His logic is pushing it



Even if he could figure out how to do fractions of a push-up each day, he’s still be up to just under 17 1/2 per day.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense — and not harmed the jokes at all — to start with one push-up a day and add on each day?

Or alternately, to start with one and double it each day until he (theoretically) ends up with something like 500 million a day?

(You know, something like this site’s current statistics, or the price of a loaf of bread in 1923 Germany?)


  1. I’m not sure the math works out right, either. Plugging this into a spreadsheet, starting at 1 and increasing by 10% each day, I get that at day 30 he will be at 17.45 pushups, not anywhere close to 90.

  2. Alternatively, if he actually meant how many he’d have done (total) by the end of the month, he’s too low. Even truncating fractions, he’d have done 166 in a 30-day month (185 for a 31-day month).

  3. Using banker’s math, he’ll do 1.1 x 1 = 1.1 push-ups the second day; but you can only do integer push-ups, so he’ll do 1 push-up. Day 3, he’ll increase the Day 2 total by 10%, so 1.1 x 1 = 1.1 push-up, rounded to 1. At the end of a year, he’ll be doing 1 push-up each day

    Using consumer-centric math, where one ‘always rounds to the benefit of the consumer’, he’ll do 1.1 x 1 rounding to 2 on the second day; 2 x 1.1 = 2.2, rounding to 3 on the third day. After a year, it’s 7,224,139,428,538,116 on the 365th day.

    With savings-account math (= Unca Scrooge’s calculation), one keeps the factor growing as 1.1^n x 1, with n = days after first day, and then round the value, and 1,166,641,436,648,540 on the 365th day.

    And that, my friends, are three ways to make Mallett’s joke less funny!

  4. “I get that at day 30 he will be at 17.45 pushups”

    Unca Scrooge, isn’t that kinda what I said?

    Just as an aside: my niece is getting married next year, and her fiancé asked whether I have any preference as to what he should call me. I told him I always wanted to somebody to call me Unca Bill.

    (Yes, we’re a family of Carl Barks fans)

  5. Except if you are true Carl Barks fans, no one nephew can call you “Unca Bill.” You need three nephews to say “Hi”, “Unca”, “Bill”.

  6. December has 31 days. He’d be at NintEEN.

    I think Mallet had someone do the math for him and he misheard?

    The 300 is accurate though. But 10% daily increase isn’t in anyway “modest”.

  7. “I think Mallet had someone do the math for him and he misheard?”

    That sounds like a good guess, woozy. Also, the 300 is pretty accurate for two 30-day months. For December & January, it’s about 368.

  8. If you round up anytime you get a fraction then you get to 93.5 (or 94) on the 30th day if I did my math correctly. Kind of close. It would be 85 on day 29.

  9. I was about to comment on the ~1700 after two months.

    There might be some way to make the math work for both one month and two months, but I think woozy got it with the mishearing.

  10. I know it’s not a CIDU, and the math is off, but I’m confused about the last panel. What does doing push-ups have to do with the world forgetting about his history assignment? The world will forget over that period regardless of what he does.

  11. Seems to me that a fraction of a push-up is simply not pushing all the way up. But then the bigger challenge would be how to ensure accuracy. I mean, on day 3, he would have to do 1.21 pushups — i.e. more than one and a fifth but less than one and a quarter. On day 4 he would do 1.331 — or just under one and a third. Perhaps some rounding would be in order after all…

  12. I used to have a piece of currency from Germany in the 20’s. It was newsprint, printed with cheap ink on only one side, and was for a million Marks (a Mark had previously been worth roughly 25 cents). It had then been rubber stamped upping it to a billion Marks. I guess all those stories are true.

  13. @ Ken – The hyperinflation that devastated the German economy in the 1920s still casts a shadow on economic policy today. Even though interest rates are now set by the European Central Bank, Germans are still noticeably sensitive to the inflation rate, and seem a little oblivious to the fact that the current danger is deflation rather than inflation.

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