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5113Fwd: the importance of 4 feet, 8.5 inches

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  • Hugh Miller
    Sep 29, 2013
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      Mina san,
      This is a great story and you will laugh or at least chuckle at the end of it.  It's how the Roman Empire even affected the space shuttle.  Honest!  I am not kidding!  Be sure to read to the end and you'll see!
      It is also proof positive that, as the article says, "Bureaucracies live forever".

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------

      Subject: the importance of 4 feet, 8.5 inches

      You'll love the logic here.
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      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.

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      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.

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      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.
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      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.
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      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

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      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.

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      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.

      Now you know, Horses' Asses control almost everything.......

      Explains a whole lot of stuff, doesn't it?

      be so good, they can't ignore you
      Barbara & John Goda
      350 Wills Lane
      Alpharetta, GA 30009

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