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Archive for February, 2009

Oh, No!! It’s Jefferson’s Mammoth!!

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

So the folks who are digging the foundation for the new building at Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego have unearthed the fossilized remains of a Columbian Mammoth — a “spectacular find,” according to one of the paleontologists working at the site, and the first such find in the San Diego area. I know it’s just a coincidence, but really . . . here I’ve written this book which is all about trying to understand Jefferson’s rather mad obsession with size and scale (one manifestation of which was his lifelong search for really, really big animals), and they go and find a mammoth (the largest mammal ever to inhabit North America) under the new Thomas Jefferson Law School??!? It’s just too good to be true. The only thing that could’ve topped it is if they had found it under the Rotunda at UVA.

The Internet and Jefferson’s Moose:

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I’m going to be talking about Jefferson’s moose and the Internet today (Wednesday) at a Book Forum sponsored by the good folks at the Cato Institute. [This will be the first of a series of these book events -- and I like the fact that it's taking place at Cato, one of the places where the "Jeffersonian" view of things has found a congenial home over the past couple of decades]. Details and registration info is at the website (the event is free, but requires pre-registration if you’re going to attend in person); there will also be a live webcast (starting at noon).

It’s an interesting and specialized genre, the “book event.” I’ve got 15 minutes or so to talk, and I have to assume my audience has not read the book (yet!). So my job is to tell some sort of (brief) story about the book, and what’s in the book, that is both complete in and of itself (so that the audience takes something away from it even if they never read the book) and entirely open-ended (so that they’ll be dying to read the book and see how it all comes out). It’s no mean feat - but if I do say so myself, I think I’ve got a nice little talk ready to go. After that, there will be comments from Jeff Rosen (The New Republic/GW Law)and Clive Crook (The Atlantic/The FT). Jeff and Clive come at things from different directions — “different sides of the Atlantic,” one might say — and I have a strong suspicion they’ll have interesting things to say about what I’m trying to do in the book.

So do come (or watch) if you can; it should be fun.