This is quite an interesting tale

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posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 10:44 PM
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Railroad tracks.
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 Scotland,
and Scottish expatriates designed the US railroads.

Why did the Scottish 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 same
wheel spacing.


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 the old, long distance roads in Scotland 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 (including Scotland ) 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..

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.Bureaucracies 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 right.

Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
Now, the twist to the story:

When you used to see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there were 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,
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.


So, a major Space Shuttle design feature
of what was arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of two horses' asses.
And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important!
Ancient horses' asses control almost everything...
And current Horses' Asses in government
are controlling everything else.
AND HERE ENDETH THE LESSON!

Well I thought I t was interesting....




posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 11:01 PM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 
Wiki has a slightly different historical reasoning for the spacing of the rails, though there is some mention of horse drawn wagons during the Roman era. But nice post and well written. Star and flag for the good story



posted on Aug, 16 2013 @ 11:15 PM
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Interesting indeed. Thanks for the share, I found it quite informing piece of bit, thanks OP.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 01:18 AM
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Originally posted by 727Sky
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.

Actually the engineers wanted to make them in one piece, instead of multiple pieces with joints that created failure points that ultimately led to the Challenger disaster:

NASA Rejected Seamless Rocket to Save Money

The space agency decided years ago against buying seamless solid rocket boosters for the shuttle that would have "precluded potential failure" associated with joints and seals because the segmented rockets offered by Morton Thiokol Inc. were cheaper, according to a 1973 NASA document.
...
The possible failure of a joint on the Challenger's right booster is the leading suspect in the Jan. 28 explosion that destroyed the vehicle and killed all seven persons on board. The boosters supplied by Morton Thiokol use steel rocket casings that are made up of four segments that are bolted together at the Kennedy Space Center.

Officials at Aerojet General declined to comment on the report, and they would not discuss their proposal to build the boosters as single units, but some engineers who are no longer associated with the company are sharply critical of the decision to build the rockets in reusable segments.

Werner Kirchner, a former vice president of Aerojet General who headed that company's solid rocket program for many years, said in an interview that the decision to build the boosters in segments was a serious error.

"I wouldn't build a rocket the way that one was built," Kirchner said, shaking his head. Kirchner pioneered in the development of rockets for the Defense Department. "They wouldn't have let me build a propulsion system like that for all the tea in China," he said.
Apparently Morton Thiokol really wanted the contract for the rocket boosters, but they were land-locked and had no access to barge transportation that the other contractors would have used to provide the boosters in one segment. So the decision to split the boosters into segments with potential failure points was made to accommodate Morton Thiokol's land-locked geographic location, so yes, they had to use rail.

In the final analysis did NASA really save anything by going to Morton Thiokol after considering the loss of the Challenger shuttle? Had they made what some engineers say would have been the right decision to not make the boosters in segments, rail wouldn't have been used to transport the boosters....barges would have been used. I wasn't aware of diameter concessions to go through tunnels but of course the barges wouldn't have to go through any tunnels so that wouldn't be a limitation with barges. In some respects, the Challenger disaster is another case like the BP oil spill where the effort to save a few dollars ends up backfiring and costing billions in losses (It cost NASA $1.7 billion at least to make another shuttle) plus loss of human life, instead of the desired cost savings.

According to that source NASA doesn't say how much they saved going with Morton Thiokol's design, but I doubt it was anywhere near $1.7 billion.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 02:09 AM
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Now THAT is a good story to share with the guys at work! Thank you for taking the time to fill us in on that lol. Doesn't surprise me a bit somehow! Two thumbs up!



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 04:21 AM
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Brilliant! Something I did not know and fascinating to boot. I wonder how many other things are like that?



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:24 AM
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little known story; after WWI Dwight Eisenhower, then a junior officer in the US Army, was tasked with leading a truck convoy cross-country as an examination of the roads system (he recounts this in his book 'At Ease'). Ike discovered that the road system was abysmal.
after WWII Ike went through Germany and was awed by their autobahn system (stil the best in the world). after gettin elected Presdent he was determined to bring the same to the US; thus the Interstate Highway system.
a great many interstates were routed over existing roads.
a great many existing roads were based on old paths.
a great many old paths were plotted over Indian trails.
a great many Indian trails were based on game trails.

so, three hundred years ago a stupid deer went bounding through the forest one day...
and he traced your existing Interstate.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:32 AM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


Interesting.

But...why didn't the imperial Roman chariot / wagon wheels get destroyed on the long distance roads, since there would have been no initial ruts?

