Friday, January 18, 2008

The US Standard Railroad Gauge

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 built 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 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 (and England ) for their legions. The 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 ass came up with that?' . . . 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' asses. )

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 at 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 ass.

And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horses' asses control almost everything . . and CURRENT Horses Asses are controlling everything else.

Now you know the rest of the story.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back Scratcher T-shirt

F-6 Should be the spot

Watch for Ice!!!

Even the Locals have to read the signs

Melting Blue Cow

From a square in budapest.

The Government Hard at Work

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Web 404: Page Not Found Error Messages

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Funny Unix Messages


% cat "food in cans"
cat: can't open food in cans

% nice man woman
No manual entry for woman.

% rm God
rm: God nonexistent

% ar t God
ar: God does not exist

% ar r God
ar: creating God

% "How would you rate Quayle's incompetence?
Unmatched ".

% Unmatched ".
Unmatched ".

% [Where is Jimmy Hoffa?
Missing ].

% If I had a ( for every $ the Congress spent, what would I have?
Too many ('s.

% make love
Make: Don't know how to make love. Stop.

% got a light?
No match.

% man: why did you get a divorce?
man:: Too many arguments.

% !:say, what is saccharine?
Bad substitute.

% \(-
(-: Command not found.

$ PATH=pretending! /usr/ucb/which sense
no sense in pretending!

$ drink matter
matter: cannot create

Funny Internet Explorer Error Messages

A general payment fault has occured in Microsoft Windows. Please give Microsoft more money if this problem continues.

A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. A recursion error has occurred. IEXPLORE.EXE has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.

ADVERTISEMENT. This error message space has been leased out to Hyper-Mega-Global-Net for advertising. Buy their products. CLICK HERE!

Active Update complete. While you were reading this page, IE automatically updated your computer. KBytes added: 45,134,313, Bugs removed: 1954, Bugs added: 9172.

Browser not responding. I'm not listening!

Corrupt system error. Although your system is working fine, there is a newer version of Windows available. Internet Explorer will now begin to sabotage your system so parts will not work right until you buy the Windows upgrade to "fix" these problems.

Enjoyment disabled. Your system administrator has disabled enjoyment for this site. You may view the pages, but you may not enjoy them. See your system administrator for more information.

Error messages #10324-4294967296 have been reserved for future error messages from future bugs. Not that we need them because all Microsoft products are bug fre23l@ 2@1 1^& 2An exception 0E has occurred...

File access error. An unexpected error occurred while giving permission to Microsoft to read a file on your hard drive.

Final error. This is the last error you will ever see. Your system ist about to be hosed, your computer will melt and burn a hole to the center of the earth, you will be incinerated and all civilization as you know it will be destroyed. Thank you for choosing Microsoft products.

Game over. Insert quarter to browse the Internet.

HTML rendering error. The rendering engine needs an oil change and new spark plugs.


Integration error. Microsoft's screwup is now in every application.

Internet Rebooting. Microsoft must now reboot the Internet. Please log off now.

License error. You have violated the Internet Explorer License Agreement. Bill Gates will be by later on this evening to collect your soul.

MSHTTP Error 007. This page will self-destruct in 20 seconds.

MSHTTP Error 1223: Does your mother know you are looking at pages like this? Well, she does now.

MSHTTP Error 1900. Surprise! Our software wasn't really Y2K compliant like we claimed. For Y2K compatibility, you must purchase an upgrade. Happy new year 00, and thank you for choosing Microsoft products.

MSHTTP Error 1984: The site you attempted to access: does not exist. It never did. Any rumors that it may have are lies.

MSHTTP Error 666 - BiLl GaTeZ RuLeZ!

MSHTTP Error 770 Brain not found

MSHTTP Error ID10T. Please step away from your computer and do not touch it again until you have read the (online) manual.

MSHTTP Error: eokd 4u44k kfm 238 xj. A serious error occured in Microsoft Internet Explorer, however because we have crushed all competition we will no longer care and this problem will not be fixed. Thank you for making Microsoft the worlds only choice.

MSIE shell error. You need to shell out more money to Bill Gates.

Memory error. All of your personal settings have been forgotten.

