How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bureaucracy and two horses' arses

'Don't fix it if it ain't broken' comes to mind as I read this story...

Railroad tracks.
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 English expatriates designed the US  railroads.
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 then? Because the people who built  the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel  spacing.


Why  did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well,  if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would  break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that's the spacing of the wheel  ruts.
So  who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the  first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for  their legions. Those roads have been used ever  since.
And  the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial  ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying  their wagon  wheels.

Since  the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike  in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from  the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.  Bureaucracies live  forever.
     So  the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process and wonder 'What horse's arse came up with this?' , you may be  exactly right. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just  wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.  (Two horses'  arses.)

Now,  the twist to the  story:
When  you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are  two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel  tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in  Utah.

The engineers  who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the  factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory  happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs  had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider  than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses'  behinds.


So,  a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the  world's most advanced transportation system was determined  over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse's arse.  And you thought being a horse's arse wasn't important? Ancient  horse's arses control almost  everything...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss but we have to arse!