And while i'm in a thinking mood..why didn't Thiokol simply use both tracks in the mountain tunnel when moving the boosters?

They could have used one rail from each north and southbound line (since rail tracks usually come in two sets for going and coming back again).

If they had built a simple cradle, they could have straddled both of the tracks (4 rails) using the outside rail from each set and doubled the width of the booster.

It would only have had to close the line down while it was moving the booster, and once clear resumed normal to and fro rail traffic.

Would have been quite easy to do assuming there were actually two sets of tracks available.

edit on 17-8-2013 by MysterX because: added info
edit on 17-8-2013 by MysterX because: (no reason given)
edit on 17-8-2013 by MysterX because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:43 AM
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i dont think the romans went to scotland.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 06:57 AM
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So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder,
'What horse's ass came up with this?', you may be right.


Haha genius. Very interesting information indeed!

My work involves a variety of large complex industrial projects and sometimes when I am reviewing specifications and designs, i think exactly that!

Every design has a history and lineage behind it i guess.

Tell the first road builders, they should have tried harder, as our current roads just create traffic!



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:14 AM
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Thanks op thats such a cool tidbit of info. I love learning new things and "useless" facts. Altho I am a boss at trivial pursuit
. S&F



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:16 AM
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reply to post by MysterX
 


The old T&P Railroad (now Union Pacific) cuts several paths across Texas. In my area the rails are generally 1 way. I used to live about 50 yards from the rail in Coahoma, TX. There was another rail there so cars could be dropped off, but it was a single set in and out of that small town.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:21 AM
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reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
 


Ah...cheers for that BFFT, puts paid to my 'should've used both sets of track' idea then!



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:25 AM
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Originally posted by Rikku
i dont think the romans went to scotland.


The arrival of Roman legions in Scotland c. AD 71 to their departure in 213 is widely accepted by most written historical accounts..



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:28 AM
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Originally posted by Rikku
i dont think the romans went to scotland.


They did, But got their asses kicked, it is presumed by scholars that the 9th legion was massacred in Scotland so Emperor Hadrian had that wall built. 'Hadrian's wall' . to keep the Scots and the Picts out of Britannia.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:34 AM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


an " interesting " story - but the guage of European railways in the 19th century was not standard - there were multiple competing gauges - all in countries that once formed a part of the roman empire

even today - guage is still not universal



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:38 AM
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reply to post by Rikku
 





i dont think the romans went to scotland.


But they did. Have you never heard of Caledonia?



Romans in Scotland

Throughout this time the geographical area of Scotland was occupied by several different tribes utilising Iron Age technology with a wide variety of relationships both to one another and to Ancient Rome. The Romans gave the name Caledonia to the land north of their province of Britannia, beyond the frontier of the empire. Although the Roman presence was an important time in Scottish history, not least because it was when written records first emerged, Roman influence on Scottish culture was not enduring.

The Roman invasion under Quintus Petillius Cerialis began in AD 71 and culminated in the battle of Mons Graupius at an unknown location in northern Scotland in AD 84. Although the Caledonia Confederacy suffered a defeat it was not long before the legions abandoned their territorial gains and returned to a line south of the Solway Firth, later consolidated by the construction of Hadrian's Wall.



Cool OP. I wonder what a Beard-Second per Horse-ass would be. Maybe half a dozen Hubble-barns.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by ignorant_ape
reply to post by 727Sky
 


an " interesting " story - but the guage of European railways in the 19th century was not standard - there were multiple competing gauges - all in countries that once formed a part of the roman empire

even today - guage is still not universal



I could say the Scots didn't build everything...It is just an interesting story set in humor.. so no need for everyone to get worked up over the telling.
The Romans were famous for their roads. Some Roman roads exist to this day, nearly 2000 years after they were made..When I complained about a road in the UK I was told that it was built by the Romans and had gone down hill slightly since the construction...

Rome made a great deal of money from rape/pillage/slave and trade in Europe. Some of this trade involved transport by sea. More frequently, the Romans used roads. Also with so much of Western Europe conquered by the Romans, they needed roads to move their troops around quickly; poorly built roads would not suffice.



posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 08:45 AM
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Hey dude that is faaaarken funny..good post.




posted on Aug, 17 2013 @ 11:21 AM
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reply to post by 727Sky
 


I actually BELIEVE you are correct but to validate it would require only the simple trip to any one of a number of roman sites and the measuring of the wheel ruts there, www.tripadvisor.co.uk...
Measuring such would give validity even if out by several inches but then the best and most reliable would be roads that were solely used by the military.





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