Eponymous Laws Part 3: Miscellaneous

by rogersbacon5 min read13th Jul 20212 comments


World Modeling

Part 1: Laws of the Internet and Part 2: Laws of Programming

Ringwald’s Law of Household Geometry – “Any horizontal surface is soon piled up on.”

Stigler’s Law of Eponymy – “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.”

Matthew Effect – “Eminent scientists will often get more credit than a comparatively unknown researcher, even if their work is similar; it also means that credit will usually be given to researchers who are already famous”

Peter Principle – “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” (related to the Dilbert Principle…)

Dilbert Principle – “Companies are hesitant to fire people but also want to not let them hurt their business, so companies promote incompetent workers into the place where they can do the least harm: management.” (related to Putt’s Law…)

Putt’s Law – “Technology is dominated by two types of people, those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand.”

Shirky Principle – “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution”

Hanlon’s Razor – “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. ”

Hofstadter’s Law – “It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.”

Betteridge Rule – “98% of leading or speculative questions in thread titles can be correctly answered “No.”

Sturgeon’s Law – “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Parkinson’s Law –  “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

Campbell’s Law – “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

The Law of Image Overcompensation – “The amount of effort a person, group, or organization puts into projecting any image for themselves is inversely proportional to how accurate that image is. This is especially true of politicians and advertising campaigns. For example, it’s always the biggest homophobes who turn out to be Armoured Closet Gay. Likewise, the “pro-family” politicians are always the ones who have been cheating on their spouses, and “this is not your grandfather’s car” means it most definitely is your grandfather’s car.”

Clarke’s Three Laws

1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Pareto Principle – “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes”…”Pareto showed that approximately 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.”

Benford’s Law – “… is an observation about the frequency distribution of leading digits in many real-life sets of numerical data. The law states that in many naturally occurring collections of numbers, the leading significant digit is likely to be small. For example, in sets that obey the law, the number 1 appears as the most significant digit about 30% of the time, while 9 appears as the most significant digit less than 5% of the time. If the digits were distributed uniformly, they would each occur about 11.1% of the time. Benford’s law also makes predictions about the distribution of second digits, third digits, digit combinations, and so on.

It has been shown that this result applies to a wide variety of data sets, including electricity bills, street addresses, stock prices, house prices, population numbers, death rates, lengths of rivers, physical and mathematical constants, and processes described by power laws (which are very common in nature). It tends to be most accurate when values are distributed across multiple orders of magnitude.”

Zipf’s law –  “…given a large sample of words used, the frequency of any word is inversely proportional to its rank in the frequency table. So word number N has a frequency proportional to 1/N.

Thus the most frequent word will occur about twice as often as the second most frequent word, three times as often as the third most frequent word, etc. For example, in one sample of words in the English language, the most frequently occurring word, “the”, accounts for nearly 7% of all the words (69,971 out of slightly over 1 million). True to Zipf’s Law, the second-place word “of” accounts for slightly over 3.5% of words (36,411 occurrences), followed by “and” (28,852). Only about 135 words are needed to account for half the sample of words in a large sample.

Wiio’s law – “Communication usually fails, except by accident”. This is the fundamental law of a series of 7 laws related to human communication.

Kranzburg’s First Law of Technology – “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.”

Littlewood's law – “states that a person can expect to experience events with odds of one in a million (defined by the law as a "miracle") at the rate of about one per month.

Littlewood defines a miracle as an exceptional event of special significance occurring at a frequency of one in a million. He assumes that during the hours in which a human is awake and alert, a human will see or hear one "event" per second, which may be either exceptional or unexceptional. Additionally, Littlewood supposes that a human is alert for about eight hours per day. As a result, a human will in 35 days have experienced under these suppositions about one million events. Accepting this definition of a miracle, one can expect to observe one miraculous event for every 35 days' time, on average – and therefore, according to this reasoning, seemingly miraculous events are actually commonplace.”

Sayre’s Law – “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.”

Parkinson’s Law of triviality (aka Bike-shedding) – “Members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.” Parkinson provides the example of a fictional committee whose job was to approve the plans for a nuclear power plant spending the majority of its time on discussions about relatively minor but easy-to-grasp issues, such as what materials to use for the staff bike shed, while neglecting the proposed design of the plant itself, which is far more important and a far more difficult and complex task”.

Ruckert’s Law – “There is nothing so small that it can’t be blown out of proportion.”

And last but not least…

Cole’s Law – “A salad made with thinly-sliced or shredded cabbage. It can include carrots, and is often made with vinegar or a vinaigrette. In the United States, it is often made with mayonnaise.”


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If the entire point of this series was to get to Cole's Law, please know that you now have my undying respect.

The whole point of my life was to get to Cole's Law.