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[at-l] Y2K Origins

In keeping with the present concerns about Y2K and the comments on the
origin of the problem, I thought this might be appropriate.  It
illustrates the depth of the problem, and the kind of long term effects
that are possible.  

Walk softly,

>You never know, you could be part of history...    
>How Military Specs Live Forever    
>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 the US railroads were built
>by English patriates.  Why did the English people 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.    
>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.    
>So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads 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 made for or by Imperial
>Rome they 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 from the original
>specification (Military Spec) 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.    
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