**“If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. “** is one way to express the famous adage known by such names as Murphy’s Law, Finagle’s Law, and Sod’s Law. Some people consider it a myth while others take it seriously. British mathematician Philip Obadya. working with colleagues David Lewis and Keylan Leyser, came up with a formula that statistically calculates the likelihood of this law. Working with a sample of over 1000 people. Obadya’s equation is:

To figure out the likelihood of the law occurring. you assign value to the variables in the formula as follows:

*U* stands for the **urgency** of a task and is given a value on a scale of 1 and 9, with 9 meaning most urgent.

Similarly for *C* stands for the **complexity** of a task and is assigned a value between I and 9.

S represents how **skilled** you are at performing the task, and also is assigned a value between 1 and 9.

*A* stands for **aggravation**. and is a constant. Its value is 0.7, which was determined by polling over 1000 people.

*F* stands for how **frequently **you perform the task, and is also assigned a value from 1 to 9.

**The Rating of Sod’s Law**, *R*_{SL, }ends up ranging between 0 and 8.6, where the higher number warns you that it’s likely something may happen.

Obadya points out in Null Hypothesis, The *Joumal of Unlikely Science* that:

The lesson from that, to cut the seemingly unbeatable Sod’s Law Gremlins down to size you need to change one of the elements in the equation […] There is, of course, a Sod’s Law element to using the equation as well. So beware, If you judge your ratings wrongly, you might become too optimistic, allowing calamity to strike. Furthermore, knowing a priori the R_{SL} value of a paI1icular task may well lead to over-confidence, producing a positive feedback mechanism by which the Sod’s Law rating increases still further.

In other words, even the knowledge of the mathematics behind Murphy’s Law will not save you from it!

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## About Edmark M. Law

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong.
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learnfunfacts.com. You can find me on Twitter

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Surprising the aggravation value isn’t higher.

As for Murphy’s Law, #3 and #5 have pretty much been constants in my life. 😀

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It seems those researchers underestimated Murphy’s Law or perhaps Murphy’s Law is also at work here since lower R_SL would boost your confidence level… then voila! “Life” happens. 🙂

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