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FW: Learn Something New

To: "''" <mgs@Autox.Team.Net>
Subject: FW: Learn Something New
From: "Nunez, Eduardo" <>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 13:36:37 -0400
This needs no further explaining...

>      Subject: Year 2000 analogy?
>      Article written by a professor Tom O'Hare of the University of
> Texas a 
>      while ago:
>      Why are railroad tracks 4 feet 8 1/2 inches apart?
>      The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails is 4
> feet, 
>      8.5 inches, That's an exceedingly odd number.
>      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?
>      Because the people who built the tramways used that same jigs and
>      tools that they used for building wagons, which use that wheel 
>      spacing.
>      Okay! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing?
>      Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would
> break on 
>      some of the old, long distance roads, because that's the spacing
> of 
>      the old wheel ruts.
>      Who built these old rutted roads?
>      The first long distance road in Europe were built by Imperial
> Rome for 
>      the benefit of their legions.
>      The roads have been used ever since, and the ruts?
>      The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of 
>      destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots,
> since 
>      the chariots were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.
>      Thus, we have the answer to the original questions. The United
> States 
>      standard railroad gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches derives for the
> original 
>      specification for an Imperial Rome army war chariot.  Military
> specs 
>      and bureaucracies live forever.
>      So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what 
>      horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right.  Because
> the 
>      Imperial Rome chariots were made to be just wide enough to
> accommodate 
>      the back ends of two war horses.
>      We need only look a few hundred years down the road to see
> legions of 
>      programmers asking each other why in the world does this date
> have two 
>      digit year?
And for the LBC content:  My '75B does not have a Y2K problem, but the 
computer that I sometimes use at home to access the LBC websites does!

Ed Nunez

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