Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 95

Thread: Universal Laws that Defy Science

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    12,185

    Universal Laws that Defy Science

    The though struck me for a thread on this. Things like "Murphy's Law" that, if we're realistic, we know aren't real, but that every experience seems to prove otherwise.

    The reason I bring it up is because of this Universal Law: Fazor's Law of Interruption.
    This manifests itself in two ways, on a consistent basis, at my place of work. It's usually pretty slow here, in we don't get that many phone calls and walk-ins on a typical day. Some days we're swamped all day. But most we're not.

    But it seems the slower the day, the more this law applies. The first way, and the one that spawned this thread, is that I often have Pandora on when I'm at work (it's internet radio for those not familiar). Any time one of my favorite, have-to-sing-along songs comes on, no matter how slow the rest of the day is, someone calls or walks through the door. Or, if I turn the music down so it can't be heard when someone comes in, inevitably I'll find one of my favorite songs in the play-history when I go to turn it back up. (My music isn't the most office-appropriate, which is why I turn it down when people come in. Not obscene, just most clients don't share my love for Alice in Chains.

    The second manifestation of this is, again, the phone can be silent all day. The minute I get up to go make my sandwich or put a pot of coffee on, it rings. It's maddening the way that works.

    Okay so the obvious explanation is that wrt the music, I just don't remember all the times good songs play and I don't miss them as poignantly as I do the times I miss them; and that I would tend to eat around lunch time--the same time other people are on lunch breaks and have a moment to call their insurance agent. But rational is no fun, so I'm sticking with my magic rule where the cosmos is stepping in and making people interrupt my food and music.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    11,545
    A twofer!

    Jay's Law: You can't lower the bar just because you can't figure out how your hypothesis is supposed to clear it

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Clear Lake City, TX
    Posts
    12,973
    Things like "Murphy's Law" that ... we know aren't real...

    Never, never, never say this within earshot of an engineer!
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
    Isaac Asimov

    You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.
    Doctor Who

    Moderation will be in purple.
    Rules for Posting to This Board

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,467

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    12,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Things like "Murphy's Law" that ... we know aren't real...

    Never, never, never say this within earshot of an engineer!
    Thanks, now I have to say that to every engineer I ever converse with. That's just me, baby. I'm a rebel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    11,545
    Cole's Law: No matter how you slice it, it still smells.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    12,185
    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    Cole's Law: No matter how you slice it, it still smells.
    Oh come on man, that joke stinks.

    Which brings me to Fazor's Law of BAUTulism. It's a take on Godwin's Law. As a BAUT thread's post-count increases, the chances of a pun approach 1.

    Edit: Changed name of the law. Like this one better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    4,467
    Quote Originally Posted by hhEb09'1 View Post
    Cole's Law: No matter how you slice it, it still smells.
    That is definitely against Ape Law!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3,201
    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    ... "Murphy's Law" that, if we're realistic, we know aren't real, but that every experience seems to prove otherwise. ...
    Simple minds often reduce Murphy's Law from a description of the "remnant risk" to a total misrepresentation as "everything always goes wrong." Don't even bother trying to explain it to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    ... this Universal Law: Fazor's Law of Interruption. ...
    Oh yes, a law I'm well acquainted with.

    I won't have a call for about 90 minutes and will have finally been able to work through to the complicated bits of whatever it is I have on the desk, and not only will a call come in at that moment, but during that call one or two more will knock in the background. When the first call is finished and I call one of the others back, further calls will knock in on that call. This will cascade for a while and then it's back to a silent phone.

    Or, when I finally find time from my own work to explain some difficult bits to one of my employees and discuss them with him, the phone will ring off the hook - exactly 90 seconds after I start speaking with the employee.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    12,185
    Thank you Kleindoofy. It's reassuring to know that it's not just me. I mean, my phone calls and walk-ins will be non-existant for three hours, but the second I get up to get food, or a good song comes on, there they are. Every time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    5,607

    Talking

    *LOL*

    A couple of days ago,
    i have 3 phones, my personal mobile my works mobile and my land-line. I hadn't had 1 call all day, which is very unusual for me since i run my own business, just as i sat down for dinner. Guess what all three of them rang almost simultaneously!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    2,644
    Fazor, mothers experience a very similar law. I can be on inivisible to my three little...angels, for hours at a time. Any attempt at a conversation is quickly smacked down by single word answers. The very second I enter my bathroom, answer the phone, or put headphones on, a fight erupts between any two of them.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    11,545
    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Which brings me to Fazor's Law of BAUTulism. It's a take on Godwin's Law. As a BAUT thread's post-count increases, the chances of a pun approach 1.

