Every now and then I hit on an episode of Decoder Ring that hits me back. This episode was one of those.
Nick Spark fell down a rabbit hole tracking down the origins of Murphy’s law, the ubiquitous phrase that says, “If it can go wrong, it will go wrong.” On this episode of Decoder Ring, we follow spark on his journey while taking a few detours of our own to find out how Murphy’s law was (maybe) born out of the rocket sled experiments of the dawning jet age. We talk to Spark, hear some of the recordings he collected during his own research, and speak to researchers who are skeptical of Nick’s hypothesis, all to try to find out how an obscure engineering aphorism spread to become a world-conquering philosophical observation. Some of the voices in this episode include Nick Spark, Craig Ryan (author of Sonic Wind, a biography of John Paul Stapp), George Nichols, David Hill Sr., Fred Shapiro, and Stephen Goranson.Decoder Ring: Murphy’s Law
I just happen to still have the poster that hung in my bedroom for most of my teenage years. here’s a picture of it.
Yes, this actually hung on my wall right next to the poster of Christy Brinkley. I was a weird child, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before. Murphy was an optimist, as the poster itself notes. Having said that, it would be in keeping with Murphy’s law that trying to prove the origin of the law would inevitably end up down a blind alley somewhere. Having not planned to avoid this failure in advance, the failure occurs. Murphy remains a mystery.