Microsoft Internet Explorer has automatically scanned the installed components on your hard drive and has determined that you have not paid for the following Microsoft products: Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Microsoft Visual Studio 6, and Microsoft Office Professional. You have automatically been sentenced to 6 years in prison. You will be apprehended shortly. Have a nice day!

Microsoft Internet Explorer has detected a personality conflict between the Office Assistant and Microsoft BOB. Please use active update to update to the latest version of EGO32.DLL.

No error occurred, but we detected that you have Netscape Navigator on your computer. It is just wasting hard driver space and it must be confusing having two different browsers that work differently, so you might want to take this opportunity to uninstall Netscape Navigator now.

OLE registration error. Don't you ever register any of your shareware?

Out of disk space. Internet Explorer requires at least 100 terabytes of free hard disk space to accomodate cache, swap space, downloadable components, desktop advertising, and the local user tracking database. Please free up some more space and try again.

Random error. You have not gotten any error messages recently, so here is random one just to let you know that we haven't started caring.

Slow connection. The connection between this site and you is extremely slow. You can either wait, or click here to get out and push.

Stack overflow. Internal stack fall down go boom.

System recommendations. Internet explorer has analyzed the hardware on your computer and has determined they you need to throw it all out and get a new computer with the latest Microsoft software.

The Java applet you attempted to run is written in platform independent Java. Microsoft Internet Explorer can not run this type of java. Contact the server's administrator and have them re-write the applet to run only in Internet Explorer.

The MS IIS server you are trying to access is currently rebooting. This is normal behavior. Please stand by.

The content of this page can not be displayed. It contains non-Microsoft specific HTML code that Microsoft Internet Explorer does not and will not support. Please contact the server administrator and have them re-write the page to Microsoft HTML specifications.

The font: BillsFavoriteFont.TTF could not be found. Re-install Windows and Internet Explorer and all of your other applications to fix this problem.

The page data could not be found in the cache. Would you like to use your credit card instead?

The page you are attempting to access requires a valid user ID, password, approval from your boss, your bosses boss, your mother, a copy of your drivers license, a copy of your birth certificate, approval from Bill Gates, and approval from the weird guy at your local hardware store.

The page you attempted to access contained information that Microsoft has deemed inappropriate. Because the server is running MS IIS, this page has been deleted automatically. The police have been notified and will arrest the server's administrator shortly.

The page you attempted to access contains advertising for a product that is in competition with Microsoft. Since Microsoft makes the best products in the universe, there is not point displaying this page. You might instead want to visit and download some of our free products and demos.

The server is up but the site is down and I don't know what direction you are trying to to...

The web page you requested was accidentally shredded during transfer. Please try back later.

There is a newer version of Microsoft Internet Explorer available. You must download all 165 megs of it over your 14.4 modem now.

There was an error displaying the HTML error message.

This page can not be loaded. This page could not be loaded because the server is running a non-Microsoft operating system or web server. Please contact the server's administrator and have them upgrade to Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Internet Information Server.

This page contains anti-Microsoft content. The loading of the page has been stopped. Your attempt to access this page has been logged to

Too many Internet Explorer windows are open. Internet Explorer has become confused and will now die.

Virus detection error. A virus scanner is attempting to disable Internet Explorer because it thinks Internet Explorer is a virus. Please disable this scanner. Internet Explorer is not, I repeat, not a virus. Really, trust us... it isn't.

Warning: Microsoft Internet Explorer is no longer registered as the default browser. Because Internet Explorer is part of the operating system, Windows may not work properly. Do you want to restore Internet Explorer as your default web browser? [Yes] [Yes]

Web Tangle. The world wide web is all tangled up and will take time to untangle.

You attempted to uninstall Internet Explorer. You may not do that. As punishment for this treachery, Internet Explorer will be restored and additional unwanted components will be added.

Your home page could not be opened because there is nobody at home.

Funny Microsoft Windows Error Messages

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IT vs. Management

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below.

He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be in Information Technology," said the balloonist.

"I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."

The woman below responded, "You must be in Management."

"I am," Replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weapons of Math Instruction and Al-Gebra Movement

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F.Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement.

He did not identify the man , who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzales said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isos Celes used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.

Very Simple Stress Test

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