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Old 07-10-2018, 07:14 PM
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Default Railroad Tracks

The U.S. 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 designed the U.S.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 had 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 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 (including England) for
their legions. Those 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.

In other words, bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification,
procedure, or process, and wonder, 'What
horse's ass came up with this?', you may be
exactly right.

Imperial Roman army chariots were made
just wide enough to accommodate the rear
ends of two war horses.

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch
pad, you will notice that 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 in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would
have preferred to make them a bit larger, 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!

Now you know, Horses' Asses control almost everything. Explains a whole lot of stuff, doesn't it?
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