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Saturday, October 09, 2004

Murphy's Law Formula: Proof the world really is against you

    Posted by Reena Ganga

For most of us, it's practically a fact of life that bread always falls buttered side down and the traffic's always worse when you're running late for work. But now, scientist have come up with a mathematical formula proving that anything that can go wrong, really will go wrong.

A panel of experts commissioned by British Gas has come up with a statistical rule for predicting Murphy's Law.

Scientists tested 1000 people before arriving at the formula that they believe allows people to calculate the chances of Murphy's Law striking, and then try and beat the bad luck.

The factors that are taken into account when making the calculation, are: the urgency of what you're doing; the complexity of the task; its importance; your skill in it; the frequency with which you do it; and the amount of aggravation you're suffering.

The project's psychologist says that to reduce your chances of being struck by Murphy's Law, you need to change one of the elements in the equation.

For anyone interested in trying it out, here's the equation:

((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10))

And the instructions can be found here.

I'd be interested to hear your results. I'd particularly like to know if anyone can apply the formula to the US election and tell me if Murphy's Law will strike George Dubya Bush.

And lastly, here's an interesting conundrum I've been puzzling over: Can Murphy's Law strike itself? If so, would it then, like a double negative, cancel itself out such that everything that can go right, will go right?

Source: AAP

Update: The formula failed to accurately predict the outcome of the Australian election.

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