Laws, Observations, Mottos and Philosophies

  1. Abrams' Principle: The shortest distance between two points is off the wall.

    Anthony's Law of Force: Don't force it; get a larger hammer.

    Fourth Law of Applied Terror: The night before the English mid-term, your Biology instructor will assign 200 pages on planaria.
    Corollary: Every instructor assumes that you have nothing else to do except study for that instructor's course.

    Arnold's Law of Documentation:
    1. If it should exist, it doesn't.
    2. If it does exist, it's out of date.
    3. Only documentation for useless programs transcends the first two laws.

    Arthur's Laws of Love:
    1. People to whom you are attracted invariably think you remind them of someone else.
    2. The love letter you finally got the courage to send will be delayed in the mail long enough for you to make a fool of yourself in person.

    Baker's First Law of Federal Geometry: A block grant is a solid mass of money surrounded on all sides by governors.

    Barach's Rule: An alcoholic is a person who drinks more than his own physician.

    First Law of Bicycling: No matter which way you ride, it's uphill and against the wind.

    Boling's Postulate: If you're feeling good, don't worry, you'll get over it.

    Bolub's Fourth Law of Computerdom: Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.

    Bombeck's Rule of Medicine: Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

    Boob's Law: You always find something in the last place you look.

    Boren's Laws:
    1. When in charge, ponder.
    2. When in trouble, delegate.
    3. When in doubt, mumble.

    Brady's First Law of Problem Solving: When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger have handled this?"

    Bucy's Law: Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.

    Second Law of Business Meetings: If there are two possible ways to spell a person's name, you will pick the wrong one.
    Corollary: If there is only one way to spell a name, you will spell it wrong, anyway.

    Character Density: The number of very weird people in the office.

    Chemist's Rule: Never take more than three data points. There will always be some kind of graph paper on which they fall in a straight line.
    Chemist's Rule, First Corollary: If you have only one kind of graph paper, never take more than two data points.

    Chisolm's First Corollary to Murphy's Second Law: When things just can't possibly get any worse, they will.

    Chism's Law of Completion: The amount of time required to complete a college grant is precisely equal to the length of time already spent on it.

    Inevitable Laws of Class Scheduling:
    1. If the course you wanted the most has room for n students, you'll be the n+1 to apply.
    2. A prerequisite/co-requisite for a desired course will be offered only during the semester following the desired course.
    3. Class schedules are designed so that every student will waste the maximum time between classes.
    Corollary: When you are occasionally able to schedule two classes in a row, they will be held in classrooms at opposite ends of the campus.

    Colvard's Logical Premises: All probabilities are 50%. Either a thing will happen or it won't.
    Colvard's Unconscionable Commentary: This is especially true when dealing with someone you're attracted to.
    Grelb's Commentary: Likelihoods, however, are 90% against you.

    Law of Communications: The inevitable result of improved and enlarged communications between different levels in a hierarchy is a vastly increased area of misunderstanding.

    Compensation Theorem: see Maier's Law, 2nd corollary.

    Conway's Law: In any organization there will always be one person who knows what is going on... This person must be fired.

    Rule of Creative Research:
    1. Never draw what you can copy.
    2. Never copy what you can trace.
    3. Never trace what you can cut out and paste down.

    Rule of Defactualization: Information deteriorates upward through bureaucracies.

    DeVries's Dilemma: If you hit two keys on the typewriter, the one you don't want hits the paper.

    Drew's Law of Highway Biology: The first bug to hit a clean windshield lands directly in front of your eyes.

    Ducharm's Axiom: If you view your problem closely enough you will recognize yourself as part of the problem.

    Ducharm's Precept: Opportunity always knocks at the least opportune moment.

    Dykstra's Observation on Programming and Debugging: If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

    Ehrman's Commentary:
    1. Things will get worse before they get better.
    2. Who said things would get better?

    Emersons' Law of Contrariness: Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can. Having found them, we shall then hate them for it.

    The Equine Paradox: There are more horses' asses in the world than there are horses' heads.

    Non-Reciprocal Laws of Expectations:
    1. Negative expectations yield negative results.
    2. Positive expectations yield negative results.

    Farvour's Law of Debugging: There is always one more bug...

    Fifth Rule: You have taken yourself too seriously.

    Finagle's Creed: Science is true. Don't be misled by facts.

    Finagle's First Law: If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

    Finagle's Second Law: No matter what the anticipated result, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened according to his own pet theory.

    Finagle's Third Law: In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake.
    Corollaries:
    1. Nobody whom you ask for help will see it.
    2. The first person who stops by, whose advice you really don't want to hear, will see it immediately.

