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Miscellaneous Questions

Most Recent 15 Questions Answered

Question 1:

If an orange is named orange, why isn't a lime called a green or a lemon called a yellow?

Answer :

Dear Confused Citrus Connoisseur,

How oranges, limes, and lemons got their names is a fascinating question that got QB questioning the origin of all names including its own. When was QB named? Who named QB? Why was the name QB chosen? Can QB change its name? Alas, pondering those questions are for another time and place. Let’s go back to your question of oranges, limes, and lemons.

QB first needed to figure out what oranges, limes, and lemons are because QB rarely encounters any of these in the lower level of the Undergraduate Library since food is strictly prohibited. After a quick search in Encyclopedia Britannica Online, QB discovered that oranges, limes, and lemons are all types of fruits. Fruit is an important source of dietary fiber and vitamins. QB has no physical need for vitamins or food which explains why QB has never experienced fruit before. Now understanding what fruit was, QB needed to research the name origins of oranges, limes and lemons.

Searching the book Word Origins, QB found out that the name of the orange originated in northern India as naranga. The name changed to narang as the orange traveled to Persia and to Arabic naranj when it arrived in Spain. The orange’s long journey finally ended up in the southeastern town of France called Orange.

The fruit’s cross-continent journey to Orange, France was no accident because the town was the center for the agricultural trade! QB was suddenly interested in the history of this citrus centered city. Using the "Find Articles" portal on the Undergraduate Library website and searching in Academic Search Complete led QB to more information on Orange, France. According to the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Orange was an earldom probably founded by Charlemagne and even became the capital of a principality in the 12th century! Before Charlemagne, the Romans were also in the area which is evidenced today with important Roman ruins such as a triumphal arch and amphitheater. The popularity of the orange led to the fruit to be named in English after the city that had become the center of the orange trade. Orange still exists today as a town of around 28,000 people that is still considered an agricultural market center in southern France.

As a native English speaker, QB was stunned at the French influence on the name of the orange. But the French conquest on fruit names didn’t stop with the orange! The name for the citrus fruits of lime and lemon also came from southern France according to Word Origins. Lime came via "French lime and Provençal (southern French) limo" which, similar to the orange, came from Arabic limah. The origin of lime and lemon are considered to be the same with English deciding to differentiate between the two very similar types of fruit.
The common misconception of naming some fruit after their color has finally been dismissed. Instead, English speakers can thank their French counterparts for any confusion in the way some fruits are named.

Au revoir,


Sources :

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "fruit," accessed October 26, 2014, http://academic.eb.com/EBchecked/topic/221056/fruit.

"Lime". In Word Origins. London: A&C Black, 2006. http://proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/e ntry/ac bwordorig/lime/0 (accessed October 24, 2014.)

"Orange, town, France." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. (December 2013): Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 2, 2014).

"Orange". In Word Origins. London: A&C Black, 2006. http://proxy2.library.illinois.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/e ntry/ac bwordorig/orange/0 (accessed October 24, 2014.)

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Question 2:

What’s my best option for becoming a superhero?

Answer :

Holy Question, Student!,

QB is very grateful for this question. QB also fully understands your desires to become a superhero. When students are away for vacation, QB spends many hours perusing the UGL’s enormous superhero comic collections. QB believes you have what it takes to become the next superhero.

QB used Academic Search Complete to access Current Science. Luckily, Current Science has superhero aspirations similar to yours. In an article appropriately titled "How to Become a Superhero," There are a few ways in which you can begin your crime fighting journey. The first possible path to glory involves channeling your inner Aquaman. Coincidentally, scientists are developing ways that oxygen can be absorbed through a salty solution similar to water (Current Science). However, since this practice has not been perfected and you are probably lacking gills (or maybe you aren’t, in which case - good for you - QB is not one to judge) this choice may not be plausible. Another option Current Science provides could give you the endless supply of power that the Green Lantern possesses! Unfortunately, this would involve tapping into a white hole. Since white holes have not been discovered yet, QB thinks maybe you should reconsider this option.

Another option for you is taking Batman’s route. Batman doesn’t have the pesky superpowers that sets superheroes and regular humans apart. Okay, so maybe he’s a millionaire and incredibly intelligent, but that can be attained! So, how could you reach Batman’s level of "superhero-ness"? First, you’ll need to do a lot of reading. Since you’ve wasted time by only recently taking this career path seriously, you have quite a bit of catching up to do. There’s nearly 700,000 books on science and technology in the University of Illinois Library system. To help you get through all of the required reading, QB found two possible resources: Triple Your Reading Speed by Wade E. Cutler and The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas.

After you have improved your intelligence, you will still need a considerable amount of money. The Occupational Outlook Handbook lists some top paying jobs you might want to consider. Your best career options include becoming an anesthesiologist, a surgeon or a psychiatrist because all three jobs make more than $180,000 a year. Other top paying jobs are Financial Managers and Software Developers. None of these options sound appealing? QB suggests that maybe you try the lottery. According to Ronald L. Wasserstein, Executive Director of the American Statistical Association, your odds of winning the lottery are one in 175,000,000. Is tapping into a white hole sounding any better?

For other ideas, you could take a look at the movie Kick-Ass, located in the Undergrad Media Collection. You could always get some more ideas that way, although maybe something a little less violent. QB faints at the sight of blood.

To the Batmobile, Robin!


Sources :

Cutler, Wade E. Triple your reading speed. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1993. Print.

