Friday, April 24, 2009

Interesting History Lesson


Railroad tracks. This is fascinating.

Be sure to read the final paragraph; your understanding of it
will depend on the earlier part of the content.
The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4
feet, 8.5 inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them
in England, and English expatriates built the US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail
lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad
tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did 'they' use that gauge then? Because the people who built
the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they use d for
building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well,
if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would
break on some of the old, long distance roads in England,
because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the
first long distance roads in Europe (and England ) for their
legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial
ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying
their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial
Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet,
8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an
Imperial Roman war chariot. Bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification/
procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's ass came up with
it?’ You may be exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots
were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two
war horses. (Two horse's asses.) Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there
are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main
fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRB's. The SRB's
are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers
who designed the SRB's would have preferred to make them a bit
fatter, but the SRB's had to be shipped by train from the
factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory
happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRB's
had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider
than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now
know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So,a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the
world's most advanced transportation system was determined over
two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's ass. And you
thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's
asses control almost everything... and
CURRENT Horses Asses are controlling everything else.

Interesting huh?

Until next time

Quote for Today

For the wonderful brain of man
However mighty its force
Had never achieved its lordly plan
Without the aid of a horse.
- Ella Wilcox

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