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Murphy's Law -- by the numbers

What can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time.

So says Murphy's Law.

Now, it's been found to have a mathematical basis, as reported in Australia.

Plug in your factors to ((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10)) and you'll see for yourself.

In the calculation, five factors have to be assessed: urgency (U), complexity (C), importance (I), skill (S) and frequency (F) and each given a score between one and nine. A sixth, aggravation (A), was set at 0.7 by the experts after their poll.

The equation has seven steps to forecasting a potential Murphy's Law moment, so you can work out which factors you need to change to avoid it:

1. Rate the urgency, importance and complexity on a scale of one to nine and add the three figures together

2. Rate from one to nine how skilled you are at the task, then subtract this from 10

3. Multiply answers to 1 and 2 and divide by 20

4. Rate from one to nine how frequently you perform the task and divide this by 10

5. Rate the sine (or sin) of your answer to step 4 and subtract this from 1

6. Divide 1 by your answer to step 5

7. Multiply your answer to step 3 by 0.7 and multiply this by your answer to step 6, and that's your Sod's Law rating. The closer to 10 it is, the higher your risk of falling victim.

The original work is reported to be for British Gas, so it's a case of Murphy again that the story seems to have surfaced in Australia.


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