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Quiz about Nothing Can Be Avoided  Murphys Law
Quiz about Nothing Can Be Avoided  Murphys Law

Nothing Can Be Avoided - Murphy's Law Quiz


"If anything can go wrong, it will". What do you know of this and related pessimistic laws and concepts?

A multiple-choice quiz by looney_tunes. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
looney_tunes
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
361,007
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
1558
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 1 (4/10), Guest 142 (5/10), Robert907 (8/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Many alternative ways of expressing Murphy's Law have been proposed. Which of these is NOT one of them? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. One suggested source of Murphy's Law is a statement made by Edward A. Murphy, an American aerospace engineer, in 1949. Which of these is believed to be his original statement? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Another possible source of the phrase 'Murphy's Law' was suggested by John Glenn in 'Into Orbit' (1962), when he suggested that it came from the name of a fictitious character from what source? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Obviously, the recalcitrant nature of the universe had been observed well before the 20th century, and various epigrams had been formed to summarise it. In the United Kingdom, another older name is still used to describe the fact that toast always lands butter side down, and that the phone will always ring just after you get into the bath. Which of these is it? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The term 'Finagle's Law' was used in the 1940s by John W. Campbell, Jr. in editorials for some issues of 'Astounding Science Fiction' to describe the innate perversity of the things. Which of these variants, also jokingly termed 'The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics', is one version of Finagle's Law? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The concept of Resistentialism (a name chosen as a spoof on Existentialism) was coined by Paul Jennings in 1948, in an article published in 'The Spectator'. What is the English translation of Resistentialism's French slogan, "Les choses sont contre nous"? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law." What is the name of this law, which was originally formulated in Douglas Hofstadter's book 'Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid', a discussion of the ways in which self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In his humorous 'Discworld' novels, Terry Pratchett introduces the concept of malignity, associated with the Auditors of Reality, and gives an example involving garden hoses. According to this example, no matter how carefully you coil and store your garden hose, it will tend to perform which of these actions overnight? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Many professions have developed their own specific versions of Murphy's Law. Which of these might be a variant form of Murphy's Law developed by a high school teacher? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Members of what profession are especially aware of Muphry's Law? Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Apr 08 2024 : Guest 1: 4/10
Apr 08 2024 : Guest 142: 5/10
Mar 22 2024 : Robert907: 8/10
Mar 17 2024 : Guest 184: 6/10
Mar 14 2024 : Guest 173: 4/10
Feb 21 2024 : Guest 217: 3/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Many alternative ways of expressing Murphy's Law have been proposed. Which of these is NOT one of them?

Answer: All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds.

Aphorisms offered as examples of Murphy's Law in practice always place emphasis on the negative, suggesting that disaster lurks around every corner waiting to trap the unwary. Most such observations are based on common experiences, such as the first rain in two months falling the day of the big family picnic, the train that is always two minutes late arriving two minutes early on the only day when you are running late, and so on. Voltaire's novel 'Candide: or, Optimism' had the optimistic Pangloss recite "All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" as a kind of mantra, an intentional parody of Leibniz's optimism, one of many targets for Voltaire's satire in this work.
2. One suggested source of Murphy's Law is a statement made by Edward A. Murphy, an American aerospace engineer, in 1949. Which of these is believed to be his original statement?

Answer: If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it.

Apparently Captain Murphy was less than satisfied with the work of technicians on the experiments in which he was involved at the time, and made this angry statement after it was discovered that a part had been inserted backwards, so failed to work. Actually, it led to a positive outcome, not a negative one. Realising that it is important to eliminate the possibility of such error has led to far more reliable technical setups. Aren't you glad that the plugs you put into your computer will only go in the right way, so you don't have to worry about getting them upside down?
3. Another possible source of the phrase 'Murphy's Law' was suggested by John Glenn in 'Into Orbit' (1962), when he suggested that it came from the name of a fictitious character from what source?

Answer: US Navy educational cartoons

Apparently, Murphy was used to demonstrate how NOT to perform a variety of tasks. Glenn describes the character as "a careless, all-thumbs mechanic who was prone to make such mistakes as installing a propeller backwards." Those who had seen the training films involving Murphy then generalized his incompetence into a universal law to explain how human error is a constant presence to be guarded against.

As is the case with many widely-known phrases, it is hard to determine any one origin, and the existence of multiple explanations for the phrase is one of the reasons why it becomes so widespread.
4. Obviously, the recalcitrant nature of the universe had been observed well before the 20th century, and various epigrams had been formed to summarise it. In the United Kingdom, another older name is still used to describe the fact that toast always lands butter side down, and that the phone will always ring just after you get into the bath. Which of these is it?

