Things will go wrong, it's the law

Article content

Ever since the Wright brothers got a machine to fly through the air and Henry Ford and others learned to mass produce cars to run the roads, inventors have explored ways to build a flying automobile. Anyone familiar with Murphy's Law is terrified of the day when this hybrid hits the market.

Murphy's Law states: If anything can go wrong it will.

Across the Atlantic in the United Kingdom they call this Sod's Law. It may be to assert independence from The USA where Murphy originated. Perhaps the name will have to be changed, given the semantic link to Gay Pride.

No need to list examples of Murphy's Law. Hourly news programs are rife with them and with someone looking for ways to see that such a thing never happens again.

If you pass through Straffordville from any direction you will come to the intersection of Heritage Line and Plank Road. These do not form a perfect crossroad. The Line runs parallel to the shore of Lake Erie and the Road runs a few degrees east of north as you head toward Eden. A drivers' view is obscured by any vehicle waiting to make a turn, and to make things more interesting some drivers don't observe the big stop signs on Heritage Line.

Add to this the traffic entering or leaving Mudford's Market, Rose's Variety, Sheri's Barbering &Hairstyling, Taylor's Insurance, Klassen's Auto Parts, Kristen's Kitchen a few metres south and the post office an equal distance to the north and you can understand that during the time it takes to look both ways, all ways in fact, a vehicle will appear like magic where a second ago the way was clear.

Picture flying cars literally on top of this.

Murphy's Mayhem!

Not to worry say the futurists. Already there are cars controlled by robots while passengers text or play euchre or have a nap. Aircraft have autopilots that free crew members to party in the flight deck. The same arrangements guide ships at sea and through mazes like the Strait of Georgia. Investigations into the accidents take years, followed by eons in the courts.

Murphy's Law on land, sea and in the air.

Robots are controlled by computers. If you have a computer you've experienced the sudden appearance of a blue screen that tells you of an error and shuts your computer down to prevent damage to the system. Is this the sort of situation that sends vehicles into raceway speeds on the roads and cruise ships into reefs? The computer system may be saved, but what about the car, plane, or ship?

Manufacturers try to blame human error or neglect for accidents. If it works they avoid gargantuan fines, liability assessments and recall expenses.

Fines to corporations are welcomed by most of us, but wait a minute. If a corporation is forced to pay a fine, as with a tax, where does the incidence of the cost fall? Isn't it in the end charged to us, the customers?

Even if the fine falls on stockholders it affects families, just like the speeding ticket I got one day on my way home from work. My wife and my kids were as punished as I was. Locking me up would be worse for them. I'd get no pay at all as a prisoner. Read the novels of Charles Dickens for tear-jerking examples this sort of thing.

Flying cars are nightmarish, but if the search for a functional plasma computer is successful, imagine the opportunities to demonstrate the truth of Murphy's Law.

The whole planet earth might light up like a blue screen.




Article content

Latest National Stories


Story continues below

News Near Tillsonburg

This Week in Flyers