Sods law

by endlesspsych

I intended to have the Autism and fiction post up today but the research is taking longer then expected (a lot longer) so here’sa¬† brief musing about sods law for now…

For those who are unawares Sods law basically states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” The phrase it at least 168 years old and the following passage is thought to be a precursor to the modern phrase from a newspaper in Norwalk, Ohio:

I never had a slice of bread,
Particularly large and wide,
That did not fall upon the floor,
And always on the buttered side

The modern phrase comes from a mountaneering book by the pleasingly named Jack Sack (at least according to wikipedia and taking info from there uncritically will probably lead to invoking Sods law…).

There was an experiment on Q.E.D. in 1993 involving sods law and toast. essentially some physicists and statisicians created an experiment (with numerous permutations of throwing buttered bread into the air and seeing where it landed – your tax dollars pounds at work eh! – butter side up (confounding sods law) or down (confirming sods law)

Some other physicist has written a paper that challenges their work, their a laugh a minute bunch physicists aren’t they?

An extract is below…

There’s a widespread suspicion among the public that toast sliding off a plate or table has a natural tendency to land butter side down, thus providing prima facie evidence for Murphy’s Law: “If something can go wrong, it will”. Most scientists, in contrast, dismiss such belief as ludicrous. Indeed, an investigation by the BBC-TV science programme Q.E.D. in 1993 claimed to have proved definitively that the whole notion was nothing but an urban myth. However, as I show in the paper, the experiments carried out by the programme were dynamically inappropriate (in that they consisted of people simply tossing buttered bread into the air – hardly common practice around the breakfast table).

Ok, so he says its a flawed experiment because the experiments are dynamically inappropriate and that when you consider the more naturalistic situation of toast sliding off a plate sods law still applies. However I feel there is a simpler way of proving sods law. The fact that the experiment didn’t work. They were trying to prove the existance of sods law scientifically and statistically yet the experiment didn’t work…

How does it go again…

Essentially what you have here is possibly the Sod’s law paradox (or Murphys conundrum) you can’t prove that Sod’s law exists when setting out to do so because Sod’s law will be operating as you are attempting to. Thus you can never prove or disprove sods law…

I hope that, at least mildly, placates anyone who is patiently awaiting the post…

Cheers

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