"Home : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

"How To Become A Superhero." Current Science 88.5 (2002): 7. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Oct. 2014.

Lorayne, Harry. The memory book. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996. Print.

Wasserstein, Ronald L. "A Statistician's View: What Are Your Chances of Winning the Powerball Lottery?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 May 2013. Web. 01 Oct. 2014.

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Question 3:

"Why don't banana flavored things taste like bananas?!?!?!"

Answer :

Dear Going Bananas,

QB was very excited to begin research on this question to find out why students are always trying to get rid of the banana-flavored Runts. Lacking a mouth to taste all of the banana-flavored goodness out there, QB needed to burrow into the background of banana basics to begin.

To find information on bananas and banana flavoring, QB searched in the Encyclopedia Britannica, available through the Online Reference Collection. Here, QB learned that bananas are one of the most important fruit crops in the world. Although they’ve been around for thousands of years (Alexander the Great saw bananas on his expedition to India!), bananas as we know them today are different than they’ve ever been. This is due to the fact that bananas were domesticated and sterilized to produce great quantities of the fruit clones that remain the same over long periods of time.

Unfortunately, when a disease does take hold it can wipe out an entire variety of bananas. QB found out more about banana diseases in the article "We Have No Bananas," an extensive interview with multiple banana farmers published in The New Yorker. QB learned that before the 1940s, almost all bananas eaten in the U.S. were Gros Michel bananas; during the 1940s, a disease called Tropical Race One wiped out the Gros Michel variety. Today, almost all of the bananas consumed in the U.S. are of the Cavendish variety, a banana that tastes much blander and less sweet than the Gros Michel. In the rest of the world, there are an estimated 1000 varieties of bananas varying in size, color, and flavor. With all of this variety, how do flavorists decide what "banana flavor" is?!

Now that QB knows enough about bananas to be employed by Chiquita, QB delved into the science of fruit flavorings. Banana-flavored products are made with banana flavoring that was created to simulate the flavor of bananas. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, "banana oil is a synthetic product, so named because of its odor." This banana oil, also known as isoamyl acetate, gives us banana flavoring as we know it. However, bananas themselves have many different compounds and flavors that give them their taste, so isoamyl acetate does not completely replicate the flavor of a banana. Since real banana flavor is made in nature and banana flavoring for our candy is made by scientists, it’s no wonder they don’t taste the same!

QB has never tried a banana or banana-flavored product but the consensus seems to be that bananas, while one of the most popular fruits in the worlds, make one of the world’s least favorite flavorings. The Huffington Post gets straight to the point: "Bananas are amazing and artificial banana flavoring is an abomination against taste buds everywhere" (14 Times Artificial Banana Ruined Everything). Whether you agree with this accusation or you’re stuffing handfuls of banana Runts into your mouth right now, QB hopes this research has shed some light on the topic to keep us all from going bananas.

Watching out for banana peels,


Sources :

"Banana." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 17 Sep. 2014.

"Banana." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Credo
Reference. Web. 17 September 2014.

Orchant, Rebecca. "14 Times Artificial Banana Ruined Everything." The Huffington Post.
TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.

Peed, Mike. "We Have No Bananas." The New Yorker. N.p., 10 Jan. 2011. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.

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Question 4:

In football, what is the origin of giving teams the opportunity to score extra points after a touchdown? I assume it comes from rugby, but why? Why was it decided that after scoring a touchdown, a team needed the chance to score yet another points or two?

Answer :

Dear Curious Kicker,

Having been born in 1972, QB has heard a lot about Illinois’ football triumphs (winning the Citrus Bowl in 1989; Liberty Bowl in 1994; MicronPC Bowl in 1999; Texas Bowl in 2010; and Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in 2011) and defeats (losing Illinois’ last two Rose Bowl appearances in 1983 and 2007). Despite this knowledge, QB wasn’t really sure how the rules of football originated. As it happens, while not christened "America’s pastime", football is quite popular, leading to many references both in the UGL and Main Stacks.

Back in its youth, football was quite different. It went through many versions, one of which was actually called "Ruby". The first mention of extra points that QB found was from an 1894 game in which, "touchdowns counted for four points and the kick after for two; goals from the field were worth five points if they sailed through the uprights." (Watterson, 12) QB gathered that the act of having the extra point be worth two points, made the total with the touchdown six points, making it a greater value than the later to be named "field goal". In ruby, they don’t have touchdowns, they have "try’s" which are worth five points and kicks that can equal the same. When you score a "try" you get an extra kick which is worth two points, so it is easy to see the correlation between ruby and the early version of football.

Walter Camp, who is generally considered the father of American football, summarizes the divide between rugby and football. "Being bound by no tradition, and having seen no play, the American took the English rules for a starting-point, and almost immediately proceeded to add and subtract, according to what seemed his pressing needs." (Camp, 8) So basically, the rules of football, while seeming concrete are actually fairly fluid if one looks over the entire span of football playing years.

While the football viewer has become quite complacent about the extra kick, the NFL is trying to do something about that. In the preseason this year, they experimented with moving the snap back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line, which did change the percentage of completed kicks from 99.6% to 94.3%. From the various websites QB was able to find about football, it seems that the extra kick as it is known today is not long for this world. This enforces QB’s assessment of the fluidity of sporting rules. As the game becomes easier, people look for more ways to challenge players, which is also probably why the extra point is no longer two points.

If you want a more detailed description of the origins of American football, check out Walter Camp’s book, American Football, available in the Main Stacks. With it, QB was able to avoid having to call an audible.

