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Re: How Mil Specs Live Forever

Poster: edh@ascc01.ascc.lucent.com (Alfredus)

Scripsi ego:

> Thus, we have the answer
> to the original questions. The United State standard railroad gauge
> of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification
> (MilSpec) for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. MilSpecs 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 Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to
> accommodate the back-ends of two war horses. [secta]
> _____________________________________________
> The above story came to me by email; I don't know
> who started it or if it's true.  It seems to me there
> should be one more step in the story: some Roman unit
> of length that the gauge is some round multiple of.

I looked up Roman units of length, and found that there was
a unit called _pes_ (literally, "foot") and another unit
called _passus_ ("pace") which was exactly five _pedes_.
But since the Roman _pes_ was a little bit shorter than the
English foot, the _passus_ was, in English measure...
four feet, ten and a quarter inches.
Now, I don't know too much about horses, but it seems to
me that two war horses should be able to bear being an
_uncia_ or so farther apart for the sake of making a
standard come out even.

-- Alfredo
Alfredo el Bufon
Elvegast, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia

And so it was that latere,
As the Millere toold his tale,
That hire face, at first Iuste gostely,
Toornd a whytere shade of pale.

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