    Finagle's Fourth Law: Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

    Flugg's Law: When you need to knock on wood is when you realize that the world is composed of vinyl, naugahyde and aluminum.

    Fortuity Factor: That entity which, when present in sufficient quantity or of sufficient magnitude at the right time, gives rise to the correct solution.

    Fortune's Party Tip #14: Tired of finding that other people are helping themselves to your good liquor at BYOB parties? Take along a candle, which you insert and light after you've opened the bottle. No one ever expects anything drinkable to be in a bottle which has a candle stuck in its neck.

    Fresco's Discovery: If you knew what you were doing you'd probably be bored.

    Two Constant Laws of Frisbee:
    1. The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc straining to land under a car, just out of reach (this force is technically termed "car suck").
    2. Never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive than "Watch this!"

    Fudd's First Law of Opposition: Push something hard enough and it will fall over.

    Futility Principle: No experiment is ever a complete failure; it can always serve as a bad example.

    Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics:
    1. An object in motion will always be headed in the wrong direction.
    2. An object at rest will always rest in the wrong place.
    3. The energy required to change either of these states will always be more than you wish to expend, but never so much as to make the task totally impossible.

    Glib's Fourth Law of Unreliability: Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some useful work done.

    Rule of the Great: When people you greatly admire appear to be thinking deep thoughts, they probably are thinking about lunch.

    Greener's Law: Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.

    Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    Hanson's Treatment of Time: There are never enough hours in a day, but always too many days before Saturday.

    Harrisberger's Fourth Law of the Lab: Experience is directly proportional to the amount of equipment ruined.

    Hartley's First Law: You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back, you've got something.

    Hartley's Second Law: Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.

    Heineken Uncertainty Principle: You can never be sure how many beers you had last night.

    Heller's Law: The first myth of management is that it exists.
    Johnson's Corollary: Nobody really knows what is going on anywhere within the organization.

    Hlade's Law: If you have a difficult task, give it to a lazy person -- they will find an easier way to do it.

    Hoare's Law of Large Problems: Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.

    Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account.

    Horner's Five Thumb Postulate: see Harrisberger's Fourth Law of the Lab.

    Howe's Law: Everyone has a scheme that will not work.

    Issawi's Laws of Progress:
    The Course of Progress: Most things get steadily worse.
    The Path of Progress: A shortcut is the longest distance between two points. If we do not change our direction we are likely to end up where we are headed.

    Jenkinson's Law: It won't work! [Note: Jenkinson was an Optimist]

    Johnson's First Law: When any mechanical contrivance fails, it will do so at the most inconvenient possible time.

    Jones's First Law: Anyone who makes a significant contribution to any field of endeavor, and stays in that field long enough, becomes an obstruction to its progress -- in direct proportion to the importance of their original contribution.

    Kinkler's First Law: Responsibility always exceeds authority.

    Klienbrunner's Corollaries of Programming:
    1. If a programming task looks easy, it's tough.
    2. If a programming task looks tough, it's damn-well impossible.

    Langsam's Laws:
    1. Everything depends.
    2. Nothing is always.
    3. Everything is sometimes.

    Lazlo's Chinese Relativity Axiom: No matter how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats -- approximately one billion Chinese couldn't care less.

    Lieberman's Law: Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.

    Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology: There's always one more bug.

    Maier's Law: If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
    Corollaries:
    1. The bigger the theory, the better.
    2. The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain agreement with the theory.

    Malek's Law: Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.

    Mark's Dental-Chair Discovery: Dentists are incapable of asking questions that require a simple yes or no answer.

    Meader's Law: Whatever happens to you, it will previously have happened to everyone you know, only more so.

    H. L. Mencken's Law: Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.
    Martin's Extension: Those who cannot teach -- administrate.

    Meskimen's Law: There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over.

    Micro Credo: Never trust a computer bigger than you can lift.

    Mitchell's Law of Committees: Any simple problem can be made insoluble if enough meetings are held to discuss it.

    Mosher's Law of Software Engineering: Don't worry if it doesn't work right. If everything did, you'd be out of a job.

    Murphy's Discovery: Do you know Presidents talk to the country the way men talk to women? They say, "Trust me, go all the way with me, and everything will be all right." And what happens? Nine months later, you're in trouble!

    Murphy's Law of Research: Enough research will tend to support your theory.

    Naeser's Law: You can make it foolproof, but you can't make it damnfoolproof.

    Newton's Fourth Law: Every action has an equal and opposite satisfaction.

    Newton's Little-Known Seventh Law: A bird in the hand is safer than one overhead.

    Ninety-Ninety Rule of Project Schedules: The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, and the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.

