Thursday, September 14, 2006

puzzle feature!

A JFW premium subscriber from Saturnine, NY forwards the following e-mail, sent to a list of 6 fellow sociologists with no obvious relation to another other, or to the school from which the e-mail was sent:
My name is Rachel [surname].  My Sociology Professor recently posed a
question for the class and I was wondering if you could help me answer
this question.

In one word, what do the following things have in common from a sociology
view?

pigs----->railroad------>wall outlet
(If the answer isn't obvious, you can get an InvisoText hint by highlighting the space that follows:What the hell? I have no idea what these three things have in common from any view, using any number of words. If you know, for Rachel's sake, speak up!)

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know, but surely either "inequality" or "globalization" will get you credit.

lars said...

nouns.

Anonymous said...

Animal power, Steam power, Electricity!

--SocWonderBoy

dorotha said...

i hate puzzles. if i saw this, i would drop the class

marc said...

I agree with socwonderboy. Anytime I'm stuck with what to write on a sociology paper, I start with the word "power" (or inequality or globalization) and go from there.

dorotha said...

sure, SWB is probably right. doesn't mean i don't hate puzzles. grrrrrrrrr.

carly said...

But why would you use a pig for animal power? Since when have pigs pulled anything?

Non-sociologically speaking, they all make me think of parallel lines (i.e. when you draw a cartoon pig, you put little lines in his snout, the tracks of a railroad and the holes in an outlet). But that's probably just because I'm crazy.

Anonymous said...

it obviously represents a shift in american agriculture from agricultural to industrial to technological society....

Anonymous said...

and by american agriculture she means american society

marc said...

Carly, great points. I also was having a difficult time thinking "pig power" and even did a google image search of "railroad" to see if anything looked as much like a pig snout as an electical outlet did. But if we think lines on a track instead of holes somewhere then maybe we have an answer. Lines.

But then I scrapped the whole thing thinking this was a larger exercise to prove the pointlessness in navel gazing. Navel.

Anonymous said...

Carly and Marc:
You've got it but just don't know it- they all look the same head-on.
(And I don't mean "Head On! Apply Directly to the Forehead", but constant repitition of that stupid ad is probably what allowed me to figure out the puzzle).
check out
oldwest.notyourdomain.com/nv/4/images/nndeng4.jpg
and
www.budget-awnings.com/.../awnings-3.jpg
and
whiz.iki.fi/wp-content/uploads/misc/piggy.jpg

(from google image searches for "railroad engine head-on"
"electrical outlet"
"how to draw a pig"

So, for the love of desperate undergrads, quick someone email the girl fast!
-Corrie

Anonymous said...

oops, my middle link doesn't work, but it doesn't matter because we all know what an electrical outlet looks like.
-Corrie

Anonymous said...

What does the fact that they look similar 'head on' have to do with Sociology?

jeremy said...

I like the head on answer better than the power answer just because, well, I don't really associate the use of animals for power with pigs. Then again, it's not a railroad that kind of looks like a pig, but a locomotive. Of course the head on answer also doesn't make much sense given the sociology view part of the question, but maybe the instructor was just being screwy.

dorotha said...

corrie - that head on commercial simultaneously makes me laugh and fills me with rage. i mean, that part about applying directly to the forehead, that is comedy genius. but, the repetitive part makes me clench my teeth.

Anonymous said...

In the professor's example, pigs are simply symbolic of a society in which aminals are the primary source of energy/power/fuel/etc. Pigs don't have to literally be the draft animals for the sequence to make sense. Railroads symbolize a later stage (steam). Wall outlet symbolizes an even later stage (electricity). That's my take, anyway. I like the wall outlet / pig snout similarity idea, but don't think it works for railroads.

eszter said...

I can't believe no one has suggested that this be forwarded on to the Animals and Society section of the ASA for comment.

While the piggy snout and wall outlet lookalike comment is interesting, I don't buy the one about the railroad (or even the locomotive), especially regarding some important connection to sociology.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone, this is Rachel aka the desparate undergrad. I actually found out that the answer to the puzzle is standardization. At first I wrote my teacher a paper linking the three words to commodification. She said I was close and gave me a push in the right direction. Anyways rest easy now, standardization is the answer! My teacher actually gave me a printed copy of these postings with a note at the bottom saying very resourceful! Thanks for all your help!