Computer Proverbs

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Tue Jan 16 10:48:13 UTC 2001

Appropriate, but not originally about computers:

Sturgeon's Law:  90% of everything is crap.

Something over 30 years ago, I added three lemmas:

        1.  It ain't 90, it's 99.
        2.  It ain't crap, it's shit.
        3.  The remaining 1% makes life worth living.

The original Law is usually attributed to Theodore Sturgeon, one of the
immortals of the Golden Age of science fiction.  Secondary sources in
the world of science fiction agree on that attribution, but so far I
haven't found any that cite an alleged place of first publication.  (I
have a fleeting, partial recollection that the Law was mentioned
favorably in the editor's column of Astounding Science Fiction
magazine.  The author was John W. Campbell, Jr.; the date probably was
around 1950; the attribution was there without citation of the

In the same general epoch, Astounding Science Fiction provided a version
of the laws of thermodynamics that should be as well known as Murphy's

First  Law of Thermodynamics: You can't win.
Second Law of Thermodynamics: You can't even break even.
Third  Law of Thermodynamics: You can't get out of the game.

I'm sure that the first place where I read this reformulation gave full
credit to the original author.  I just don't remember who that was.

--  mike salovesh       <salovesh at>      PEACE !!!

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