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Knee Draggin!
 
kwayzeeyt's Avatar
 
Posts: 517
Join Date: September 30, 2002
Location: Lancaster, PA
May 14, 2004, 10:12 AM

I found this printed in one of the local PA papers. It was a story given by District Governor Paul R. Barth to the Coaldale Lions Club. He was tring to express how there needs to be a lot more original thinking, and used this story as an example. I think it's funny, yet pretty interesting. Enjoy!

The U.S. standard railroad gauge 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 U.S. railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first railroad 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? 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 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 England for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. The ruts in the road? Roman chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since they were made for Imperial Roam they were all alike.
The U.S. standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for Imperial Roman war chariots and the bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse’s ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends or two war horses.

Now… the twist to the story.

When you see a space shuttle sitting on its pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These solid rocket boosters are made by a company in Utah. The engineers would have preferred to make the boosters a bit fatter, but they had to be shipped be railroad from the factory to the launch site. The rail line goes through a tunnel that is just a bit wider than the track, which as you know is the width of two horses’ behinds.

So a major space shuttle driving feature of what is the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horses’ ass.

And you thought being a horses’ ass wasn’t important.


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KwayZeeyT - (k-way-z-t) adj. To be slightly off or otherwise "Travis-like".

"I don't trust you... but in a good way." - Kim
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kevers's Avatar
 
Posts: 7,247
Join Date: December 17, 2002
Location: Ashburn, VA
May 14, 2004, 12:33 PM

That's pretty damn funny...and interesting


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