12. Murphy Was Right! The Art of What Could Go Wrong

It is an established fact that in nine cases out of ten whatever can go wrong in a magical performance will do so.

—Adam Hull Shirk, as quoted in Murphy’s Law [1]

From what we can tell, Murphy’s Law (which in its most famous form states: “If anything can go wrong, it will”) was supposedly first coined at Edwards Air Force Base in the United States around 1949. While many seem to claim credit for the concept, it appears that it was named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on a project for the Air Force to see how much sudden deceleration a pilot could withstand in a crash. As the story goes, one day, after finding that a piece of equipment was wired incorrectly, Captain Murphy ...

Get Social Media Analytics: Techniques and Insights for Extracting Business Value Out of Social Media now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.