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Specs live forever ( Butt joke )

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Horses Backsides.

Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999


This Item was sent me by a former Toronto Transit employee. I found it



  How Specs Live Forever

  The US Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4

  feet,8.5inches. That's an exceedingly odd number.


  Why was that gauge used?Because that's the way they built them in


  and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.


  Why did the English people 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 used for building

wagons,  which used that wheel spacing.


  Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, if they

  tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the

  old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing of the old wheel


  So who built these old rutted roads?

  The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for

  the benefit of their legions.  The roads have been used ever since.

And the  ruts?

The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of

destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots.

Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome, they were all alike in

the matter of wheel spacing.

Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United States

  standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original

  specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.

  Specs and 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 to be just wide enough to accommodate the

back-ends of two war horses.


  Plus: There's an interesting extension of the story about railroad gauge

and horses' behinds. 

When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on the launch pad,

there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel


These are the solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. 

The SRBs  are made by Thiokol at a factory in Utah. 

The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter,

but the SRBs had to beshipped by train from the factory to the launch site. 

The railroad line to the factory runs through a tunnel in the mountains.

The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. 

The tunnel is slightly wider than a railroad track,and

the  railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. 

So a major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced

transportation system was determined by the width of a horse's backside.


"It's better to be in the race for a second than to spectate forever."



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