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The More Things Change . . .

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of mtnwizard49 mtnwizard49 11 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #1631
    Avatar of mtnwizard49

    Does the statement, “We’ve always done it that way” ring any bells. It was made to me by a prospective client and got me to thinking (very dangerous):


    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 England, and English expatriates built the US 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.

    Okay! 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 United States 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 spec and told we have always done it that way and wonder what horse’s ass came up with that, 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, 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. 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 ??


    Da Wiz

    And remember, drugs lead nowhere but they take the Scenic Route.

    Avatar of corkhorner

    That story is one of the most interesting rehating of ‘facts’ I have read lately.


    I know all about that ‘we always’, ‘ chit’.

    In my Humble opinion, it is usually that massive flock of Nay-Nay birds as they fly in tighter circles who ‘always have done it that way.

    Just for the record here, in not believing in that ‘always that way’ stuff, I persisted for 3 years in the USAF Reserve asking to go to Flight Engineer school on the ‘Heavies’ [the ones frequently in the news with rear doors open] without having the ‘prescribed career path’. It was not age barring me, it was rigid thinking. Long story short, I graduated Altus Afb [Oklahoma is OK] age FIFTY as a u-know-what. Later , Gulf War One , GB One. [Presently we are in the 2nd Stage]

    What did that for me? Asking Questions, getting responses i did not want, Reformulating a new question and getting different responses I didn’t want,,,,do you see a formula being designed here? Wellllll, [Ronald Reagan] if ya’axe’ enough questions you will get the asnwers, results, outcomes that you DO want.

    Ok, Doc, ‘Over’.

    Furr Shurr
    South of ‘the valley’
    Inn of Sane Diego

    Avatar of sstanton

    Hey Gary,

    Thanks, I needed a light hearted moment after a rather tough week. So the next time some one refers me or someone I know as a Horse’s Donkey, I’ll just thank them and laugh (LOL).


    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


    Avatar of mike-ut

    @corkhorner wrote:

    In my Humble opinion, it is usually that massive flock of Nay-Nay birds as they fly in tighter circles who ‘always have done it that way.

    Not that I need to tell you gentlemen, but today it is official. Due to their own self-destructing behavior, the Nay-Nay Bird is officially an endangered species! :lol:

    Avatar of neftalipazo

    Gary, well said.

    Is it possible that you can post the URL for the clip of Never Give Up by the young man talking to students that you posted last week. I was able to show it to my daughter but now that I want to show it to my son I found that your post was deleted.



    That “Never Give Up” thing was one of the best I’ve ever seen and heard.

    ( and was of some of those that were there that day )

    If people felt sorry for themselves a lot less, we could get something done, together.

    Thanks, Gary,

    Here’s one link for some good pep talk, but I can’t find the one we’re looking for, YET !!! NEVER GIVE UP !!!! It’s in my computer SOMEwhere !


    ( also, look at the replys and find Bill Murry’s speech, from “Stripes.”)

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