Always in the Red Zone,

Sources :

Breech, John. "NFL head of officiating: Extra point will be changing in 'near future'." CBSSports.com. 8 August, 2014. Web. 28 August, 2014.

Camp, Walter. American Football. New York: Arno Press, 1974 c1891. Print.

Collins, Tony. Rugby's Great Split: Class, Culture, And The Origins Of Rugby League Football. London: F. Cass, 1998. Print.

Rader, Benjamin G. American Sports: From The Age Of Folk Games To The Age Of Televised Sports. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1996. Print.

Watterson, John Sayle. College Football: History, Spectacle, Controversy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Print.

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Question 5:

How is it that "how come" came to mean "why"? How come?

Answer :

Dear Grammatical Nuance Galore
QB was astounded by your question, because QB had never thought about this query before! After all, words that people say every day are most likely the ones that are probably the least questioned by the speakers (and the least changed over time: just try reading some Anglo-Saxon poetry). But lucky for you, QB is willing to delve into the weird world of commonly used words, and figure out just how come “how come” has come to mean why.

QB decided that before doing any research at all, a definition was needed. After all, it’s hard to research the history of a word without knowing precisely what it means! And lucky for you, University of Illinois has access to the full Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which puts “how come” as the 19th listed definition under “how.”

From the OED, QB learned that “how come” is a colloquial phrase--a phrase not generally used in literary or formal circumstances. The first definition of “how come” reads “how did (or does) it come about (that)?” Not that helpful in answering your question…
But the OED also lists quotations from as far back as the first use of the word or phrase, and that sparked QB’s attention. After all, what’s better than a definition from the 1800s? And that brings QB to The Dictionary of Americanisms, accessible via HathiTrust. J.R. Bartlett defines "how come" as "How-come? Rapidly pronounced huc-cum, in Virginia. Doubtless an English phrase, brought over by the original settlers… The meaning is, How did what you tell me happen? How came it?" So QB has at least knows that the Americans thought that "how come" was an English phrase…
After some more serious searching, QB could find very little. The one thing that every dictionary appears to agree on is that the first instance of "how come" as a phrase was in 1848 and that it may or may not be connected to the phrase "how does/did it happen that." Unfortunately, it appears that QB wasn’t the only one surprised by your interest in a common, colloquial phrase. It appears that very few people are! But QB can at least clear up one grammatical nuance floating in your question: "how come" does differ from "why." When writing a why statement, such as "Why didn’t you marry?" the word "didn’t" comes before the subject, "you." In the "how come" statement, "How come you didn’t get married?" the subject will always come first.

Awaiting a question about middle English,

Sources :

"how come." The Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2013. www.oed.com. Web. 30 Aug. 2013
Bartlett, John Russell. The Dictionary of Americanisms. Cambridge: Allan and Farnham, 1859. Print.
"How Come." - Wiktionary. Wikimedia, n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2013.

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Question 6:

What is twerking? Why do people dance like that?

Answer :

Dear Just Gotta Dance,

Being an inanimate object affixed on the wall of the UGL, QB has not joined in on the recent dance craze called "twerking." However, because walls seem to be involved in an advanced display of this raunchy romp, and QB is, in fact, affixed to a wall, QB has a vested interest in discovering the answer to your question.

In an effort to answer your query, QB turned to the Oxford Dictionary Online, which can be found in the library’s reference collection. The ODO just added the verb "to twerk" in August 2013 due to the recent popularity of this bodacious boogie--just in time for QB to answer your question. According to the ODO, "twerk" means to "dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance." The recent addition of this definition caused quite a stir; when reported, newspapers and media outlets were not clear as to which one of the Oxford Dictionaries the verb "twerk" was added. But never fear. Language elitists may rest at ease--the verb "twerk" was actually added to the Oxford Dictionary Online, from which words may be easily added or deleted. This is in contrast to the Oxford English Dictionary, the leading and comprehensive authority on the English language, from which words are never deleted. In either case, no one is quite sure where the word "twerk" originated from, although there is speculation that it is a combination of "twist" and "jerk" or "work"--the best of both worlds, some might say.

So, why do people dance like that? In the Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship, and Sexuality through History, QB discovered that dance has long been considered a form of courtship and sexual expression for young people, fraught with controversy. Even the waltz was considered scandalous at its inception and "attracted considerable comment owing to the unprecedented physical intimacy it permitted the dancing couple." Although twerking has only recently come to the forefront of popular culture, QB discovered that the dance has its root in the mapouka, a sexually provocative dance popular in the Ivory Coast during the early 90s. Although this dance was banned from television in 1998 due to its sexually explicit nature, the similarities to today’s "twerking" are undeniable. Twerking came to party in the USA in 1993; the first documented use of the word is credited to DJ Jubilee in his song "Do the Jubliee All," in which he instructs listeners to 'twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk." Beyonce popularized the term in her 2006 hit "Check On It," featured on the Pink Panther soundtrack, when she enticed her audience to "dip it, pop it, twerk it, stop it." Most recently, the dance has been adopted by Miley Cyrus, who can be seen twerking…well, basically anywhere.

If your urge to twerk just can’t be tamed and you want to join in on the fun, whether in public or in your dorm room, QB requests that you practice safe twerking. Just ask Jimmy Kimmel--unsafe twerking can lead to being set on fire.

Back, Back, Backing it up,


Sources :

Newman, Sally. Ian Merrilees. Lana Thompson. "D." The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship, and Sexuality through History, Volume 5: The Nineteenth Century. Ed. Susan Mumm. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2007. ABC-CLIO eBook Collection. Web. 19 Sep 2013.

