Purple unicornThe other day I was passing through Stata when I noticed the letters QDB.MIT scrawled everywhere. QDB?? Quaking dungeon babies? Quail’s distended beak? I hurried back to my desk and visited the site. Here’s what popped up:

//Discourse on extra term in Maxwell’s equations were magnetic monopoles to exist

Prof McGreevy: …here, I’ll write it on the board in purple, because purple is the color of unicorns.

* class giggles after disbelieving pause *

Prof McGreevy: No, really. Magnetic monopoles are like unicorns – they’re perfectly reasonable things, but no one has been able to find them.

qdb.mit.edu is a database of quotes overheard in the halls, classrooms, and cyberspace around MIT. Quotes entered into the database are voted on, and the best ones rise to the top.

You might imagine shuffling down the Infinite Corridor and overhearing snippets of conversations, many of them funny and quirky and elusive—except the corridor is a Web site. That’s sort of what qdb.mit.edu is like.