Friday, October 06, 2006

Some Laws of the Earth

1) Every morning the Sun rises in the East and every evening it sets in the West
2) The tide comes in and then goes out again, twice a day
3) If you wash any other garments in the machine with a duvet cover they all end up inside it

I have heard believable explanations for nos 1) and 2) but have yet to have any satisfactory explanation for no 3) presented to me.

There's also the fact that if you take the duvet cover out of the washing machine very carefully, the hole where everything else climbed into it has miraculously healed up and you can never find it.

If, however, you simply pull the duvet cover out of the machine quickly, everything else will immediately fall out on the floor (in my case a Victorian cellar floor) including a few delicate items that you never put in there in the first place, and which are now the same colour as the duvet cover but with added Victorian coal dust.

Although I have no direct evidence, I feel this must be a subdivision of Murphy's Law best expressed in this old poem, written by Victorian poet and satirist James Payn in 1844. He was actually satirising some slushy old poem about a gazelle, now fortunately forgotten, but his version is of lasting importance:

I never had a piece of toast
Particularly long and wide
But fell upon the sanded floor
And always on the buttered side.


Blogger John said...

The closest you can get to perpetual motion is tying a piece of buttered toast, butter side up, to a cats back. Then drop the cat from an upstairs window.

The resulting anomoly between the cat that will always land on it's feet and the toast that tries to land on the butter will cause the whole to spin in a continuous fashion a few inches above the floor.

Of course, as with all perpetual motion machines, the difficulty come when you try and fit a dynamo up the cats bum.

1:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, John, this is an old fallacy.

The cat's inherent contrariness is a much stronger force: this is the one that ensures that cats never do what is expected or required of them.

Experiments show that what actually happens is that, at the point of trying to attach the toast, the cat will scratch and bite the experimenter, then run off. It will then do something horrible just of out reach in a corner.

11:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, I KNOW you're an artistic genius, but now ALL your POSSIBLE postrophes are WRONG.
Stephen: Don't scientists say that some almost certain theories can never be proved except if one were to conduct the experiment outside the universe?
So in a vacuum of contrariness, the experiment would work...
or something.

10:31 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my experience (when I lived in Bristol), the clothes that turn up in the duvet cover are not the ones that you put into the washing machine with the duvet cover. They are in fact clothes which you have been looking for, for a while and had assumed that they had been eaten by whatever life form had evolved under the bed.

The clothes that you DID put in with said duvet cover, then turn up two months later, under the bed.

Oh, and Emily 1) there is no such thing as a vaccum of contrariness with a cat around, and 2) It probably has somthing to do with quantum

10:40 pm  

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