else is even more human.
Social legislation cannot repeal physical laws.
Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.
No matter what goes wrong, it will probably go right.
Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes
Don't believe in miracles - rely on them.
The fourth law of thermodynamics:
things get worse under pressure.
Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally towards maximum
difficulty to assemble.
A fail-safe circuit will destroy others.
After the last sixteen mounting screws has been removed from an
access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover
has been removed.
After the cover has been resecured with its sixteen screws, it
will be discovered the gasket has been omitted.
After an instrument has been reassembled, extra components will
be discovered on the bench.
Any error in any calculation will be in the direction of most
The most vital dimension on any plan or drawing stands the
greatest chance of being omitted.
In any formula, constants are to be treated as variables.
The best approximation of service conditions in the design stage
will not even resemble the conditions encountered in actual
Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will
An ingenious idiot will find a way to exceed the safety margins
of any device.
You never find an article until you replace it.
You can keep anything as long as you want, but only after you've
thrown it away, you'll need it.
No matter which way you ride, it's against the wind.
Variables won't; constants aren't.
Information neccesitating a change of design will be conveyed to
the designer after - and only after - the plans are complete.
Badness comes in waves.
Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
Any given program will expand to fill all available memory (Even
on an Atari ST).
Profanity is the one language all programmers know best.
There's always one more bug.
You cannot determine beforehand which side of the bread to
The law of selective gravity:
An object will fall so as to do most damage.
You can't fall off the floor.
The reliability of a piece of machinery is inversely proportional
to the number and significance of any persons watching it.
It works better if you plug it in.
If it jams - force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
When everything else fails, read the instructions.
All machines are amplifiers.
If the facts do not conform the theory, they must be disposed of.
There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
To estimate the time it takes to do a task:
Estimate the time you think it should take, multiply by 2, then
change the unit of measure to the next higher unit. Thus we
allocate four hours for a two-minute task.
In holland, it's not how much an item costs, but how much you
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it
Celibracy is not hereditary.
Beauty times brains equals a constant.
Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.
Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.
A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
There is no limit on how bad things can get.
Given a bad start, trouble will increase at an exponential rate.
A flying particle will seek the nearest eye.
All inanimate objects can move just enough to get in your way.
The one who says it cannot be done should never interrupt the
persion who is doing it.
A committee is twelve men doing the work of one.
Two monologues do not make a dialogue.
If anything is used to its full potential, it will break.
If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it
Users don't know what they really want, but they know for sure
what they don't want.
That which cannot be taken apart will fall apart.
The most interesting results happen only once.
The shorter the life of the particle, the more it costs to
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many
History is the science of what never happens twice.
No one is listening until you make a mistake.
All papers after the top are upside down or backwards, until you
right the pile. Then the process repeats.
The elevator always comes after you have put down your bag.
Any horizontal surface is soon piled up.
A clean tie attracts the soup of the day.
Chipped dishes never break.
If you can't fix it, feature it.
Four-wheel-drive just means getting stuck in more inaccessible
Wind velocity increases directly with the cost of the hairdo.
Eighty percent of all people consider themselves to be above
Whatever happens, look as if it were intended.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need
You can observe a lot just by watching.
You can't push on a rope.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.