My New Yorker Desk Calendar entry for Thursday, April 26 posed an interesting puzzler
If you put a coin in an empty bottle and insert a cork into the neck of the bottle, how could you remove the coin without taking the cork out or breaking the bottle?
This reminded me of a blog entry from “The Archdruid Report”, March 27, 2007. (Don’t you love the Internet? How would I have ever found this in the Orange County Library?)
Anyway, the Druid report tells of how a few hundred years ago, a clever Southeast Asian hunter devised a monkey trap by observing how monkeys think, He (or was it a she?) constructed a narrow-necked gourd and rope staked to the ground, with a chunk of the monkey’s favorite food inside. The monkey puts its little hand in to grab the food, but can’t get the food and hand out. More often than not, the monkey will keep trying to get the food out, instead of running away when the hunter appears. Short term goals instead of looking at the long run.
How would you get the food out?
Stop. If you’re thinking about it, you’re already deep into the nut of the dilemma. Einstein put if this way: There’s no use trying to solve a problem using the same thinking that got you into the problem in the first place.
While floundering around the Internet with this puzzle, I found several who tied attempts to solve our fossil fuel energy crisis by substitution instead of stepping way out of the box and coming up with another way to exist, to move, to create energy. In this respect, we’re no more advanced than the hairless monkeys about to be captured or, worse yet, eaten alive.
Now, how will you get the money out of the bottle without breaking the bottle or disturbing the cork? The answer is only a click and scroll away.