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Murphy's Law


Also 'Sod's Law'. The correct, original Murphy's Law reads: 'If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.' The term originated with Edward A. Murphy, Jr., who was one of the engineers on the rocket-sled experiments, undertaken by the US Air Force in 1949 to test human acceleration tolerances. One experiment involved a set of 16 accelerometers mounted to different parts of the subject's body. There were two ways each sensor could be glued to its mount, and somebody methodically affixed all 16 the wrong way around. Murphy then made the original form of his pronouncement, which the test subject quoted at a news conference a few days later. Within months 'Murphy's Law' had spread to various technical cultures connected to aerospace engineering. Before too many years had gone by variants had passed into the popular imagination, changing as they went. Most of these are variants on 'Anything that can go wrong, will.' which is sometimes referred to as Finagle's Law.

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