Jefferson’s Library Books

A significant collection of Thomas Jefferson’s library has been discovered at Washington University of St. Louis Library.

Those books were dispersed after Jefferson’s heirs reluctantly decided to sell them at auction in 1829 to pay off Jefferson’s debts; auction catalogs survive, but not a record of who bought the books. The retirement collection is the least known of Jefferson’s libraries and one in which classics were represented in disproportionately greater numbers than politics and the law. He cataloged all 1,600 books according to “the faculties of the human mind, like memory, reason and imagination, and then classified them further. Many were in French or Italian.

“Currently Monticello and the University of Virginia have the largest concentrations of books from the retirement library, said Kevin J. Hayes, an English professor at the University of Central Oklahoma and the author of The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson. This new find would put Washington University among them. The question I would like to answer is: Do they contain any marginalia? Sometimes Jefferson wrote in his books; his marginalia would enhance both the scholarly and the cultural value of the books immeasurably.

A total of about 28 titles in 74 volumes were found in the library. Not to be snarky, but isn’t the role of the library to catalog and know what books are in their collection? A great find but kinda surprising that they have never been discovered until now. Just makes you wonder what other hidden treasures are out there in plain sight?

I was down at Monticello back in November with my family. The existing collection of books in the home’s library was pretty amazing and really reinforced Jefferson’s obsession with books, reading and learning. I look forward to hearing what interesting insights and details are discovered after researchers have had the chance to look through the collection


Have A Coke And A Smile

The folks at This American Life appear to have stumbled upon the original recipe for Coca Cola. What I want to know is their motivation and resources to dig up the original 1979 article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution that they used as the basis for the story.

Who knows how legit this is. Of course, Coke is denying everything and saying its not the “go to market” formula for the iconic soft drink.

iPad Playbooks in the NFL

CNET reported over the weekend that NFL teams like the Dallas Cowboys are considering replacing the “traditional” paper playbooks and the massive index cards coaches use to call plays with iPads or similar digital tablets.

In a lot of ways, this is exactly what tablets are meant for: easy access to data via wireless networks, high-quality photos, and portability. And from a coach’s or player’s perspective, imagine being able to quickly sort through a large set of plays, look at them in a stylish graphical presentation, see animations of them in action, and more–or to download a photo of the last play seconds later.

From a geek perspective, I think this is a super cool idea and could really be beneficial to teams – consider when they need to look up plays quickly, or check out a photo of a formation the opposition just ran. I think the hang up is that athletes and coaches are supremely superstitious animals. They like their routines, they find comfort in knowing their system so they don’t have to worry about anything else other than the game and its elements. I think there is a place for tablets on the NFL sideline, and other pro sports sidelines for that matter, but I think its going to be a bigger U/X transition than is anticipated. And thats saying nothing about the security issues that need to be factored in and managed.

via CNET News

Patience, Young Skywalker

Reviews of the new Verizon iPhone are starting to roll in.

Walt Mossberg over at All Things D has an initial review of the Verizon iPhone 4. Yes, the Verizon iPhone addresses AT&T’s most glaring flaw, the ability to actually use it as a phone, however it appears that the other elements of the device – data services, et al – are somewhat lagging.

Bottom line: In my tests, the new Verizon version of the iPhone did much better at voice calling than the AT&T version, and offers some attractive benefits, like unlimited data and a wireless hot-spot capability. But if you really care about data speed, or travel overseas, and AT&T service is tolerable in your area, you may want to stick with AT&T

From his POV, it appears it may be worthwhile to wait a bit on the new Verizon iPhone.

At the same time, MG Siegler over at TechCrunch also posted a review that was decidedly more upbeat, as he was really focusing on how the consistent Verizon signal and connectivity outweighed the speed advantages that AT&T provided:

There’s no question that AT&T’s network is faster than Verizon’s for data transfers both up and down. I’ve tried this all over the city a number of times. AT&T is faster. But, and this is a very big but, in order for AT&T to be faster, it needs to have a signal. And again, that’s simply not the case in large parts of the city. So speed or not, Verizon still wins this battle hands down in my book. I’ll take Verizon’s coverage over AT&T’s speed any day.

Conveniently, my Verizon phone contract will be up in the July timeframe which is traditionally around when Apple releases new flavors of the iPhone. And I’ve been more than happy with my Android phone so far. What to do?!? Big decisions lie ahead!

via AllThingsD and Techcrunch