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Guru

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Dunstable, England
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06/05/2008 9:22 AM

Come on, we've all had that certain moment when the project is going fine, the timescales are just right, everything is great...

Then a Gremlin gets into the works - whether its rebuilding a car engine and finding a few important internal bits left over or building a bridge for the Millennium and finding out afterwards that it can't be used as it wobbles too much!!

Maybe this video will remind you of such occasions and let you tell us about them...

How real is sod's (or Murphy's) law? I know that when a cost a project I allow for 'contingencies' i.e. sod's law!!!

John.

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Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
#1

### Re: Is Sod's law real? Let's hear Your Experiences!!

06/05/2008 10:29 AM

Definitely.

Simple experiment....

Try and pick up a dangling power cord....It will snag on every available object.
Next ..using a powercord, try to snag the object of your choice...it's impossible

QED

Del.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2008
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#2

06/05/2008 4:26 PM

Here's the "proof"...
http://www.null-hypothesis.co.uk/science/spoof/articles/sods_law_mathematical_proof_humour

How to calculate the Sod's Law Rating of a task:

1. Rate the urgency, importance and complexity of the task on a scale of 1 to 9 and add these figures together.
2. Rate how skilled you are at the task. Subtract this from 10.
3. Multiply your answers to steps 1 and 2 together and divide by 20.
4. Rate from 1 to 9 how frequently you perform the task and divide this by 10.
5. Calculate the sine value of your answer to step 4 (you'll find this a 'sin' on most calculators) and subtract this from 1.
7. Finally, multiply your answer to step 3 by 0.7, and then multiply this by your answer to step 6. Voila - you have your Sod's Law rating.
Guru

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Geelong, Australia
Posts: 1084
#3

06/05/2008 10:46 PM

I believe the pioneering early work by SOD was generalised into the current form by MURPHY. However its predictive power is remains undisputed.

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Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Columbia City, Indiana, USA
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#4

06/05/2008 11:55 PM

Oh God !!! (said with all due reverence)

THIS thread ought to be interesting

SOD's Law ... Murphy's Law ... never a more true 'law' has ever been established, and in most cases it's not a matter of IF it will go wrong, but WHEN and HOW it will happen.

I am intrigued by the comment ...

I know that when a cost a project I allow for 'contingencies' i.e. sod's law!!!

How in the world can you do that? To PLAN for all contingencies would stretch the budget of 10X the original, and the schedule to infinity (and beyond ).

For me, and even then it only happens rarely, I try to assess the liability, effects, expense, and ramifications of 'failures', but even then, it doesn't stop the 'unplanned' events from happening.

Almost everything I build is very cost and TIM (time to market) sensitive, and I KNOW that it is always less expensive and faster to 'do it right instead of do it over', but this rarely gets translated (in my case, literally) into actions. 99.9% of all discoveries are 'fixed on the fly', which may have some benefit, but it's the 0.1% that scares me, for those are the ones that get shipped, sometimes all the way to the end user, before some FUBAR issue is discovered. Then it's ME who is suddenly 'lower than pond scum'.

(if you haven't gathered, I usually only 'hear' of problems when it reaches DEFCON 5, so my life is like watching re-runs of the evening news where the key-hole view of the world is only tragedy.)

My most used phrase, often following a firm slap of the palm against my forehead, is, "what the hell were you thinking?"

If you can find a true solution to Sod's or Murphy's Laws, you will RULE THE WORLD ... planes and space shuttles will never crash, bridges will never fall, buildings will never collapse ... and my products will ship flawlessly, on schedule, and under budget.

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Commentator

Join Date: Apr 2006
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#5

06/06/2008 3:20 AM

Sod's law denotes that when you drop a slice of toast accidentally it will always land butter side down, I have found a remedy. Purchase a Rhodesian Ridgeback then drop the toast I guarantee it will go into the dog seconds before hitting the floor, my camera however is too slow to distinguish which way up it is as it touiches the tongue

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#6

06/06/2008 3:58 AM

LOL

Very Lucky Dog ... of course the dog would just as easily take it buttered-side-down from the ground as well as in mid-air ... assuming they were having an 'off day'

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#14

06/07/2008 10:27 PM

Hello exemmet:,

from your extensive tests, which way does toast land (excluding the Ridgeback) if you don't butter it? On its edge?

jfmfit

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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
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#15

06/08/2008 4:30 AM

There is the story of the statistician who noticed that when his kids dropped their toast it ALWAYS landed butter side UP .

So he investigated and found that the kids were buttering both sides

Del

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#16

06/08/2008 9:25 PM

Buttered toast always lands on the buttered side. Cats always land on their feet. What would happen if you buttered the back of a cat and dropped it?

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#17

06/09/2008 3:35 AM

... away to the lab for some experimentation

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#13

06/07/2008 9:04 PM

I always assumed that this was the purpose of statistics; to define the likely potential of an error. But then I realize all these errors are additive factors failure factors.

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#7

06/06/2008 8:44 AM

As previously mentioned both Sod and Murphy have similar views. Both were optimists

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Commentator

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#8

06/06/2008 9:17 AM

No No No, Sod and Murphy were both pessimists I have seen them look both ways when crossing a one way street, and to prove the law they both tripped over the kerb

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#9

06/06/2008 9:38 AM

PMSL LOL

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#10

06/06/2008 6:58 PM

It has been my experience, when you think everything covered and nothing can go wrong ,the light you see at the end of the tunnel when nearing the end of the project, is usually attached to a locomotive!

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#11

06/07/2008 5:01 PM

The only thing I can think of to counter Murphy's Law is the Montgomery Scott Fudge Factor. Whenever Capt. Kirk asked his engineer how long it would take to fix whatever critical system they needed to use to get out of whatever fix they were in, Scotty always added more time to the estimate than what he knew he needed. Thus Scotty often appeared to be a miracle worker.

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I wonder..... Would Schrödinger's cat play with a ball of string theory?
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#12

06/07/2008 5:19 PM

Surely standard practice?

Miracles I can do in a day...the impossible generally needs 2 days .

Del

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