Spain—Day 3

One thing I´m noticing is that a lot of Spanish doors have the doorknobs located in the middle of the door, and not as far out from the hinge as is practical.

I can only conclude that the Spanish, while lovely people, don´t know shit about physics. Bear with me; I´ll be brief.

Here is a picture of the (extremely heavy) door to my hostel. Notice the positioning of the doorknob. Now, what it takes to open a door is both a moment and and angle: torque, we call this. In this case, the torque required to open the door is a function of several things, chiefly the weight of the door and friction of the hinges. Now, the amount of force we need to generate to produce this torque is given by the equation T = r x F, where T is torque, F is force, and r is the length of the lever arm. Archimedes, a ridiculously smart Greek dude who lived about 2300 years ago, famously said, “Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the Earth.” Of course, he said it in Greek. Probably while wearing a toga. Basically, with the proper application of leverage, any amount of torque can be created.

What´s going on in Spain is a reverse Archimedes—they´re making life hard on themselves. And, for the next month, ME! Not that I can´t use the exercise. It´s just the inefficiency of the thing that´s maddening. Watch below as I demonstrate with numbers how it is twice as hard to open doors in Spain as in the US:

So, as you can see, given these totally made up numbers (which I considerately translated into english units so no one has to mess with Newton*meters, the SI unit of torque), it requires twice as much force to open the same door with the doorknob located in the center of the door as it does when it´s located on the outside. Preposterous!

Also, I saw the Royal Palace, Opera House, and a place called Museo de Jamon (literally, museum of ham—yes, it was delicious) today. In my tour group was a dude from Santa Monica and a girl from Houston. Planning on hitting a pub crawl tonight, right around lunchtime for you Americans.

Spanish for the day: “Puedes repetir, por favor.”
Translation: “Can you repeat that, please?”

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