Onishi, Norimitsu. "Dance has Africans shaking behinds, and heads." New York Times 28 May 2000: 4. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Sept. 2013.

Stein, Joshua David. "Twerking, A User's Guide." New York 46.25 (2013): 38. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 Sept. 2013.

"twerk". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press, n.d. Web. 19 September 2013. .

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Question 7:

What are my chances of marrying the Royal Baby?

Answer :

Dear wannabe royalty,

QB was wondering the same thing! But, being a board, QB probably doesn’t have much of a chance of wedding the young prince, handsome though QB may be.

But perhaps QB should back up just a second. Baby George isn’t the only royal babe around. Are you indeed referring to the newly snuggled Prince George of England, born July 22, 2013? Or perhaps you pine after adorable and gorgeous Princess Estelle of Sweden, born February 23, 2012. Or maybe even one--or both--of the beautifully swaddled twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent of Denmark, born January 8, 2011. Or the stunningly gorgeous Muneerah Madhul, who being born on January 2, 2011, was a New Year’s present to the Crown Prince of Brunei and his wife.

But, given that you asked your question just days before baby Prince George Alexander Louis was born, QB assumes you mean Prince George, who is set to inherit quite a large kingdom. So, to address your question, QB has to take some factors into consideration. Firstly, QB assumes that you are, in fact, a commoner. This presents somewhat of a problem, although not one that the British Royalty hasn’t tackled before. Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, born in 1819 faced an arranged marriage he wanted nothing to do with…so he married for love! His wife, Sarah Louisa Fairbrother, nicknamed Mrs. FitzGeorge, was a commoner and beautiful dancer and was said to be very graceful--but George’s family didn’t care about her wonderful qualities. His marriage wasn’t recognized, and his children were not granted titles. Not good news for you!

Edward VIII, uncle of the current Queen Elizabeth II, faced a similar problem in his love-life. After taking the throne he fell in love with a commoner, and wanted to marry her. He told his family and the Parliament…who forced him to abdicate the throne, although he was given the title Duke of Winsor. So, if your goal is simply to marry young Prince George and not care about the throne, your chances are slightly higher!

The good news lies with little Prince George’s own father, Prince William. Prince William married Catherine Middleton, called Kate, who was, in fact, a commoner! In this case, the marriage was approved, and she was given the title of Duchess of Cambridge, and her son, of course, is now third in line for the throne, after his father and grandfather. So there is some good news!

Now for the really devastating part of QB’s answer. You’re 1 person in over 7,000,000,000 people. QB is going to go ahead and use 7 billion, just for a nice round number. Thanks to the recent law in Britain allowing same-sex marriage, QB doesn’t have to divide anything in half, and can get right down to doing some percentages. Your chance of marrying the Royal Baby of England, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, third in line for the British throne is 1.4286*10^-10. That’s a LOT of zeros before any numbers…but there is a chance!

Best of luck in your wooing pursuits,
The Royalty of The UGL,

Sources :

"Edward VIII." The Columbia Encyclopedia. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Credo Reference. Web. 21 August 2013.

"The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall." The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Name Their Baby. N.p., 24 July 2013. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.

Adil, Yusra. "Top 10 Recent Royal Births." Rich Income Ways. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.

Brown, Raymond. "Royal Baby Named as Prince George of Cambridge." Cambridge News. Cambridge Newspapers, 24 July 2013. Web. 21 Aug. 2013.

Edward M. Spiers, ‘George, Prince, second duke of Cambridge (1819--1904)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/33372, accessed 21 Aug 2013]

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Question 8:

How would you propose in Europe?

Answer :

Dear Ready for More,
Your question caused quite a conundrum because as a board, though QB loves all those who come calling to the lower level of the UGL, that love is in the spirit of friendship and intellectual exploration, rather than romance. But of course QB is happy to help answer your question about proposing in Europe. The way your question is phrased could mean several different things: For one, you may be interested in the traditions of different European cultures when it comes to asking for a person’s hand in marriage. On the other hand, perhaps you are inquiring about a specific place in Europe that may be ideal for popping the question.

To address the first possibility, QB had quite the task. There are a lot of countries in Europe, and that makes for a wide variety of courting and marriage rituals. You could consider early 19th century practices of asking your intended’s father for her hand in marriage, which, according to the Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship, and Sexuality (available in the Library’s Online Reference Collection) was then often proceeded by financial negotiations to ensure the security of the bride and future children should the husband die first. However, QB realizes the thought of bartering with your future fiancé’s father over money is a bit objectionable to people today. Another courting tradition in Europe, and one that is not as dated, comes from Ireland. As described in the book Marriage Customs of the World, during a Leap Year, and more specifically, on Leap Day, a woman can break with tradition and ask for her man’s hand in marriage. For a funny, romantic take on this tradition, consider checking out the movie Leap Year, which you can find by searching the Library’s online catalog. If you’re interested in learning about more marriage traditions in Europe and other parts of the world, the book Marriage Customs of the World is available in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library.

If, however, you are inquiring about potential places in Europe for a romantic proposal, you have many options. QB first recommends that you think about the person to whom you would like to propose. Does he/she have a dream vacation spot in Europe? Or is there a place that holds some significance for your love and his/her family? You can do something over-the-top romantic like propose on top of the Eiffel Tower, of course, but if you future fiancé is afraid of heights, QB might not recommend that option. Other popular European engagement destinations, according to theknot.com, one of the most popular wedding websites in the world, are the Luxembourg Gardens (also in Paris, France) or Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. Truly, the possibilities are endless: maybe a mountainside in Greece, a pub in Dublin, or a library in Austria. QB encourages you to think about what would be unique and special for you and your intended.

