Absolutely useless trivia

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Absolutely useless trivia

Post by sabrjay on Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:52 pm

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 inEngland, and English expatriates built theUSrailroads

Why did the Engl ish 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 used 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 inEngland, because that's the
spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? ImperialRomebuilt the first long
distance roads inEurope(andEngland) 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 ImperialRome, they were all
alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore theUnited
Statesstandard 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 horses' 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 SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at
their factory inUtah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have
preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs 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 SRBs
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!!


I like to sit outside, drink beer and yell at people. When I do this at home I get arrested, so I go to baseball games and fit right in.

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