Answer: Sod's Law

This name probably comes from the colloquial expression that calls someone who experiences bad luck an 'unlucky sod', but the concept goes beyond mere ill fortune. Sod's Law implies that the universe is acting to thwart the desires of individuals. Not only does it apply to things going wrong, it can also be used in reference to things that perversely go right - carry an umbrella, and it won't rain; wash your car, and the drought-breaking rain will arrive that night.
5. The term 'Finagle's Law' was used in the 1940s by John W. Campbell, Jr. in editorials for some issues of 'Astounding Science Fiction' to describe the innate perversity of the things. Which of these variants, also jokingly termed 'The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics', is one version of Finagle's Law?

Answer: The perversity of the universe tends towards a maximum

Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives, also known as Finagle's Corollary to Murphy's Law, is most often stated as "anything that can go wrong, will - at the worst possible moment." The version used in the question is popular because of its pseudo-scientific nature.

There are, of course, only three laws of thermodynamics, and this wording of Finagle's Law is a parody of the second law (the entropy of a system always increases). Not really part of this law, but of interest, is the existence of Finagle's Constant, which is a term used to describe how to adjust your experimental results to meet theoretical predictions.

Note: this is not officially approved scientific practice, although it runs rampant in school science classrooms.
6. The concept of Resistentialism (a name chosen as a spoof on Existentialism) was coined by Paul Jennings in 1948, in an article published in 'The Spectator'. What is the English translation of Resistentialism's French slogan, "Les choses sont contre nous"?

Answer: Things are against us

Paul Hellwig stated in 'Insomniac's Dictionary' that Resistentialism describes the "seemingly spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects." It's a war between us (humans) and them (inanimate objects). It explains why the photocopier always breaks down when you urgently need something copied five minutes ago, and why car keys are so good at hiding themselves from discovery.

It may even explain the single sock syndrome, in which you can put seven pairs of socks in the laundry, and get back five pairs and two individual socks, whose partners may or may not reappear with some future load of washing.
7. "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law." What is the name of this law, which was originally formulated in Douglas Hofstadter's book 'Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid', a discussion of the ways in which self-reference and formal rules allow systems to acquire meaning?

Answer: Hofstadter's Law

The self-referential nature of Hofstadter's Law is typical of the kinds of wordplay and intellectual games used by Hofstadter in his book. It is stated in reference to the difficulty of estimating the length of time required for any complex task, because of all the possible difficulties that may arise along the way.

This law is a favorite among those who are engaged in lengthy problem-solving activities, whose supervisors are pressuring them for a date by which they can deliver the solution.
8. In his humorous 'Discworld' novels, Terry Pratchett introduces the concept of malignity, associated with the Auditors of Reality, and gives an example involving garden hoses. According to this example, no matter how carefully you coil and store your garden hose, it will tend to perform which of these actions overnight?

Answer: Tie the bicycle to the lawnmower

Terry Pratchett didn't select any of the pedestrian events that might explain what actually happened to your hose overnight, he chose the tendency to engage in ridiculous and nonsensical behavior as an illustration of the way in which inanimate objects tend to oppose human aspirations.

In fact, he developed a set of beings, called the Auditors of Reality, whose job is to make sure the Rules of the universe work properly. They are frustrated by the random behavior of humans, and would like to eliminate them, but are prevented from doing so by the Rules they must enforce. Of course, there is a loophole that lets them use inanimate objects to make things more difficult, and to convince humans to complete actions on their behalf. Now, here is an explanation of the perversity of inanimate objects that makes sense!
9. Many professions have developed their own specific versions of Murphy's Law. Which of these might be a variant form of Murphy's Law developed by a high school teacher?

Answer: Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.

While all of these observations might have been made by a high school teacher (and undoubtedly have been, many times), the others are not actually related to Murphy's Law, in that nothing is going wrong. Teachers have also been known to make the following pessimistic observations:
The time a teacher takes in explaining a topic is inversely proportional to the information retained by students.
The problem child will be a fellow teacher's son.
10. Members of what profession are especially aware of Muphry's Law?

Answer: Editing and proofreading

Muphry's Law, an intentional mis-typing of Murphy's Law, was first stated by John Bangsun in 1992, in the newsletter of the Society of Editors (Victoria, Australia). The first two (and most widely applicable) parts to the law state:
a) if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written;
b) if an author thanks you in a book for your editing or proofreading, there will be mistakes in the book.

As a corollary, he states that any really obvious mistake will be seen by everyone except the proofreader, and the more blatant it is, the more likely it is to have been overlooked. As an editor here at FunTrivia, I have often had Muphry's Law brought to my attention.
Source: Author looney_tunes

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor LadyCaitriona before going online.
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