There are also some practical considerations you want to keep in mind if you’re planning to travel abroad to propose. First, if you plan to propose with a ring, be aware of customs requirements when transporting expensive jewelry. When packing, theknot.com recommends putting the ring in your carryon, wrapped in a medium-sized non-descript box, so that if you do get stopped, you don’t have to pull out the ring box and spoil the surprise. You may also plan for where and when, so that you can make sure you bring the ring with on the right day and right time. In some countries in Europe, pick-pocketing is not uncommon, so you may not want to carry your bauble with you the entire trip, lest it be lost. No matter where you choose to go, or how you choose to pop this most important of questions, QB wishes you luck, love, and happiness.

Forever yours,

Sources :

Monger, George. (2004) Marriage customs of the world: from henna to honeymoons. Santa Barbara, Calif.:ABC-CLIO

Theknot.com. (2013) 9 romantic places to propose. Retrieved from http://wedding.theknot.com/getting-engaged/marriage-proposals/articles/9-good-places-to-propose.aspx

Theknot.com. (2013) Marriage proposals: destination proposal pointers. Retrieved from http://wedding.theknot.com/getting-engaged/marriage-proposals/articles/wedding-proposal-destinations-pointers.aspx

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Question 9:

Why is folklore included in the DDS?

Answer :

Dear Obscure Observer,

QB was interested by this question, as folklore is always intriguing. Unfortunately, this question really had to be tackled in two parts, the first being what is DDS? This turned out to be a tough nut to crack. Using Gale’s "Acronyms, Initialisms, and Abbreviations Dictionary" and some Web searching, QB quickly learned that DDS might be an:

- abbreviation for Dillards, Inc on the New York Stock Exchange.
-abbreviation for Doctor of Dental Surgery.
-abbreviation for Disability Determination Service, a government agency.
- abbreviation for Department of Developmental Services.

And this is just a partial list. QB then went to Google, a great place find results for unknown knowledge, and a quick search of dds, folklore yielded about 2,580,000 and no help. Somewhere along the way QB deduced that DDS might stand for Deep Diving System. According to J. Orzech’s article "The Use of Deep-Diving Systems in Marine Research," these systems allow divers to reach deeper depths and provide an environment for divers to decompress. Power, water, and air are provided by the ship they are tethered to topside.

Or DDS could stand for the Dewey Decimal System, a classification system you might be familiar with if you visit the library. QB looked within the book Tables and index of the decimal classification written by Melvil Dewey himself (which can be found online in the catalog) and learned the folklore is interesting classified in the 300’s (398 to be exact) with the social sciences than in with the literature. Ponder that dear reader.

However, no amount of searching could lead QB to find a firm link between folklore and anything with an abbreviation of DDS. So, dear reader, please write with more information so QB can continue the search!

With Questions,


Sources :

"Acronyms, Initialisms, and Abbreviations Dictionary," Gale Virtual Reference Library. 2011. (Online)

Dewey, Melvil. "Tables and index of the decimal classification," 1885. (Online)

Orzech, J. "The Use of Deep-Diving Systems in Marine Research," OCEANS 1984 , vol., no., pp.1005-1009, 0-0 Sept. 1984 (Online)

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Question 10:

What characteristics must be present for something to be considered a "salad"? E.g. Tuna salad, macaroni salad, potato salad...

Answer :

Dear Desperately Seeking Salads,

QB was quite intrigued by your question, for it was not until that moment QB had considered the vast multiplicity of salads that exist. Though QB has never tasted salad of any variety, being without mouth, stomach, and everything else that facilitates eating, QB was determined to find an answer.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a salad can be made up of pretty much anything. Generally, salads are composed of "small pieces of food (as pasta, meat, fruit, or vegetables) usually mixed with a dressing (as mayonnaise) or set in gelatin." Another definition is "a usually incongruous mixture" or a "hodgepodge." Using these definitions, QB imagines endless concoctions may be called salads. Throw anything you want into a bowl, add some mayo, and voilà (that’s French for "way to go")! You're a salad creator.

In case you also found yourself wondering about the etymology of the word, QB discovered that "salad" comes from the Latin word "sal" or salt. Unfortunately, how humankind went from salt to tuna salad cannot be explained by this board on the wall.

If you’re interested in making some of your own salads, QB recommends you check out the cookbook collection at UGL. Make yourself a nice tomato salad using "Tomato: a Fresh-From-the-Vine Cookbook" or try something with a Southwestern kick from "Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook." If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, visit the Guinness Book of World Records website, get a few friends together, and try to best K.E.D.I Public Benefit Municipal Enterprise of Ierapetra. On June 19, 2010 the group created a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, onions, green peppers, feta cheese, olive oil, oregano, and salt, all combined and weighing over 29,000 pounds. Or you can try to out-salad the Canadians, who on August 28, 2012 put together an 11,000 pound fruit salad in an inflatable swimming pool.

Don’t let the Canadians put you to shame. Visit UGL’s Pinterest page (http://pinterest.com/askundergrad/) where there are two boards dedicated to entirely to cookbooks to kickstart your salad making career!