    Ogden's Law: The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

    Oliver's Law: Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

    One Page Principle: A specification that will not fit on one page of 8.5x11 inch paper cannot be understood. [Mark Ardis]

    The Law of Open Book Exams: If you are given on open-book exam, you will forget your book.
    The Law of Open Book Exams Corollary: If you are given a take-home test, you will forget where you live.

    Ordering Principle: Those supplies and equipment items necessary for yesterday's experiments must be ordered no later than tomorrow morning.

    Osborn's Law: Variables won't; constants aren't.

    Ozman's Laws:
    1. If someone says he will do something "without fail," he won't.
    2. The more people talk on the phone, the less money they make.
    3. People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.
    4. Pizza always burns the roof of your mouth.

    Self Test for Paranoia: You know you have it when you can't think of anything that's your own fault.

    Pardo's First Postulate: Anything good in life is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.
    Arnold's Addendum: Anything not fitting into these categories causes cancer in rats.

    Parkinson's Fourth Law: The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless of the amount of work to be done.

    Parkinson's Fifth Law: If there is a way to delay an important decision, the good bureaucracy, public or private, will find it.

    Patrick's Theorem: If the experiment works, we must be using the wrong equipment.

    Paul's Second Law: You can't fall off the floor.

    Law of the Perversity of Nature: You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.

    Perversity Principle (of Inanimate Objects): Any inanimate object, regardless of its composition, shape, density or color, may be expected to perform (at any time) in a totally unexpected manner for reasons that are entirely obscure, or else completely mysterious.

    Law of Probable Dispersal: Whatever it is that hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

    First Law of Procrastination: Procrastination shortens the job and places the responsibility for its termination on someone else (i.e., the authority who imposed the deadline).

    Fifth Law of Procrastination: Procrastination avoids boredom; one never has the feeling that there is nothing important to do.

    Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

    Putt's Law: Technology is dominated by two types of people:
    1. Those who understand what they do not manage.
    2. Those who manage what they do not understand.

    Fourth Law of Revision: It is usually impractical to worry beforehand about interferences -- if you have none, someone will make one for you.

    Rudin's Law: If there is a wrong way to do something, most people will do it every time.

    Satellite Safety Tip #14: If you see a bright streak in the sky coming at you, duck.

    Sattinger's Law: It works better if you plug it in.

    Scott's First Law: No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.

    Scott's Second Law: When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been wrong in the first place.
    Corollary: After the correction has been found in error, it will be impossible to fit the original quantity back into the equation.

    Laws of Serendipity:
    1. In order to discover anything, you must be looking for something.
    2. If you wish to make an improved product, you must already be engaged in making an inferior one.

    Serocki's Stricture: Marriage is always a bachelor's last option.

    Shaw's Principle: Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.

    Simon's Law: Everything put together falls apart sooner or later.

    Skinner's Constant: That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to, or subtracted from the answer you get, gives you the answer you should have gotten.

    Slick's Three Laws of the Universe:
    1. Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad check.
    2. A quarter-ounce of chocolate = four pounds of fat.
    3. There are two types of dirt: the dark kind, which is attracted to light objects, and the light kind, which is attracted to dark objects.

    First Law of Socio-Genetics: Celibacy is not hereditary.

    Sodd's Second Law: Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur.

    Swipple's Rule of Order: He who shouts the loudest has the floor.

    Three Laws of Thermodynamics:
    The First Law: You can't get anything without working for it.
    The Second Law: The most you can accomplish by working is to break even.
    The Third Law: You can only break even at absolute zero.

    Tussman's Law: Nothing is as inevitable as a mistake whose time has come.

    Ultimate Principle: By definition, when investigating the unknown, one does not know what one will find.

    Unnamed Law: If it happens, it must be possible.

    Vail's Second Axiom: The amount of work to be done increases in proportion to the amount of work already completed.

    Watson's Law: The reliability of machinery is inversely proportional to the number and significance of any persons watching it.

    Weiler's Law: Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself.

    Weiner's Law of Libraries: There are no answers, only cross references.

    Westheimer's Discovery: A couple of months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of hours in the library.

    Whistler's Law: You never know who is right, but you always know who is in charge.

    Williams and Holland's Law: If enough data is collected, anything may be proven by statistical methods.

    Wisher's Principle: The probability of a given event occurring is inversely proportional to its desirability.

    Woman's rule of thumb: If it has tyres or testis, you're going to have trouble with it.

    Zepplemier's Corollary of Programming: The last four pages of a critical listing will be lost.

    Zymurgy's Law of Volunteer Labor: People are always available for work in the past tense.
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Laws, Observations, Mottos and Philosophies