The distance between our
The U.S. standard railroad gauge,
That's an exceedingly odd number, you might say.
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 was 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, which design was based on the width of the two horses pulling the chariot. The chariots caused 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. In other words, bureaucracies live forever.
So the next time you are handed a specification/procedure/process/form, and wonder, "What horse's ___ came up with this?", you may be exactly correct. Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them larger, 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 ___. So, horse's ____s, it seems, control a whole lot of things in the United States.
This really explains a lot of things.