Wishing you the best in your salad endeavors,

Sources :

Flay, Bobby. (2007). Bobby Flay’s mesa grill cookbook: explosive flavors from the southwestern kitchen. New York, NY: Clarkson Potter Publishers.
Call Number: TX715.2.S69 F575 2007

Guinness world records. (2013). Retrieved January 22, 2013 from http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/

Lawrence, Davis-Hollander. (2010). Tomato: a fresh-from-the-vine cookbook. North Adams, MA: Storey Pub.
Call Number: TX803.T6 D38 2010
Salad. 2013. In Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved January 22, 2013 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/salad

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Question 11:

What was the first pub food? What was the first pub to serve food? Where is pub food from?

Answer :

Dear Famished Traveler,

QB was positively floored by your question because, although QB cannot enjoy pub food being merely a board on a wall, QB is admittedly a hopeless Anglophile and loves all things British.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a pub, or public house, is "a building whose principal business is the sale of alcoholic drinks to be consumed on the premises." Another word used to describe such a venue is tavern, which is derived from the Latin word "taberna." As it turns out, pubs began as Italian wine houses. Tabernas were brought to the United Kingdom when that rotter Julius Caesar invaded Britain around 55 BC.

It must be confessed that QB assumed food was always served in pubs. However, the OED explains that food was not present in many pubs until the late 20th century, and even then it was usually only available for lunch. Perhaps the most traditional English pub fare is the Ploughman’s Lunch: a thick piece of cheese, bread, and a pickle served with a cold pint. Ian McEwan even wrote a book titled The Ploughman’s Lunch (which QB imagines has little to do with the food itself); the book and the DVD based on the book can be found at UGL.

Not until recently did pubs become what they are today. Most pubs now serve a variety of dishes ranging from pretentious to classically British. Some of the classics include:

*Bangers and Mash: Even though the title of this dish harkens to mind dirty jokes, QB has heard only delightful things about this meal of sausage and potatoes.

* Fish and Chips: QB is well-versed in British and is happy to report that chips are simply French fries.

* Cornish Pasties: Think of this as an English hot pocket.

*Steak and Kidney Pie: Yes. They mean actual kidney.

If you’re interested in making some of these dishes at home, QB recommends The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook; why not get one or all of the Harry Potter movies from UGL and start saying things like “Cor blimey!” while you’re at it? Or if you’d rather go out for a bite, try Dublin O’Neill’s in Champaign. QB recommends the fish and chips, Gouda mac & cheese, and a friend to share the meal with (because QB has heard that the servings are gigantic). If you’re traveling to Old Blighty, visit The Victoria, The Fox and Anchor, or The Black Lion for an authentic and undoubtedly charming pub experience.



Bucholz, D. (2010). The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes To Knickerbocker Glory--more Than 150 Magical Recipes For Wizards And Non-wizards Alike. Avon, Mass: Adams Media.
Call #: 641.59 B854un (Residence Halls Busey-Evans Circulating Collection)

Eyre, R. (Director). (2005). The Ploughman's Lunch [motion picture].
Call #: DVD PN1995.9.S6 P56 2005 (Undergraduate Library Media Collection)

McEwan, I. (1985). The Ploughman's Lunch. London : Methuen.
Call #: 822 M158P (Music & Performing Arts Library and Oak Street Facility)

Rowling, J.K (Writer). Harry Potter and…. [motion picture].
Call # DVD PN1997.2 .H37797… (Undergraduate Library Media Collection)

Sources :

1) (2012). Independent guide to traditional english pubs. Retrieved 24 Oct 2012 from http://www.pubs.com/index.php

2) United Kingdom. (n.d.) In Encyclopædia Britannica online. Retrieved 24 Oct. 2012 from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/615557/United-Kingdom/44733/Bronze-Age

3) Public house. (Sept. 2012). In Oxford English dictionary online. Retrieved 24 October 2012 from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/154062?redirectedFrom=public+house

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Question 12:

How do I know the light in my refrigerator goes off when I close the door?

Answer :

Dear Quantum Cat,
What a fantastic question! QB was very excited to see such a multi-faceted query. QB was especially interested in the sub-questions this question introduces, such as: “does food move around when the door is closed?” which led to “do clothes move around in the closet when the door is closed? Toys?” Which of course makes QB to want to watch Toy Story, the thrilling conclusion of which is housed in the Undergraduate Library Media Collection, right across from QB’s home!
But of course, this does not answer your question. There are two answers to this question, and QB is determined to provide both.
Firstly, this question closely resembles the famous Schrodinger’s Cat problem, which the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy states as “a cat is confined in a closed chamber containing a radioactive atom with a fifty-fifty chance of decaying in the next hour. If the atom decays it triggers a relay that causes a hammer to fall and smash a glass vial holding a quantity of prussic acid sufficient to kill the cat.” In other words, the cat has a fifty-fifty chance of being dead at the end of this crazy experiment. The problem continues by saying that the cat is neither alive nor dead (this poor cat!) until the box is opened. The simple act of observation determines the result—not random chance.
Of course, this does not help you, because you cannot see into your refrigerator while the door is closed. So the other answer is simply that somewhere on the outer rim of your refrigerator is a small button or switch, which controls the light in your fridge. You can find it and test it! And if you watch closely, and close the door slowly, you can see the edge of the door touch that switch and turn the light off.
QB also guesses that you could simply remove the light from your refrigerator, which would mean that you would never have to worry about your light misbehaving again! Of course, then you might start to worry about your food hatching plans, just like Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and Mr. Potato Head.

