To quit this horrid act

OT: On horse’s asses (please see update)

  I was sent the following yesterday. Worthy of sharing.


Railroad tracks: The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. Now, that’s an exceedingly odd number.
Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the US railroads. 
Why did the English build them like that? Because the first railways were also built by those 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 used for building wagons, which had that wheel spacing.


Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they would use any other spacing the wagon wheels would break on the old, long distance roads in England that had that same wheel rut spacing.
So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including  England ) to interconnect its extensive Empire, and those roads (with new paving) are still in use today!

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the first ruts, which everyone had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. And since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome they were all alike in their wheel spacing.

Therefore, the US standard railroad gauge of 4’-8.5” is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot, which proves that bureaucracies will 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: The chariots of the Imperial Roman army were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two horses, or 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. Those are solid fuel rocket boosters (or SRBs), built by Thiokol in a factory in Utah. And the engineers who designed them wanted them a bit fatter, but they had to be hauled by train from the factory to the launch pad in Florida, and the railroad from Utah to Florida goes through a tunnel carved in the mountains, so the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel.


The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track…., you guessed it, is as wide as two horses’ buts.

So, a major design item from the Space Shuttle, arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system, was conditioned two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass. And you thought being a horse’s ass was not important!
As you can see, horse’s asses controlled almost everything in the old days… and currently, horses asses in Washington control just about everything else!

UPDATE: Oh dear, it seems the whole story is a horse’s ass itself. Tenpercenter RickB sends in this link to Snopes that debunks all the above. Oh well…it was good while it lasted

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