Saturday, May 31, 2008

The history and evolution of the modern road and railroad track

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.
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. 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.

So the next time you are handed a Specification/Procedure/Process and wonder ‘What horse’s ass came up with it?’ you may be exactly 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 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 SRB’s. The SRB’s are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRB’s would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRB’s 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 SRB’s 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 behind.
Did you think being a horse’s ass wasn’t important? Ancient horse’s asses control almost everything… and modern ones are controlling everything else.

Via :

The gas prices around the US, and it's really easy to see how bad some have it.. RED - BAD , Green - good Constantly updated website and map.

Mopar experts - Soledad Performance, 7636 Lemon Ave, a block North of Broadway in Lemon Grove

619-697-1136 ... a specialty shop building and restoring Plymouth and Dodge cars from 1962 to 1973. They also source parts for people trying to keep their MOPARS alive, and offer finished cars as well as rollers.
One big Brodix 500 something cu incher, based on a 440

Thats one cool test stand.. wish I could hear them light off that Hemi

An example of make the car you want, even if the factory didn't

A '69 charger with '70 R/T side scoops, and '68 front fenders

Specialists in Mercedes Benz 280SL, 300SL Gullwing, 190SL, 450SL

1956 Fiat Abarth 500GT Zagato (the prototype of the small run 500 GT Zagatos) and it was the 1957 Turin Show car

Luigi Argenti of Bologna purchased this car from the factory on April 26, 1958 and apparently entered it the very next day in the hill climb at San Marino and won the 500 GT class.

The boss' '72 Pantera, just back from paint

1963 mk II

This 1969 280 SL is the bread and butter of the company

A no expense spared restoration of a family heirloom, it's looking to hit the concours de elegance car shows and win trophys... around 1/4 million into this 1958 190sl hardtop convertible that the dad bought for his two boys for a highschool driver.

This engine bay is going for trophy winning cleanliness and restoration

1956 Mercedes 300c Convertible D (4 door cabriolet)