Engineering that Endured:
Four Feet, Eight Inches Wide
The United States Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?
George Stephenson, who built the first practical steam locomotive in England, laid his rails based on the width of coal wagons. Laying the rails five feet apart and accounting for two inch wheels and a bit of leeway, the resulting space between the rails, or the rail gauge, was four feet eight and a half inches. Stephenson used that gauge in 1830 when designing the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the first rail line in England. The width came to be called the “Stephenson gauge.”
Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates designed the U.S. 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 jig 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?
A Wagon Wheel, especially an American wagon wheel is made like no other wagon wheel in the world. There is no doubt that the invention of the wheel is one of the most important inventions in history. The reason you do not see a flood of wagon wheels from China into the America market is because there has never been a machine made that can build an American type Wagon Wheel, it is a labor intensive project and most of the time the person building the wagon wheel is an artesian.
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.
In other words, bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder, ‘What horse’s ass 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.
Now, the twist to the story:
When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that 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.
Romans were one of wealthiest civilizations ever to have existed in the ancient times. The Romans had great leaders, very strong military, wealthy citizens, and governments, including roads. Roads were one of the greatest and most famous things the Romans felt very proud of. There were so many roads linking from Rome, it is almost impossible to name every single one of them.
The Romans roads have existed for nearly 4,000 years. They were mostly used for trade, and most commonly used for crossing swamps, rivers and many other different situations or places. In total there were more then 50,000 miles of roads and 371 road links extending from Rome.
Roman roads were well known, and popular for straightness from using concrete made from Pozzolana (volcanic ash), limestone, use of cambered surfaces, and use of facilitating drainage.
The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit 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 ass.
And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important!
Now you know, Horses’ Asses control almost everything and the most experienced are in Washington D.C. and Hollywood.
Have you noticed that men don’t worry about how big their ass is? The reason for this is because they are or they aren’t. If they aren’t they know it and size doesn’t matter. If they are they are so pompous and arrogant they don’t realize it and nothing matters but themselves.
Now women, they’re the ones that worry about size, e.g., “Do these pants make my ass look big?” For the majority of women in politics (Clinton, Pelosi, Obama, etc.) and many wealthy women (Oprah, etc.) you can stop worrying and know that your ass is 4’8” wide.
Tomorrow we’re going to take a look at another Lost City, we’ll look at…
Faith and Forgiveness
1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
The first road ever to be built was Via Egnatain. It was built in 145 B.C. and was the extension of Via Appia. It also joined the ancient Persian Royal Road in Adriatic into Greece and Asia Minor.
Appius Caecus created the first Great road in 312 B.C. The road was called Via Appia (Appian way). It was 164 miles long and it linked Rome to the modern Toronto. Beginning of the 200 B.C.
4 more great roads were built. They were called Via Aurelia, Via Flaminia, Via Aemilia, and Via Valeria. Via Aurelia led to Geno, Via Flaminia led to Adriatic and later joins Via Aemilia. Via Aemilia crosses Rubicon and later led to Via Valeria which led across the peninsula to the Lake Fucinus, Via Latina joins Via Appia near Capuano.
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
“Milestone” – a heavy stone for grinding grain?
“One of these little ones” – either young in the faith or young in age.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
“Seven times” – that is, forgiveness is to be unlimited, as God has given us unlimited forgiveness. No matter how many times we mess up, all we have to do is ask for His forgiveness and we get it. Yet, if we have not been forgiven when Jesus comes back you are out of luck, unless you somehow manage to make it through the tribulation.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
“Increase our faith” – Jesus’ disciples felt incapable of measuring up to the standards set forth in vv. 1-4. They wanted greater faith to lay hold of the power to live up to Jesus’ standards. You can ask for more too and He’ll give it to you.
Remember, ask and you will receive (Matt 7:7)..
6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?
8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
Romans had a complete different way of building a road. The Romans dug a trench about 1 meter deep and then the trench was filled with layers of large stones, gravels, and then another layers of sand, flint, and finally paved with flat stones. This is skill was usually used for building up just simple roads.
Another way to build roads was by building up with Earth banks called agger. Later huge stones were placed on top of the agger and when it was finished, it could be 15 meter wide, and 1.5 meter high. This system was used for making huge and famous roads.
The road surface was not leveled but they were curbed upward. This was really necessary because water puddles could freeze the construction and damage the road. This was needed for every road when it was constructing.
9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.
10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Horse-drawn chariot carved onto the mandapam of Airavateswarar temple, Darasuram, c. 12th century AD (left). The chariot and its wheel (right) are sculpted with fine details.
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
“The kingdom of God is within you” – probably indicating that the kingdom is present in the person of its King, Jesus. “Within you” could mean that the kingdom is spiritual and internal (Matt 23:26), rather than physical and external (cf. Jn 18:36).
If this is the correct view, the pronoun “you” in the phrase “within you” is to be taken in a general sense rather than as referring to the unbelieving Pharisees personally. The kingdom certainly was not within them.
If “you” is specific rather than general, it argues for the “in your midst” interpretation.
22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
“Desire to see” – in time of trouble, believers will desire to experience the day when Jesus returns in His glory and delivers His people from their distress.
23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
“Go not after them, nor follow them” – do not leave your work in order to pursue predictions of Christ’s second advent. Many in history, and even in our own day, would be spared a lot of trouble by heeding this admonition.
24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
“As the lightning” – His coming will be sudden, unexpected and public.
The Palazzo Farnese.
Rome is widely regarded as being the second Renaissance capital of Italy after Florence, and was one of the most important architectural and cultural centres of the time. It derived its main designs from the Classical models. Loggias, or open-sided galleries, were fashionable, and palaces, or palazzi often had rusticated blocks decorating the grand entrances to their houses. In churches, especially in St. Peter’s Basilica, baldacchini or a column-supported canopy, were widely used. Examples include the Palazzo del Quirinale (now seat of the President of the Italian Republic), the Palazzo Venezia, the Palazzo Farnese, the Palazzo Barberini, the Palazzo Chigi (now seat of the Italian Prime Minister), the Palazzo Spada, the Palazzo della Cancelleria, and the Villa Farnesina.
25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
“Son of man is revealed” – at Jesus’ second coming He will be plainly visible to all (1 Cor 1:7; 2 Thess 1:7; 1 Pet 1:7, 13, 4:13).
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
“Taken” – could refer to being “taken to/from destruction” or “taken into the kingdom.” What is clear is that no matter how close two people may be in life, they have no guarantee of he same eternal destiny.
One may go to judgment and condemnation, the other to salvation, reward and blessing.
The Baroque-Renaissance St. Peter’s Basilica.
Rome is widely regarded as being the epicentre of Baroque architecture, and was profoundly influenced by the movement. Roman baroque architecture was widely based on Classical symmetry and Renaissance styles, but broke many of the architectural rules, creating a far richer and more elaborate style, preferring grandiosity and opulence rather than Renaissance classicism and elegance.
However, the reference here seems to be about judgment. The context talks about the people in the flood and in Sodom being swept away to destruction. Likewise, Christ’s return, a similar separation will occur.
It would be horrible if a loved one went to hell and you went to heaven, but don’t worry if that happens because won’t know it, see Is 65:17-18.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
“One shall be taken, and the other left” – this is probably not the rapture, but a taking away to judgment as the next verse seems to indicate.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
“Where…thither will the eagles be gathered together” – a proverb. Those taken away will become a feast for eagles and other birds of prey (see Rev 19:17-18).
…Alexander the Great’s Alexandria.