A message from QB

Dear Inquisitive UGLers: Last week you may have noticed a whiteboard near the UGL’s entrance. This was Question Board’s more mobile cousin, Whiteboard, sent as a scout to ask you one simple question. The question was: Can you stump QB? Many riddles were posed, and QB has answers for some of them – but for others, your help is needed. Read on to help QB conquer these confounding queries.

Can you stump QB?

Well, can you?

First is this riddle, which QB feels quite confident about:

When I was young, I wear white
When I was a teen, I wear green
Now that I’m hot, I wear red
Who am I? Please address!

One intrepid member of Club UGL already put forth an answer on dear cousin Whiteboard, saying that the answer was ‘Strawberry…’ but then the original riddler responded with this:

This came quite close, but I am not.
For strawberry’s sweet, but I am hot.
You have given quite a close try
So I reward you with a smile

The written question is accompanied by a charming smiley face.

Look at that smile.

QB, driven by the idea of smiling rewards, would like to put forth that the answer to this riddle is perhaps….a pepper? Yes, that sounds right. QB is pretty sure of the answer for this one, as well:

What falls but never breaks?
What breaks but never falls?
Answers are connected.

QB doesn’t even need any incredibly useful library resources to pull off this one. The answer is as clear as night and day, because it is night and day. Night falls, and day breaks. QB is clearly on a roll here. QB can roll, too! Are you listening, Whiteboard?!

This riddle was also answered by an intrepid student…what do you think of their answer? QB thinks they’re close…if you have input, let QB know in the comments.

Three men are abducted and held hostage. The captor tells them he will set them free if they can solve this puzzle. He blindfolds the men, and each is wearing a hat, and stations them along a staircase – one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom. On the captor’s cue, they remove the blindfolds. There are two kinds of hats: red & white. The goal is for one of the prisoners to correctly identify which color hat they are wearing. They maynot remove the hats. The hats have been randomized so that there is either 1 red + 2 white or vice-versa. The prisoners must remain facing forward or else they will be executed. How will they survive? They also may not speak for any reason except to guess.

The student provided answer was:

If they can walk, then they can switch positions. The one that sees two red/white hats know they must be wearing the other hat.

That make sense to QB..do you have any other possible solutions? Very intriguing. Also intriguing is this final riddle, which QB has thought and thought on, but still has no answer for…

I am black as night
Then I am red and bright
Then I am grey and bright
Who am I?
Can you get it right?

If you can figure it out, please share your wisdom with QB in the comment section. And if you can come up with further riddles and ridiculous (though very interesting) questions, remember to get them to QB via the QB online form. From the QB page you can also browse other questions and QB’s lovingly researched answers. Another option is to visit QB in the lower level of the UGL and read answers there. …Please. Follow cousin Whiteboard down here. QB is so lonely.

Thanks to special guest blogger Question Board!

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The Best of QB

You’ve all walked past the famous (and recently restyled) Question Board, affectionately known as QB, at some point. You may have marveled at QB’s magical powers of research and punnery. Now, as the leaves turn, the weather gets colder, and movie critic fingers tap out best-of lists, we’ve got a list of our own: the three best answers from Question Board, plus a surprise!

(Looking for the full text of these QB winners? Visit the QB archive!)

Let’s start with what QB is best known for. No, it’s not hilarious references. It’s using library resources! There are a few contenders for the best use of library resources, but last year, QB answered a question about the wide, weird world of jean shorts, and came out the other side with more knowledge than you can shake a sewing needle at. QB personally told the bloggers here at the UGL that this research is a particular point of pride for QB. Let’s take a look at the question, shall we?

Vintage photo of young women harvesting cabbage

These ladies are looking pretty suave in their jean shorts.

“Dear QB: Why do most women consider denim shorts (or ‘jorts’) on males to be unfashionable? Is this a psychological or neurological phenomenon? Also, are there any known health effects associated with wearing denim shorts?”

QB was able to answer this question with style galore, although without wearing a pair of jorts:

“Dear Fashion Forward:

QB was quite pleased to get your question. Not having legs, QB has never worn a pair of jorts, although QB suspects they may be quite comfortable. To start with, QB thought it might be wise to get some background information on denim in general…”

The fully-covered answer can be found here on the QB website. But QB isn’t just known for looking good while doing research; QB is also a pun machine. Let’s take a look at the answer to this burning question:

“Dear QB: There are so many squirrels on this campus – but where is all their poop?!”

QB’s answer began as such:

“Dear Scatman,
While squirrels may be ubiquitous on the UIUC campus, credible, scholarly information about their defecation habits is most definitely not. QB searched long and hard through the resources available in the University of Illinois library system and was unable to come up with even the faintest whiff of research on the subject…”

You can find the entire punfully entertaining answer revealed here. And if you’re looking for more squirrel info, QB has sent this squirrel to the reference librarians pretty often, and seems to find it funny.

In the land of the library there live many very proud nerds of all kinds. We here at the blog would like to give QB a shout-out for musically nerding it up while answering this question:

“Dear QB: Did the Obama’s political allies assassinate Tupac in order to prevent Tupac’s presidency?”

Sad cartoon character in headphones

We miss you, Tupac. (Image courtesy of kreezzalee on Flickr)

QB responds thusly:

“Dear Conspiracy Theorist,
QB applauds your keen eye in looking back at 1996… the year that saw the death of Tupac Shakur on September 13th…work your way through biographies of all the major players (the libraries here on campus have books on Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, and Suge Knight…”

Such research (found in its complete form here)! And presented in such beautiful style!

