The Science of Murphy's Law; April 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Matthews; 4 Page(s)
Late for work, you paw frantically through your sock drawer, unable to find a matching pair in its jumbled disarray. In the kitchen, your toast slides off the plate and lands on the floor--butter-side down, of course. Finally out of the house, you reach the train station and join a line for a ticket-- and then find yourself watching the lines on either side shoot ahead, while you remain stuck behind someone arranging a world tour.
Is it all just chance misfortune--and no more likely, probabilistically speaking, than happier outcomes? Or is there something about the way the universe works that favors this kind of aggravation? Alas, a strong case can be made for the latter explanation. Indeed, there is evidence that the universe is against you.