Wishing your cat the best of health,

Sources :

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, s.v. “quantum mechanics also called quantum theory,” accessed October 13, 2012, http://credoreference.com/entry/cupdphil/quantum_mechanics_also_called_quantum_theory

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Question 13:

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?

Answer :

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, so QB turned to the Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion. As you may know, Levi Strauss is credited with making denim a widely popular choice for gold miners in the 1850s. It wasn’t until around 1900 that denim because associated with the widely known indigo dye we associate with the fabric today. Since then, denim has exploded into the nearly ubiquitous fashion implement we know today.

When it comes to issues of taste and psychology, QB’s views tend toward the social constructionist; that is, there’s not necessarily anything inherent about fashion that makes it appealing or unappealing. Rather, it’s a set of rules that people have constructed in the commons and choose to live by in a specific time, place, and context. Valerie Steele’s preface to the Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion confirms QB’s suspicion: "the study of fashion has been revolutionized, as scholars from other disciplines began exploring the intersections between dress, body, and the cultural construction of identity." Think about Renaissance codpieces and the breeches of the American revolution: you'd have a hard time being taken seriously wearing those today. QB's research in American Menswear from the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century suggests that men's pants in this day and age are considered most fashionable when they show off the desirable qualities of men's legs. Since denim is a clunky, bulky fabric, jorts often have wide cuffs that make men's shins seem skinnier. QB suspects that this may be one reason why denim shorts aren't viewed as attractive.

That isn't to say that jorts couldn't be fashionable. QB turned to EBSCO's Newspaper Source database to find up-to-date fashion information about denim shorts. QB was surprised to find several articles in fashion-forward publications like DNR and Out advertising jorts as trendy wear for the summer set, albeit jorts of the slim-fit and knee-length variety. According to Tony Sanchez of the Fox Racing brand, in the "Short Cuts" article in DNR October 13, 2008, "These are definitely not dad's denim shorts."

As for your question about health, QB could find no adverse effects from wearing denim shorts from a search for "denim" and "health" in EBSCO's Health Source Academic, although QB is not a doctor and you should consult a physician if you have a real health concern. Indeed, since denim is thick and durable, it's widely used as a protective option for clothing. QB did find that there might be adverse effects for the people manufacturing your jorts: denim sandblasting has been shown to cause lung disease in factory workers in Turkey. QB has also heard anecdotal evidence from dubious analyst and therapist Tobias Fünke that denim cutoffs have proved successful in treating "never nude" syndrome. However, QB finds no record of "never nude" in the DSM-IV, the standard reference for psychological disorders, and suggests this evidence be taken with a grain of salt...

In jort...er, short...there's no real reason for you not to wear your jorts. QB encourages you to develop your own style and make your own fashion choices. However, QB wouldn't be the first to suggest that just because something is socially constructed doesn't mean it isn't real, so if you're particularly desirous of catching a lady's eye in the warmer months, may QB suggest a nice chino short?

Corduroy-ly yours,


Sources :

Dickson, C. A. (2005). Denim. In Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Vol. 1, pp. 359-360). Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Steele, V. (2005). Preface. In Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Vol. 1, pp. xv-xviii). Farmington Hills, MI: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Hill, D. D. (2011). American menswear from the Civil War to the twenty-first century. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press.

Pallay, J. (2008, October 13). Short cuts. DNR (The Daily National Record), 38.41, 30.

Anonymous. (2007, July 30). Key spring '08 trends from Project New York. DNR, 37.31, 17.

Anonymous. (2007, May). The power of the body. Out, 15.11, 64-71.

Ozmen, C. A., Nazaroglu, H., Yildiz, T., Bayrak, A. H., Senturk, S., Ates, G., and Akyildiz, L. (2010). MDCT findings of denim-sandblasting-induced silicosis: A cross-sectional study. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source (9), 17-24.

Hurwitz, M. (Producer). (2003). Arrested development [Television series]. Beverly Hills: 20th Century Fox

Call Number :

GT 507 .E53 2005 v. 1

GT 605 .H55 2011

DVD PN 1992.77 .A7747843 2004

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Question 14:

My little sister loves the show Ghost Hunters on SyFy and swears it's real. I've heard rumors, though, that everything on the show is rigged. Is this true?

Answer :

Dear Ghost-buster,
Your spooktacular question interests QB, but because the UGL media collection does not include Ghost Hunter DVDs (a travesty on par with faking phantoms), QB is not as familiar with the show, or Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson--the plumbers-turned-purveyors of the paranormal--as your sister. However, a quick Google search for Ghost Hunter fan communities (including the message boards on The Atlantic Paranormal Society's site, the ghost hunting group Hawes and Wilson formed) showed that you are correct about one thing: Ghost Hunters is a polarizing show that has both its adoring fans and those who believe it's built on editing, staging and sleight of hand. While there is no way to tell for sure without candidly speaking with someone on the production crew (QB is still waiting for a response from Pilgrim Films), it may come down to one thing: do you believe in ghosts?

QB knows this isn't a very satisfactory answer, though, so look at the criticism. Based on an entirely unscientific survey taken from YouTube clips, the 7-hour, live Halloween special in 2008 seems to draw the most skepticism. During this episode, Wilson allegedly has his jacket collar pulled down three times by some unknown entity. However, skeptics have analyzed this clip to death (pun intended), showing that Wilson is carrying a large camera in his right hand in one scene, and then inexplicably doesn't have it in the next, but instead leaves his right hand next to the hem of his jacket, his fingers curled into a fist. Detractors say this is not only an awkward way to walk, but it would also allow Wilson to pull a string attached to his hood to make the fabric pull down. After investigating Wilson's hood, Hawes thumps his buddy's back in encouragement--also causing the hood to go down (possibly because he bumped the string).

