6/17/2009

Why should I give a horse's patutti?

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? Well, because that's the way they built them in England, and English engineers designed the first US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the wagon tramways, and that's the gauge they used. So, 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 more often on some of the old, long distance roads in England. You see, 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 England ) 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 or run the risk 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 exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses. (Two horses' asses.)

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, 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.

And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important?!



Ancient horse's asses control almost everything... and CURRENT Horses Asses are controlling everything else.




PS--I checked this out on Snopes and they said it was 'sort of' true, but then what if Snopes is a hoax?!

11 comments:

Ann said...

patutti???? What's that? I googled search, and found no joy, I saw you post in it though.

Keeper of the Skies Wife said...

That is very interesting. I will forever think of this when I hear that phrase! HA!

Thanks for stopping by...hope to see you again.

Miss Footloose said...

Great Post! Gives meaning to the idea of (not)thinking out of the box.

We got through life taking things for granted: This is how we do it because that's how it's always been done.

Makes me wonder what other things are out there with a similar interesting origin.

Anybody know?

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Fabulous post! Will always remember your post now when I call my better half a Horses Ass. :)

Cairo Typ0 said...

I love information like this!! ;) Finding the origins of words and sayings is a bizarre hobby of mine.

Very cool info!! :)

ellievellie said...

My husband who is an engineer is very impressed with the story. Well written! Made me smile big time! Thank you!

Marja said...

Ha ha very revealing ha ha Absolutely great post

Lachezar said...

Your story is hilarious! ...and makes you think. Thanks for visiting and the kind words!

Gombojav Tribe said...

Now THAT was truly entertaining!

Unknown Mami said...

Fascinating. Something I never would have contemplated on my own and yet I found it very interesting.

ladyfi said...

LOL! Who knew that a horse's butt would have the power to change the world!?