A Connection Through the Times

There are two engines on the the “Kennedy” spacecraft, each engine five-feet wide. The spacecraft engineers wanted to make the engines wider, but couldn’t. That’s because the engines were delivered by railroad, and the distance between the rails was only five feet (or rather, four feet 8.5 inches). Why?

It’s because the American-made railroad was modeled after the British model, and in Great Britain the railroad was modeled after the trolleys, and the trolleys were modeled after horse-trams, and the width of the horse-trams was specifically made so the wheels would fall into tracks, and the distance between the tracks in Great Britain is five feet.

And that’s because the roads in Great Britain were paved by the Romans to fit the size of their military chariots, which were five feet wide. And that’s because the chariots were led by two horses and this was the width of two horses’ behinds!

So the size of the spacecraft’s engines depends on the size of a horse’s behind 2,000 years ago!

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    a superb comment on evolution and resistance to change!

  2. Just though you ought to know. I’m stealing this one.

  3. That reminds me of James Burke, from the Connections books and TV programs. He gave similar examples for all kinds of things people took for granted.

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