The top ten: Laws of life

 

One opinion poll the other day suggested Labour and Conservatives were level on 36 per cent, when other polls gave Labour a lead of eight percentage points. I sought to remind colleagues of Twyman's Law, named after Tony Twyman, a media-research analyst: "If a statistic looks interesting or unusual it is probably wrong." Here are 10 other rules for our bewildering world.

1. Chivers's Law "If you can go online and call your government a fascist regime, then you are not living under a fascist regime."

2. Godwin's Law "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."

3. Conquest's Third Law "The simplest way to explain the behaviour of any bureaucratic organisation is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies."

4. Cowley's Law After Prof Philip Cowley: "There is an inverse relationship between the importance of any election campaign technique and the amount of media coverage devoted to it."

5. Rounders' Law "If you can't spot the sucker at the poker table in 10 minutes, you're the sucker." From Ian Rapley.

6. Muphry's Law "If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written." Nominated by Andrew Coop.

7. Pommer's Law "A person's mind can be changed by reading information on the internet: from having no opinion to having a wrong opinion." Thanks to Tom Chivers.

8. Murphy's Law Named after Edward A Murphy Jr, American aerospace engineer: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Thanks to Kellie Strøm.

9. Paul's Law "You can't fall off the floor." Della Mirandola's favourite.

10. Parkinson's Law "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." And its corollary: "Storage requirements will increase to meet storage capacity."

Next week: Unsung villains – historical figures who don't get as bad a press as they should

Coming soon: Stupid car names (starting with Qashqai). Send your suggestions (by Tuesday 20 August), and ideas for future Top 10s, to top10@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions