Langmuir's Laws of bad science
1 .The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.
2. The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability, or many measurements are necessary because of the low level of significance of the results.
3. There are claims of great accuracy.
4. Fantastic theories contrary to experience are suggested.
5. Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses thought up on the spur of the moment.
6. The ratio of supporters to critics rises to somewhere near 50% and then falls gradually to zero.
1) Work expands to fill the time available for its completion; the thing to be done swells in perceived importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time to be spent in its completion.
2) Expenditures rise to meet income.
3) Expansion means complexity; and complexity decay.
4) The number of people in any working group tends to increase regardless of the amount of work to be done.
5) If there is a way to delay an important decision the good bureaucracy, public or private, will find it.
6) The progress of science is inversely proportional to the number of journals published.
If the facts don't conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
1) The bigger the theory, the better.
2) The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory.
“Improvement” means deterioration.
More means worse.
The Laws of Thermodynamics for laymen
1. You cannot win
2. You cannot break even
3. You cannot get out of the game
If anything can go wrong it will go wrong (but see here).
Corollary (Sod's law)
The going wrong always occurs at a time that causes maximum inconvenience.
The number of devices on a chip doubles every 18 months.
Le Chatelier-Braun Principle
If any change is imposed on a system in equilibrium, the system will change in such a way as to counteract the imposed change.
The Bureaucrat's credo
I cause change therefore I am.
The first law of toxicology
The poison is in the dose.
It ain't necessarily so.
Routine drives out planning: the urgent takes priority over the important.
Law of unintended consequences
The actions of people (and especially of governments) always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended. These often outweigh the intended effects.
Evans’ law of inadequate paranoia
No matter how bad you think things are, they’re worse.
The law of league tables
All measures used as the basis of a league table always improve.
All other measures get worse to compensate.
What you measure is what you get.
The law of targets
A level set as a target maximum becomes the de facto minimum, and vice versa.
The law of scientific consensus:
At times of high scientific controversy, the consensus is always wrong.
The law of beneficial developments:
The intensity of the scaremongering attack on any new development is proportional to the level of benefit that it endows.
Alternative therapies do not come under attack.
Non-viable energy sources do not come under attack.
Third law of economic motion
For every opinion from an economist there is an equal and opposite opinion from another economist
The law of experiments
The first trial always produces a result that is bizarre and points to a great scientific breakthrough.
The effect never reappears in any subsequent trials.
In fields such as epidemiology and drug testing there is only one trial.
The law of computer models
The results from computer models tend towards the desires and expectations of the modellers.
The larger the model, the closer the convergence.
The first law of journalism
Readers have short memories.
The fundamental law of trends
If you can't see it, it ain't there.
The law of It
Whatever it is, someone will find a way of making money out of it.
The law of scientific equilibrium
If it is settled it is not science.
If it is science it is not settled.