    Edit: Changed name of the law. Like this one better.
    What? was the first one Spaminella?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    16,589
    I've noticed that my dad tends to call at really annoying moments. Be it when there's a good song on the radio or when my dog has made a huge mess that I'm struggling to clean up, he tends to call at the moment it is least convenient.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    4,181
    Sturgeon's Law seems to apply to an awful lot of things (and it might be an emergent principle of the universe).

    A watched pot never boils--admit it--do you REALLY have a counterexample?

    Everything you search hard for is found in the last place you look. Oh, wait a minute.

    The slot machine pays off for the next customer after you give up.

    Time is dilated when you sit on a hot stove relative to sitting with a pretty girl.

    Dryers send one of a pair of socks to some unknown dimension, while invariably sparing the other of the pair.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    18,442
    Quote Originally Posted by tdvance View Post
    A watched pot never boils--admit it--do you REALLY have a counterexample?
    Sure, just requires patience.

    Quote Originally Posted by tdvance View Post
    Everything you search hard for is found in the last place you look. Oh, wait a minute.
    Duh. How often do you keep searching once you found the thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by tdvance View Post
    Dryers send one of a pair of socks to some unknown dimension, while invariably sparing the other of the pair.
    Well, it's by having one sock you know it happened.
    If both get lost you don't really notice unless you know all your socks.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    6,058
    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    Oh come on man, that joke stinks.

    Which brings me to Fazor's Law of BAUTulism. It's a take on Godwin's Law. As a BAUT thread's post-count increases, the chances of a pun approach 1.

    Edit: Changed name of the law. Like this one better.
    Technically, Fazor's Law of Interruption is simply a correlary of Murphy's Law.

    Consider it a Murphy's Law of the Office, sort of like how If it is Stupid, But it Works, It isnt Stupid, is a Murphy's Law of Combat

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    of Greatest Eclipse, Aug. 21 2017 (Kentucky, USA)
    Posts
    4,552
    Quote Originally Posted by closetgeek View Post
    Fazor, mothers experience a very similar law. I can be on inivisible to my three little...angels, for hours at a time. Any attempt at a conversation is quickly smacked down by single word answers. The very second I enter my bathroom, answer the phone, or put headphones on, a fight erupts between any two of them.
    That law doesn't ever end, either. I was visiting my parents in September, and my father had to deal with issues from me and each of my two sisters (one of whom lives a few states away) within about six hours.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    6,275
    I like Tyler's Law: any software development project will take twice as long as the original estimate, even if you take into account Tyler's Law.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2,617
    Fazor's Law of Interuption is real. Congratulations for pinning down this universal phenomenum and naming it.
    With me, it happens while driving. When I have left early and am not in a rush, the streets are sparsely occupied and no problem. When I'm running late or am in an unprepared hurry for some reason, cars pull in front of me; trucks appear from nowhere to block me; and pedestrians come out of curbs to cross the street in front of me.
    Yeah, it's real.
    Last edited by Salty; 2009-Feb-04 at 03:08 AM. Reason: change 'now' to 'no'

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    6,196
    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post

    The reason I bring it up is because of this Universal Law: Fazor's Law of Interruption.
    I've often wondered who's law that was. I'm glad I finally got to meet you.

    For me, it most often manifests itself when:

    1 I've been waiting for an important phone call all day.

    2 I've put off going to the bathroom, because I'm waiting for the call.

    3 I finally can't put it off any longer, so I go.

    4 The call comes in during the minute or two I'm in the bathroom. I call right back, but the person who called me has gone for the day, or for a year, or he just left on a slow boat to China.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,208
    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    The reason I bring it up is because of this Universal Law: Fazor's Law of Interruption.
    I've found it's not universal. I had similar problems at work. But all those interuptions have gone away, since I was laid off.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    277
    The Spare Parts Principle: small items such as nuts and bolts, which are accidentally dropped while working on automobiles, will bounce and roll until coming to rest underneath the exact center of the vehicle.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    4,813
    Jagger-Richards Law: You can't always get what you want.

    Celestial Mechanic's Corollary: You don't always want what you get.

    I know that I chide wannabes for naming their scientific theories after themselves, but these are all humorous "laws" (although based on real-life experiences), so I am not violating the canons of science in doing this.

    Paraphrasing Mick and Keith: "You don't always want what you get. And you'll find most times, you get what you deserve."

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    18,442
    Quote Originally Posted by Donnie B. View Post
    I like Tyler's Law: any software development project will take twice as long as the original estimate, even if you take into account Tyler's Law.
    That's a specific application of Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account.

    For software projects I like Brooks's Law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    location
    Posts
    12,410
    Here's one I've heard of referred to as Stuart's Law of Retroaction: It's easier to get forgiveness than permission.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    12,235
    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Here's one I've heard of referred to as Stuart's Law of Retroaction: It's easier to get forgiveness than permission.
    That's another one simple minds have fun with.
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    771
    oh dear, I recognise I am frequently recoursing to Stuart's Law, a fine piece of legislation.
    Isn't it time Fazor's Law had a Wikipaedia entry?

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    4,778
    Well I don't know about other engineers, but there are some things that you can count on at least one happening whenever there's a big release, demo or otherwise important milestone in a software project happening the next day:

    - the server that stores the checked-in code goes down,
    - the main engineer who had just been doing a few last-minute fixes's harddisk breaks,
    - or the power goes out for the entire building, causing all of the above.

    Extra points for it happening 10 minutes before the demo. The likelihood also rises with amount of changed code before checkin and duration of time it takes to check out again (~2 hours here).




    PS: Brooks Law is actually scientifically provable, or at least statistically provable. The time it takes for the experienced engineers to teach new people is just disproportional to the benefit more engineers give.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    12,185
    Quote Originally Posted by Tensor View Post
    I've found it's not universal. I had similar problems at work. But all those interuptions have gone away, since I was laid off.
    Ah, but for me it continues even at home where no job is in the equation. My g/f works as a server, at the end of the work-day. Sometimes she is just a "regular" shift, meaning as soon as it slows down she gets to leave. Sometimes she's a "closer" meaning she has to stay until the doors are locked. Regardless, she's also stuck until her last table leaves, which can be before closing or well after.

    The point is, you never know when she'll be home. So I devised a cunning strategy to get her home when I want her; just start doing something like playing a video game or recording a song on guitar. As soon as I'm busy, she'll call and say she's on her way home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gandalf223 View Post
    The Spare Parts Principle: small items such as nuts and bolts, which are accidentally dropped while working on automobiles, will bounce and roll until coming to rest underneath the exact center of the vehicle.
    Ah, very good one! Though you can expand it to the Dropped Parts Principle. Doesn't have to be while working on a car; I've often been annoyed by how a dropped item will land and bounce/roll to the worst place possible. Size relative to nook or cranny doesn't seem to matter, so long as the object is just barely able to fit but only if it falls at some one-in-a-million orientation to said nook or cranny.

    A good real-life example is our fax machine at work. It sits atop a horizontal filing cabinet. Unfortunately the top isn't deep enough to fit the machine and the papers it feeds out very well. Often, if there's more than one page feeding through, the one feeding out will push any of it's predisessors off the cabinent. They'll glide to the floor like a paper airplane. I've observed that about one-in-three of these will "roll" back towards the cabinet and actually slide right into the crack between a drawer.

    For a long time we couldn't figure out where some of the pages we faxed were going. Then we opened to drawer to put something away (it's an "archive" file so doesn't get used often) and found almost a dozen random pages that had found their way in.

Similar Threads

  1. Some things just defy description...
    By Ilya in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: 2009-Mar-01, 08:09 PM
  2. New Observations of Procyon Defy Expectations
    By Fraser in forum Universe Today
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2005-Sep-09, 04:05 PM
  3. Saturn's auroras defy scientists' expectations
    By Kullat Nunu in forum Astronomy
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 2005-Feb-19, 09:21 PM
  4. The Universal Laws of Gravity and Repulsion
    By Grant in forum Against the Mainstream
    Replies: 135
    Last Post: 2004-Oct-31, 07:55 PM
  5. Discussion: New Observations Of Procyon Defy ...
    By Fraser in forum Universe Today
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 2004-Oct-15, 03:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •