A Horse’s Ass IS Important

Why is the U.S. Standard Railroad Gauge 4 feet, 8.5 inches?


Does the statement, “We’ve always done it that way” ring any bells? The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an odd number, don’t you think? Why was that gauge used?

- Because that’s the way they built railroads in England, and English expatriates built 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 used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Then 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 (and England) for their legions. The 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. The U.S. standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot 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 war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses...

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 (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. 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...


QuotaBills
Mayor: A he-horse - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Trojan Horse: A phony pony - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

I should like to be a horse. - Queen Elizabeth II

Nag: A woman with no horse sense - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Reindeer: A horse with a hat rack - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Act like a horse. Be dumb. Just run. - Unknown

Life looks better from the back of a horse. - Unknown

Why, I'd horse-whip you if I had a horse. - Groucho Marx

Lend a horse, and you may have back his skin. - English Proverb

A unicorn is just a horse with a point of view. - Ron Sexsmith

The speed of a runaway horse counts for nothing. - Jean Cocteau

The old horse in the stable still yearns to run. - Mongolian Proverb

Paying alimony is like feeding hay to a dead horse. - Groucho Marx

I had the best buffalo horse that ever made a track. - Buffalo Bill

This is really a lovely horse. I once rode her mother. - Ted Walsh

An orator without judgment is a horse without a bridle. - Theophrastus

Centaur: A man with a horse where his pants ought to be - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Life is like a horse - either you ride it or it rides you. - Unknown

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong. - Unknown

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him float. - Unknown

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. - English Proverb

The only thing worse than beating a dead horse is betting on one. - Relient K

Don't worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon. - John Madden

The wagon rests in winter, the sleigh in summer, the horse never. - Yiddish Proverb

You can not lead a battle if you think you look silly on a horse. - Napoleon Bonaparte

Unicorn: 1. A single blemish on the foot; 2. A horse with a point of view. - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Perspective is to painting what the bridle is to the horse, the rudder to a ship. - Leonardo da Vinci

To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse - German. - Emperor Charles V

Some people play a horse to win, some to place. I should have bet this horse to live. - Henny Youngman

Half of the failures in life come from pulling one’s horse when he is leaping. - Thomas Hood

The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse. - Jacqueline Kennedy

A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character. - Tesio

And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it and created the horse. - Bedouin Legend

One of the worst things that can happen in life is to win a bet on a horse at an early age. - Danny McGoorty

I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse. - Woody Allen

An Irishman after trying American beer for the first time: "Put it back in the horse!" - Unknown

Democracy is very different in U.S. and A. from Kazakhstan. In America, woman can vote, but horse cannot! - Borat Sagdiyev

A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but, one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still. - Samuel Johnson

Tension: 1. The price you pay for being a race horse instead of a plow horse; 2. What the sergeant shouts to his soldiers. - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Hypothesis: 1. First thing a Redneck teenager says to his father on the phone; 2. Hippo, horse; thesis, placing: putting something on a horse. - Daffynitions joe-ks.com


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06-Dec-2021