Anthony's Law of Force
Don't force it, get a bigger hammer.
Barber's Laws of Backpacking
1. The integral of the gravitational potential taken around any loop
train you choose to hike always comes out positive.
2. Any stone in your boot always migrates against the pressure
gradient to exactly the point of most pressure.
3. The weight of your pack increases in direct proportion to the
amount of food you consume from it. If you run out of food, the
pack weight goes on increasing anyway.
4. The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the
number of hours you have been on the trail.
5. The difficulty of finding any given trail marker is directly
proportional to the importance of the consequences of failing to
6. The size of each of the stones in your boot is directly propor-
tional to the number of hours you have been on the trail.
7. The remaining distance to your chosen campsite remains constant as
8. The net weight of your boots is proportional to the cube of the
number of hours you have been on the trail.
9. When you arrive at your chosen campsite, it is full.
10. If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.
11. The local density of mosquitoes is inversely proportional to your
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Canada Bill Jones' Motto
It's morally wrong to allow suckers to keep their money.
Canada Bill Jones' Supplement
A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.
Clarke's Third Law
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Ever since the first scientific experiment, man has been plagued by the
increasing antagonism of nature. It seems only right that nature should
be logical and neat, but experience has shown that this is not the case.
A further series of rules has been formulated, designed to help man accept
the pigheadedness of nature.
Rule 1 To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you
Rule 2 Always keep a record of data. It indicates that you've been
Rule 3 Always draw your curves, then plot the reading.
Rule 4 In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
Rule 5 Experiments should be reproducible. They should all fail in
the same way.
Rule 6 Do not believe in miracles. Rely on them.
Murphy's Fourth Law
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.
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.
1 You can't win.
2 You can't break even.
3 You can't quit the game.
The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of
statements understood by the general public.
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature,
volume, humidity and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well
Gilb's Laws of Unreliability
1 Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
Corollary: At the source of every error which is blamed on the
computer you will find at least two human errors, including the
error of blaming it on the computer.
2 Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
3 The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a
system, is that the fool attacks unpredictable and on a broader
4 Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to dectable
errors, which by definition are limited.
5 Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the
probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some
The first myth of management is that it exists.
Hoare's Law of Large Programs
Inside every large program is a small one struggling to get out.
The organisation of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank ...
the really big chunks always rise to the top.
Iron Law of Distribution
Them what has - gets.
When your opponent is down, kick him.
John's Collateral Corollary
In order to get a loan, you must first prove that you don't need it.
Toothaches tend to start on Saturday night.
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can
blame it on.
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
Pure drivel tends to drive out ordinary drivel.
Laws of Computer Programming
1 Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
2 Any given program costs more and takes longer.
3 If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
4 If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
5 Any given program will expand to fill available memory.
6 The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
7 Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the
programmer who must maintain it.
8 Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English, and
you will find that programmers cannot write in English.
Law of Selective Gravitation
Any dropped object will fall so as to do the most damage.
(Also known as the "Buttered-Side Down" principle)
Law of the Perversity of Nature
You cannot successfully determine beforehand which side of the bread to
If it jams - force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
Dean Martin's Definition of Drunkenness
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
There's never enough time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
Murphy's Third Law
In any field of scientific endeavout, anything that can go wrong will.
Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics
Things get worse under pressure.
90-90 Rule of Scheduling
The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, and
the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.
Variables won't. Constants aren't.
O'Tooles's Commentary on Murphy
"He was an optimist."
The solution to a problem changes the problem.
An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.
Anything that begins well ends badly.
Anything that begins badly ends worse.
Rule of Accuracy
When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps to know the
It works better if you plug it in.
The chief cause of problems is solutions.
1 Given a problem containing n equations, there will be n+1 unknowns.
2 An object or bit of information most needed will be least available.
3 Any device requiring service or adjustment will be least accessible.
4 Interchangeable devices won't.
5 In any human endeavour, once you have exhausted all possibilities
and fail, there will be one solution, simple and obvious, and highly
visible to everyone else.
6 Badness comes in waves.
Build a system that a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.
If builders built building the way programmers write programs, the first
woodpecker that came along would destroy civilisation.
An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the