Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?

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Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« on: 15/06/2010 10:30:59 »
In case "Murphy's Law" is strictly an American aphorism, it basically states "Anything that can possibly go wrong, does."

 I got to thinking it really comes down to probability theory doesn't it? You take a system, no matter how complex or simple and you have a list of things that can go wrong with that system, and the likelihood that any item on the list will actually happen. So what would Murphy's Law look like mathematically?

Also, do you call this "Murphy's Law" in England, or something else (surely you have SOMETHING like it in England. You have politicians so things must go wrong in England too)
« Last Edit: 18/06/2010 22:38:54 by chris »
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Offline Leisurely

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2010 11:00:46 »
Eric, this my first day looking into asking questions on this site, and being totally unskilled with computers, I need some help in steps to take.
I am an aged Pensioner in Oz - just found out about "open forums" which is what this site is.(Yes?????????.Nooooooooo????????????). Can you send me a few tips as to what to do.

If you don't mind my saying "Murphy's Law" was that nebulous void between what a woman instructed, and what a male actually did. You might note that there once was a race horse in Queensland call Murphy's Law, and despite it coming stone motherless last in every race it entered, it attracted the only mathematics that a true Murphy could understand. Yes - the bookie odds.

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Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #2 on: 15/06/2010 11:44:17 »
Hi Leisurely, Welcome to the forum.
Eric,
Not only do we have Murphy's law on this side of the pond, we have Fitzpatrick's observation.
"Murphy was an optimist".
There are a few other points,
Anything that cannot go wrong will still go wrong (ask the Titanic).
Not only will everything go wrong, it ill go wrong in the worst possible order.

Murphy's law is sometimes called Sod's law too.
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Offline LeeE

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #3 on: 15/06/2010 14:53:37 »
I rather like the Tucker's Law variation (from 'The Thick of it') of Murphy's Law, because it adds cause to the basic law.  It's included in the section in the link below, but don't read it if you are offended by swearing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy's_Law#Other_variations_on_Murphy.27s_law

Oh, as for expressing it mathematically, howabout:  x ≠ x

In other notations: x != x, x <> x
« Last Edit: 15/06/2010 14:56:17 by LeeE »
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Offline tommya300

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #4 on: 15/06/2010 16:25:50 »
Greetings and solitude, Leisurely!!

Murphy's Laws and Mathematics

http://pleacher.com/handley/humor/murphy.html
« Last Edit: 15/06/2010 16:30:19 by tommya300 »

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Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #5 on: 17/06/2010 08:17:37 »
Eric, this my first day looking into asking questions on this site, and being totally unskilled with computers, I need some help in steps to take.
I am an aged Pensioner in Oz - just found out about "open forums" which is what this site is.(Yes?????????.Nooooooooo????????????). Can you send me a few tips as to what to do.

If you don't mind my saying "Murphy's Law" was that nebulous void between what a woman instructed, and what a male actually did. You might note that there once was a race horse in Queensland call Murphy's Law, and despite it coming stone motherless last in every race it entered, it attracted the only mathematics that a true Murphy could understand. Yes - the bookie odds.

I heard of a race horse called "Hoof Hearted." Now this doesn't seem to bad just reading it, so try saying the name quickly out loud. Probably named by someone's 10 year old boy. I suspect the same in the naming of the Planet Uranus. I'll send you a PM with more instructions.
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Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #6 on: 17/06/2010 08:37:52 »
Murphy sounds suspiciously Irish to me.
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Offline LeeE

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #7 on: 17/06/2010 16:47:46 »
Quote
I heard of a race horse called "Hoof Hearted."

Race horse names are actually vetted for this sort of thing.  I remember hearing an interview with someone who was involved in this work and they recalled one horse who was to be named "Norfolk and Chance".  It was nearly passed and only spotted at the very last moment.
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #8 on: 17/06/2010 22:56:32 »
Quote
I heard of a race horse called "Hoof Hearted."

Race horse names are actually vetted for this sort of thing.  I remember hearing an interview with someone who was involved in this work and they recalled one horse who was to be named "Norfolk and Chance".  It was nearly passed and only spotted at the very last moment.

Looked around because I didn't want to seem ignorant, but I don't get the reference. Found something selling a t-shirt with a street sign. Another site referenced a team caller N&C and that because of their name they lacked confidence...
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Offline imatfaal

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Re: Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #9 on: 18/06/2010 11:17:00 »
Norfolk and chance ≈ No f***ing chance.  say it quickly and in clipped tones like a horse race commentator and you will see
Thereís no sense in being precise when you donít even know what youíre talking about.  John Von Neumann

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Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Can Murphy's Law be expressed mathematically?
« Reply #10 on: 21/06/2010 15:22:12 »
Norfolk and chance ≈ No f***ing chance.  say it quickly and in clipped tones like a horse race commentator and you will see

I'm so stupid. When I was learning to weld I saw a CO2 bottle with "MT" written on the side. I asked the teacher "What's 'MT'? Oh never mind."
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