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Old Mar 30, 2011, 11:32 AM
Do Da Dippidy
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Can we move on from choo choo trains now?

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 Scotland , and Scottish expatriates designed the US railroads.

Why did the Scottish 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 Scotland ,
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 Scotland ) 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 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
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 two horses' asses. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important ? Ancient horses' asses control almost everything.. And current Horses' Asses in government are controlling everything else !__________________________________________________ ____________________________
AND HERE ENDETH THE LESSON!
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 12:39 PM
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Like it - saw that a while back and thought it 'clever'
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 12:41 PM
LcJ
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You mean my life really has value? I'm all excited.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 12:41 PM
Do Da Dippidy
plowboy1966's Avatar
Joined Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by ENGINETORQUE View Post
Like it - saw that a while back and thought it 'clever'

Yeah, it came in an e-mail from one of my old "limey" buddies!
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 12:42 PM
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Don't you go admitting that you have 'Limey Buddies' - credibility is sure to suffer on here
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 12:43 PM
Do Da Dippidy
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Originally Posted by ENGINETORQUE View Post
Don't you go admitting that you have 'Limey Buddies' - credibility is sure to suffer on here

LMAO! You could be right! Mums the word!
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 03:22 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
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Joined Jan 2009
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I spoze it's a perfectly round number in Roman numeral measurement of horsebutts.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 07:56 PM
Don't look at me like that....
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I look at the tracks and think about romans every time I cross a set.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 09:17 PM
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Why is it that there are more horses' asses in the world than there are horses ?.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 10:33 PM
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Joined Feb 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Usta Bee View Post
Why is it that there are more horses' asses in the world than there are horses ?.
Because mules are half horse, half donkey, guess which half is horse.

I was going to say the wagons were that wide so you could fit a sheet of 4 x 8 plywood in the back.
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 10:33 PM
Motors beat engines!
Milwaukee Wisconsin, United States
Joined Feb 2001
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Of course, tracks being an " unusual " 4 ft '8.5" between the tracks are a much more usual 5.0 ft wide on the outside.

Just saying,

Dean in Milwaukee
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 10:44 PM
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I'd like to have one of these nifty anvils:
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 12:48 AM
Do Da Dippidy
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Originally Posted by Treetop View Post
I'd like to have one of these nifty anvils:

Is that a piece of rail? Pretty cool.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by plowboy1966 View Post
Is that a piece of rail? Pretty cool.
Yeah, the bottom looks altered though, or maybe it is some odd rail, like from a switch or something, don't know.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 06:10 AM
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Tampere, Finland
Joined Nov 2004
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Amusing story, which is probably the main reason it stays alive

""""
The only problem with this story is that none of it is true, except the fact that the standard U.S. railroad track gauge today is indeed 4 feet 8-1/2 inches.
...
The Roman legions that conquered the ancient western world were made up primarily of armored infantry supported by cavalry, light infantry, archers, and engineers. The Roman legions never used the technologically inferior chariot.
...
The other aspect of this standardization urban legend that is pure fiction is the suggestion that the standard track gauge in the U.S. has always been 4 feet 8-1/2 inches.
""""
https://standards.nasa.gov/documents/RomanChariots.pdf

Also:
http://www.snopes.com/history/american/gauge.asp
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