JacketGate 2008 is just one of many questioned incidents in a show that's now in its eighth season, but while Ghost Hunters has plenty of detractors, Hawes and Wilson claim to be the biggest debunkers of them all. "If it may be haunted, we try to disprove the haunting," Wilson told the New York Times in 2009 about their mission when going into a hunt. Only when they can't discover alternate explanations for strange occurrences will the duo cede that a paranormal activity--or even a haunting--may be happening.

QB also thinks it's relevant to point out that the SyFy network describes Ghost Hunters as a "docusoap," or a documentary that has personal story lines and narratives, and is still a form of entertainment--regardless of whether the hunts themselves are real or staged. Also, this show has spawned three spin-offs, has a merch line available from SyFy, and was originally created by the dudes behind American Chopper. Would it be reasonable to assume that the show needs to remain entertaining with a certain level of creep-factor to maintain this success? QB thinks yes. However, Hawes and Wilson have been investigating paranormal activity since the early '90s through TAPS, so QB also recognizes that they have a lot of experience (scientific or not), and have more than likely encountered some events they couldn't explain.

Either way, this brings QB back to the question: Do you believe in ghosts? It's going to be nearly impossible for QB to prove either way if Ghost Hunters has any staged components. However, QB can point you in the direction of resources for your own further research. UIUC has an extensive collection dealing in the paranormal. The Mandeville Collection in the Occult Sciences--most of which is housed in the Main Stacks or the Education & Social Sciences Library--covers physical phenomena and research, including apparitions and mediumship. Perusing some of this collection, QB came across Ghost Hunting: How To Investigate the Paranormal and How to Hunt Ghosts: A Practical Guide, each of which outline types of hauntings and spirits, recommended equipment and tips for hunts, and how to record what you see (or don't see). QB also recommends thumbing through The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal, which is available in the ESSL reference collection, and offers scientific explanations for everything from spontaneous human combustion to poltergeists. Now that you're armed with a few guides, QB suggests you actually go out and get your ghost hunter on: Pick up a copy of Field Guide to Illinois Hauntings, also available in ESSL, for a list of places to stake out in the area--starting with the University's very own English building, the central foyer of the Psychology building, or the basement of the University YMCA (all listed as haunted hot spots). Perhaps what you find will further your opinion on the authenticity--or artificiality--of Ghost Hunters.

Yours here and from the beyond,

Sources :

"The Atlantic Paranormal Society." http://www.the-atlantic-paranormal-society.com/

Auerbach, L. (2004). Ghost hunting: How to investigate the paranormal. Berkeley, CA: Ronin.

"Ghost Hunters" on SyFy. http://www.syfy.com/ghosthunters/

Graczyk, J. & Boonstra, D. (2001). Field guide to Illinois hauntings. Alton, IL: White Chapel Productions.

Kelly, L. (2004). The skeptic's guide to the paranormal. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press.

Stelter, B. "'Ghost Hunters' Seeks Spirits and Ratings." The New York Times. Nov. 10, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/arts/television/11ghost.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&sq=ghost%20hunters&st=cse&scp=1

Warren, J.P. (2003). How to hunt ghosts: A practical guide. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Call Number :

133.1072 Au34g
133.109773 G753f
130 K295s
133.1 W251h

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Question 15:

Is saying that a man invested in you a weird thing to do?

Answer :

Dear Investment Dater,

Although in the business world the term investment refers to “the acquisition of an asset for the sole purpose of producing future monetary income” (i.e. putting money in, getting money out), it’s not weird to say that you invested in a man, or a woman, or that they invested in you. The phrase “investing in someone” is an idiom: you “invest” in people of all types, from work relationships to romantic relationships. The idiomatic use expands the financial definition of investment to include different types of input and output: investing in someone means “to put money, time, effort, etc., into someone or something, hoping for a return.”

But why do we use this particular monetary idiom to talk about relationships? The metaphor makes sense! You don’t need an MBA to make an emotional investment (and, side note, you don’t make nearly as much money from your relationship investments as those Wall Street folks do), but it’s not all that different from a monetary investment.
A relationship, like a retirement fund, house or car, is something you put money, love, time, etc. into, hoping to get money, love, time, etc. in return—this is called return on investment and is a basic principle of finance. Furthermore, investment also implies risk. When you put money into something you risk losing it all, when you put emotional dollars (or even just time) into something, you similarly risk losing it all—and wind up with that sinking feeling that you’ve wasted your time. In spite of risk, you still make investments if you can determine that the ROI will be worth it. In business terms, this idea is referred to as the risk-return tradeoff and has been much-studied in order to determine optimum levels of both risk and return for various types of investments.
QB is willing to bet the risk-return tradeoff and all the rest of the fancy pants analyst theories and equations can actually explain why humans invest in other humans. Think about it: the risk is that you’ll be crushed by your crush, but the return is that you will have a successful, monogamous, relationship possibly resulting in the onward march of humankind (whether you procreate, adopt, foster parent, or anything else!). Pretty big return for what, in the end, is not too big of a risk.

Financially yours,

Sources :

The Free Dictionary http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/investing
"Risk-Return Tradeoff." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A. Darity, Jr. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. 255-256. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.
"Investment." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 495. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Apr. 2012.

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