The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.
This gauge was used because that’s how they built them in England and English expatriates designed the US railroads.
They English build them like that, because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways.
Those people used 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 wheel spacing and wagons had that particular spacing, because any other gauge other than those used on the long-distance roads would break the wagon wheels.
Imperial Rome built those long distance roads in Europe for their legions and the ruts in those roads were formed by Roman wagons and war chariots, 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. In other words, bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process, and wonder, ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’, just remember that 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 see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that 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 larger, 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 is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s ass.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
This information thanks to the Nymph of Palm Beach.
Her ass is much smaller than that of a horse or even a pony.