Written by Paul Penner Tuesday, 24 June 2008 15:04
Technology exists for man’s benefit. Then again, I’m convinced there are days when man exists for technology’s entertainment, especially when Murphy’s Law comes into play.
For example, as the television broadcast industry gears up for the transition from analog television signals to digital, this Murphy fellow is busily writing new laws with the gleeful ferocity of a gremlin on a mission.
The digital signal mysteriously loses bits of data, due to problems with transmission of data, weather factors or distance from the source, corrupting the data stream and losing the video’s normal motion at precisely the same time the plot in a mystery movie reveals an important clue.
This is a frustrating experience for the viewer, similar to earlier, pre-digital days when your mother or mother-in-law called to chat at precisely the moment when the television episode is reaching a crucial climax in the story.
In this case, one questions whether wishing for a return to the good, old days would actually be better. It depends on which love attraction is greater. I know, this seems a bit cruel to compare technology to mother-in-laws, but one hears talk along these lines, even if it is said for humorous effect.
Agriculture is no stranger to Murphy’s laws, either. These additions to the universal, “what can go wrong, will” law need no further explanation:
n The newest tire on any implement or motorized vehicle finds the nail, missing part or other sharp appendage, rendering it completely useless or unrepairable.
n The newer the paint job, the better the chances are for a scratch to appear.
n The warranty of any tool or implement expires the day before it fails due to a manufacturing defect.
n The greater distance to the nearest service vehicle or home shop is directly proportional to the severity of the breakdown. For example, a small part has a broken weld. Chances are good you are less than a half mile away from the shop. But if a main drive tire fails, the distance from home may require a two-mile hike to get within range of the nearest cell tower to call for help.
n An amendment to the above rule, also known as the “after hours, holidays and weekends” clause, increases the odds of a breakdown occurring five minutes after the parts or service store closes.
n When purchasing replacement parts, the acquisition of only one part guarantees its premature failure. If two parts are purchased this will guarantee the first replacement part will never fail within its useful lifetime.
n Forward commodity contracts do not carry “acts of God” escape clauses and thereby increases the chances of adverse weather conditions occurring prior to harvest and after the “buy-back” costs go up.
n The amount of rain received is inversely proportional to the crop’s need for additional moisture.
n The width of the farm implement transported on the road is directly proportional to the volume of traffic on any given day, including home games at K-State.
n Your favorite hand tool finds the bottomless crack in the ground like a Tiger Wood’s “hole-in-one” shot, even when dropped from a height of ten feet and tumbling end-to-end.
n The further the distance from home base, the greater the chances of tires going flat immediately after fieldwork begins.
n Trucks or trailers that are loaded with grain and intentionally left outside and untarped does not attract rain. Listening to a weatherman’s forecast calling for a rain-free evening and planning accordingly attracts much rain.
n Cell phones are attracted to water, even in semi-arid climates.