This brings us to our surprise: the podcast. Didn’t you know we have podcasts? You’ve been missing out! Hear all the voices of QB on iTunes here and subscribe to listen to QB’s magnificent answers. Don’t have iTunes? No problem—QB makes sure that there is always a podcast up and ready online, right above the text of QB’s answer. Our favorite (and one of QB’s as well) answers the age old question:

“Dear QB: How come you can’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze? Is your body protecting your eyes from popping out?”

Find the podcast here and listen to your heart’s content.

So there you have it: QB’s top three answers—and a magnificent podcast to boot. Visit QB on the lower level of the UGL anytime for more thoughtful answers, or check out QB on the UGL website.  If you’ve got your own questions, don’t be shy—ask QB! QB is ready and raring to answer your most pressing and random questions. Anything you’ve ever wondered about but were too confused or embarrassed to look up yourself – QB can handle it for you.

Got a research question? QB is a busy board answering all your trivia questions. Try the Undergraduate Library Research Desk on the upper level or use our Ask-A-Librarian service online!

Special thanks to guest blogger Zoe Weinstein.

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QB Gets a Facelift!

You may’ve noticed something different about the UGL. No, it’s not the rearranging of furniture to make way for the awesome Media Commons (more on that later, though). No, it’s not the new super-sweet online group reservation system. If you make your way to the lower level, tip your hat at the 41-year-old Question Board and QB’s fabulous new makeover!

The  board has forms and folders for you to submit your question old school style.

For the first time in about 10 years, the beloved QB has a great new look.

Old QB questions were hard to read and enjoy.

Old QB, looking a bit staid…


New questions are now presented in a colorful, eye-catching way.

And now, it’s all shiny and bright!
QB now features neat new graphics with such enticing questions as:

Fun images also accompany new questions.

  • What’s involved in requesting the services of an exorcist?
  • Do milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard?
  • What, exactly, is the story of pub food?
  • Are mushrooms healthy?

Want to know the answers? Check out QB’s website! But fear not—full questions and answers live on QB’s board, too, so you’ll have something to read in person, too! If extra reading isn’t your thing–but you’re still curious about these questions–you can also listen to the QB podcasts, available on the QB site or iTunes. Boom.

QB is re-energized and is waiting to answer your most pressing and random questions, so if you’ve ever wondered something but were too embarrassed to ask or too busy to look it up, QB will do it for you! QB knows no bounds. Stop by the lower level and check out the new digs!

Got a research question? QB is a busy board answering all your trivia questions. Try the Undergraduate Library Research Desk on the upper level or use our Ask-A-Librarian service online!

Special thanks to guest bloggers Chris Diaz and Zoe Weinstein.

No really, the new board is very pretty.

Go ahead. Ask QB!

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QB: Answering your questions for more than 40 years.

QB questions can be read in person at the QB board on the lower level.

QB: The amazing genderless question-answerer

Got a burning question and don’t want to ask a librarian (or ask-a-librarian)?  Why not ask QB?

QB is the Undergraduate Library’s anonymous question-answering service.  Established in 1972 as part of the UGL’s reference services, QB has answered thousands of questions submitted by library patrons.  You can still submit your questions the old-fashioned way: by filling out and depositing a question form on the physical Question Board (pictured above, and located on the lower-level of the UGL across from the media collection).  Or, you can send your questions to QB online, if that’s your preference.  Either way, QB will try to get to your questions ASAP (but please be patient, folks, as QB’s services are in high demand, and QB needs time to provide you with the quality, witty responses you’ve come to expect).

Not sure what kinds of questions to ask QB? Some awesome topics QB has tackled include how to kill an immortal, whether blondes have more fun, how to become a ninja, whether Santa Claus is real, why the Greek system is Greek, and many more answers as well.

Here’s a random sampling of some of our favorite questions from this past year (and some choice snippets of QB answers… click on the linked answers to read the full responses):

Question: If you have ever been on the Bardeen (Engineering) Quad, you may have noticed that the paths cutting across it are rather indirect. Why does the Engineering Quad have these swoopy, inefficient paths, while the Main Quad has direct, straight-line connections between its buildings?

Answer: …Looking back into campus history, QB notes that before the plan for the quad, the area was meant to be used as experimental horticulture grounds. Although that didn’t happen, in 1871 a plan for the area included curved (not straight) paths surrounded by gardens. The University, however, decided against it because of, among other things, the possibility that “rowdy boys” would be “incited to mischief by the opportunity presented.” QB usually sees students at their most studious and is amused to hear about the danger they may have posed to plant life in bygone years…

Question: I’m considering buying my girlfriend some jewelry and I am all about saving money. Can girls honestly tell the difference between real diamonds and cubic zirconium? What are the odds she will find out that the cubic zirconium is not real diamond if I tell her that it is a real diamond?

Answer:  When it comes to love, Cheap, honesty really does tend to be the best policy. Chances are, you’re a college undergrad. Do you think your girlfriend doesn’t know you’re broke? If you really want to impress her, give her a gift from the heart. Short on ideas? Why not check out _The Idiot’s Guide to Making Great Gifts_, available here in the Undergrad Library.

Question: How do magnets work?

Answer: Throughout time, your question has been posed by scientists, scholars and–most recently–Juggalos. That’s right, Magnetic: Insane Clown Posse also asked this question in their song, “Miracles,” which first appeared on their 2009 album, “Bang! Pow! Boom!”. A video for the song was released in 2010, and the verse “I see miracles all around me / Stop and look around, it’s all astounding / Water, fire, air and dirt / F@$*ing magnets, how do they work?” drew quite a bit of attention, spawning an internet meme, a “Saturday Night Live” spoof and polarizing audiences worldwide. Regardless of the musical relevancy of “Miracles,” however, the question still remains: Magnets–how do they work?

So come along and drop QB a line today. You know you want to!

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