New Additions
x86 Instruction Chart
8087 FPU Instruction Chart
9 Volt Battery Chargers
Solid State Circuit Breaker (20V 650mA)
Spice BJT Model Viewer
Ohm's Law Calculator
Prime Factorization
Convert a Decimal Fraction to a Simple Fraction
Example POV-Ray Animation
Example Virtual Machine
Locating a Gunshot with an Array of Microphones
Software Defined Radio
Salt Flats & Aeromods
Audio Amp + Spice References
Image Processing
KFC 'Secret' Recipe
Neddy's Brownies
Ham and Cheese Muffins
Railroad Tracks
The Bike Shed
The Guy That Invented Fire
Mods for the TRS-80 Color Computer

Railroad Tracks



                  Railroad tracks. 


                  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 designed 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  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. Bureaucracies live forever. 


                  So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/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. (Two horses' asses.) Now, the twist to the story: 


                  When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there
are two bigbooster 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 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.  

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