How many days are there in a week?

Believe it or not, the answer to this question became the subject of a very heated exchange on a site devoted to fans of bodybuilding. Like all great philosophical debates it all stemmed from asking, as Socrates so often did to provoke deep thought among his pupils, a simple question that you might have felt had a straightforward answer. In this case, the question was: If you exercise every other day, how many days a week are you doing it?

The argument raged on and on and is quite hilarious.


  1. says

    This probably explains that attraction of Religion: you can ignore the sabbath! then it works out nicely as three which (and here is the clincher) is the Biblical value for π!!!*

    * actually this has always struck me as a bit unfair—the Biblical passage has always struck me as an approximation, “Nyeah! It’s about three times bigger round…”

  2. moarscienceplz says

    I was sorely tempted to accuse them all of ‘roid rage, but then I remembered that nearly every internet discussion devolves into hyperbolic insults.
    I’m just amazed that these people seem to have no difficulty fitting a serious workout into any day of the week. Do they all have a staff of servants to wash their clothes and cook their meals and clean their homes? Or are they all unemployed?

  3. Holms says

    More likely part time employed, or they have a gym that is open late enough that they get in a solid few hours after work.

  4. Katydid says

    A decade ago I worked with a guy who was a dedicated bodybuilder. He managed it by sneaking off several times a day for about an hour each time to work out in the privately-owned gym next to our office. He didn’t let any pesky thing like work slow down his workout. He’d come back from his workout smelling gross and use the office microwave to make some foul concoction--he claimed he ate 8 times a day.

  5. Mano Singham says


    I sometimes ask people a fun question based on the fencepost error. If a clock takes 5 seconds to strike 6, how long does it take to strike 12?

  6. Marnie says

    I said this elsewhere and I’ll say it here, reading that thread was like reading Gone Girl; everyone in it is wrong and terrible but one person was definitely the most wrong and terrible.

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marnie @9 :

    everyone in it is wrong and terrible but one person was definitely the most wrong and terrible.

    Like a US election!

  8. Grumpy Cthulhu (just woke up) says

    richardelguru @2:
    There is actually another possible explanation for “pi = 3 in the bible”. The object is described as:
    -- 30 cubits = 540 inches circumfence
    -- 10 cubits = 180 inches diameter
    -- 1 hand breadth = 4 inches thick
    with best guesses for the current equivalents of the old units. If you measure the bowl circumfence inside the bowl, you get a reduced radius of 86 inches (90 -- 4), which leads to a value for pi of about 3.14. But anyway, whether this is true, it’s just an approximation, or it’s a real mistake, there are better points to attack the bible than the value of pi (genocide and slavery come to mind).

  9. Robert B. says

    The numbers in that passage are all even multiples of ten. In other words, the figures given have only one significant digit, and at that level of accuracy, pi is three.

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