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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject Re: Long term impacts on design decisions...
Date Fri, 30 Jun 2000 09:54:36 GMT
Niclas Hedhman wrote:
> The rocket booster on the side of the shuttle are a very specific
> width.  They are this width because there is a very narrow train tunnel
> they must travel through between the factory and the launch-pad.  Their
> width is the largest diameter that tunnel can reasonably accommodate.
> This tunnel is the width it is because it was originally cut as a tunnel
> for a horse and buggy trail, on which the tracks were eventually
> built.   The tunnel width is designed to accommodate carriages.
> They could do this because all horse carriages made in the US were of a
> standard axle width.  That standard was brought over by buggy makers who
> came over from England.
> That English standard came into being because the dirt roads out in the
> boondocks of England were built and used extensively by the Romans.  The
> Romans had a standard axle width to their chariots so deep grooves were
> cut
> by use into the roads.  Attempts to use non roman-standard axle-widths
> in
> England resulted in broken axles as the wheels got caught incorrectly in
> the grooves.
> The Romans had a standard chariot axle width because they were a
> military
> empire and chariots were military equipment. By making them to exact
> standards they discovered the same thing we rediscovered much later (in
> the
> industrial revolution)-- parts could be replaced easily in the field and
> thus they had more reliable war machines.  That standard was based on
> the
> width of two horses side by side, plus the equipment to harness them in.
> (This is a true story.. but it has a punch line anyway...)
> SO next time someone asks you "What horse's ass designed the space
> shuttle?" you can tell him it was a Roman's.

This is *very* illuminating.

I wonder: will HTTP be the "horse carriage" of the internet rocket

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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