Volume 16, Number 25
April 20, 2010

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This Week

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nazlý çelebiOne of the most unfortunate ways to spend your vacation is probably in bed, being sick. When you have a terrible throat ache it is hard to sleep, and I suppose now you can do the math: I couldn't even sleep the only time my obligation was to do nothing but sleep. Now that the vacation is over, and with the right dosage of my medicine, I feel better and sleep very well. Such a typical “Murphy's Law” situation! Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

For those who are not aware of this particular rule, here is a decent definition: Murphy's Law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” “It is used as either a purely sarcastic musing that things always go wrong, or, less frequently, a reflection of the mathematical idea that, given a sufficient length of time, an event which is possible (non-zero probability) will almost surely take place. Although, in this case, emphasis is put on possible negative occurrences.”

Although the idea hidden in Murphy's Law sounds pessimistic, sometimes it really fits the situation, such as cases like mine. When you have free time to do whatever you want, you will probably catch a cold and have to rest in bed. Or when you have an emergency deadline for the paper you are not inspired at all to write.

You can run but you cannot hide from these rules. Without believing them religiously, they can make you smile and make you understand the situation you are in. Here are some of quotes on this topic. Anything familiar?

1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.
2. Everything takes longer than you think.
3. 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. Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.
4. If anything simply cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
5. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
6. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
7. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
8. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
9. Mother Nature is a bitch.
10. It is impossible to make anything foolproof, because fools are so ingenious.
11. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
12. Every solution breeds new problems.

By Nazlý Çelebi (ECON/IV)

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