Fire waterfall and Railroad Tracks...

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Hi Folks,

A rare sight!! Yosemite National Park, California , USA

This park was gazetted as a national park in 1890. It is world famous for its rugged terrain, waterfall and century-old pine trees. It covers 1200 sq km and the "fire" waterfall of El Capitan is one of the most spectacular of all scenery. The spectacular view of the waterfall is created by the reflection of sunlight hitting the falling water at a specific angle. This rare sight can only be seen at a 2-week period towards the end of Feburary. To photograph this rare event, photographers would often have to wait and endure years of patience in order to capture them. The reason is because its appearance depend on a few natural phenomenons occuring at the same time and luck.

1st, Is the formation of the waterfall - The water is formed by the melting of snow and ice at the top of the mountain. It melts between the month of December and January and by the end of February there might not have much snow left to melt.

2nd, is the specific angle of the sunray hitting the falling water - The sun's position must be exactly at a particular spot in the sky. This occurs only in the month of February and at the short hours of dusk. If it is a day full of clouds or something blocking the sun, you can only take pictures of your own sorry faces on the waterfall. It coincides with the fact that the weather in theNational Park at that time of the year is often volatile and unpredictable. It compounds the difficulty of getting these pictures.Someone did !!! And we all get to see it !!!

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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 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, 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 ass. And you thought being a horse's ass wasn't important? Ancient horse's asses control almost everything...
and you could say that the 'Current' Horses Asses in Washington are controlling everything else ......



Cheers from the land of the Tartan, Love Kate xxx.