Edsel G. Murphy was the one who recognised that If anything can go wrong, it will.
Well perhaps Murphy did not really exist at all, we don't know for sure. But his Law exists and we all know it's very real. Murphy was not the only wise guy who phrased things in his struggle to explain the unexplainabel. There are books about Murphy's and other people's Law-finding exercises. Me too, I collect such things and I would like to give you my findings.
The Sinatra Simplification
(Or How Things Will Get Screwed With Time)
To be is to do (Seneca)
To be or not to be (Shakespeare)
To do is to be (Sartre)
Do be do be do (Sinatra)
The Fan Principle
When the shit hits the fan, it hits it hard.
When it hits the fan slowly, there will be more smear.
The Carr Theorem
To use a more technical expression: It's fucked up.
Chris' Corollary to the Carr Theorem:
A nice fuck-up is still a fuck-up.
The Gates Philosophy
The Earth is flat and My $oftware™ flawless.
The First Principle of Multimedia
What is Multimedia?
Multimedia is when Window$™ crashes with a very loud noise.
Henne's 6 Phases of Systems Engineering
or the "Why Couldn't We Make It Work Principle
"Why, what a wonderful idea..."
"Couldn't it be there's a simpler way to...?"
- Sobering up
"We have to look at this a bit closer..."
- Quest for the Guilty
"Make room, we have to see more clearly..."
- Prosecution of the Innocent
"It looks you've got a blot in your copybook..."
- Decoration of all Uninvolved
"Work's been done, let's move on"
I n the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards
commemorate individuals who protect our gene
pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives.
Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an
extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our
species' chances of long-term survival.
Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed
by a Coke machine which toppeld over on top of
him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it.
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smouldering metal embedded into the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the side of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. The police lab finally figured out what it was and what had happened.
It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a JATO unit (Jet Assisted Take Off - actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for taking off from short airfields. He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight strech of road. Then he attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO!
The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the prominent scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds. The driver, soon to be pilot, most likely would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburns, basically causing him to become insignificant for the remainder of the event. However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20) seconds before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tyres and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.
Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable; however, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
Ironically, a still-legible bumper sticker was found, reading "How do you like my driving? Dial 1-800-EAT-CRAP."
Note: this story is widely held to be apocryphal.
I have heard and seen this story in several places, also on the internet. The original © Copyright of this item lies at Darwinawards.com
One day, after I logged in to my e-mail account, I discovered that new mail was waiting for me in my mail box
. The lengthy message was prefaced by the heading:
Upon scanning this returned letter, I discovered that it had not been written by me at all, and that the intended recipient and sender were thousands of miles away, apparently the unfortunate victims of a random mailer screw-up. The first sentence of that letter, though, I will always remember:
"My dearest Janice:"
"At last, we have a method of non-verbal communication which is completely private... "
You might think you know these silly product lables, we see them
every day. But have you ever read the small print? It's all there ...
- On a Taiwanese blanket:
NOT TO BE USED AS PROTECTION FROM A TORNADO.
- On a Taiwanese shampoo:
USE REPEATEDLY FOR SEVERE DAMAGE.
- On a Korean kitchen knife:
WARNING: KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN.
- On a helmet mounted mirror used by US cyclists:
REMEMBER, OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE ACTUALLY BEHIND YOU.
- On the bottle-top of a (UK) flavoured milk drink:
AFTER OPENING, KEEP UPRIGHT.
- On a New Zealand insect spray:
THIS PRODUCT NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS.
- In a US guide to setting up a new computer:
TO AVOID CONDENSATION FORMING, ALLOW THE BOXES TO WARM UP TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE OPENING. ( - Sensible, but the instruction was INSIDE the box.)
- On a Japanese product used to relieve painful haemorrhoids:
LIE DOWN ON BED AND INSERT POSCOOL SLOWLY UP TO THE PROJECTED PORTION LIKE A SWORD-GUARD INTO ANAL DUCT. WHILE INSERTING POSCOOL FOR APPROXIMATELY 5 MINUTES, KEEP QUIET.
- In some countries, on the bottom of Coke bottles:
OPEN OTHER END.
- On a packet of Sunmaid raisins:
WHY NOT TRY TOSSING OVER YOUR FAVOURITE BREAKFAST CEREAL?
- On a Sears hairdryer:
DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING.
- On a bag of Fritos:
YOU COULD BE A WINNER! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. DETAILS INSIDE. (The special for shop lifters)
- On a bar of Dial soap:
DIRECTIONS - USE LIKE REGULAR SOAP. ( ... and that would be how?)
- On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert:
DO NOT TURN UPSIDE DOWN. ( ... printed on bottom of the box)
- On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
PRODUCT WILL BE HOT AFTER HEATING.
- On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights:
FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE ONLY.
- On a Japanese food processor:
NOT TO BE USED FOR THE OTHER USE.
- On Sainsbury's peanuts:
WARNING - CONTAINS NUTS.
- On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
INSTRUCTIONS - OPEN PACKET, EAT NUTS.
- On a Swedish chainsaw:
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO STOP CHAIN WITH YOUR HANDS OR GENITALS.
- On a child's superman costume:
WEARING OF THIS GARMENT DOES NOT ENABLE YOU TO FLY.
- On some Swann frozen dinners:
SERVING SUGGESTION: DEFROST. (But it's just a suggestion!)
- On a hotel provided shower cap in a box:
FITS ONE HEAD. (Whose? mine or thine?)
- On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
DO NOT IRON CLOTHES ON BODY. (But wouldn't that save more time?)
- On Boot's Children's cough medicine:
DO NOT DRIVE CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY. (We could do a lot to reduce the construction accidents if we just kept those 5 year olds off those fork lifts.)
- On Nytol sleep aid:
WARNING: MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS. (One would hope!)
The best one last! Not really a product label, I know. But still, just imagine
To me, this looks real enough.
An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field.
University of Copenhagen, Physics Department. Final Exams for Master Degree, the year is 1909. One of the questions asked went like this:
4. Describe how to determine the height of a high rise building with the aid of a barometer.
One student replied:
"You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, lower the barometer from the roof of the high rise building to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will determine the height of the building."
This highly original answer so incensed the examiners that the student was failed immediately. He appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but, however, did not display any noticeable proficiency in physics.
To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in again and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics. For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in deep thought.
The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which one to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:
"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the highriser, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer.
"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.
"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sq root(l / g).
"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.
"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building. But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."
The student was Niels Bohr, the only Dane so far to win the Nobel prize for Physics.