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If one plots out the circle drawn by the range of Project X, one finds that the centre is in or near the town of Waterloo, Iowa. Given the length that Miss Rand went to in order to specify the range of Project X, which was more than was necessary to specify the inclusion of the Taggart Bridge within it, what significance can we infer from this? A reference to Napoleon's defeat seems too much of a stretch to fit.

asked Oct 23 '10 at 07:21

JJMcVey's gravatar image

JJMcVey ♦

edited Oct 23 '10 at 11:08

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

Of course, all we can do is guess. It's a very small, throw-away comment, which could have been made for any trivial reason. But here are a few thoughts...

I'm sure Ayn Rand drew a circle on the map to sketch out the perimeter. She surely selected carefully how to describe it in an offhanded manner (not giving the 1957 equivalent of GPS data), but clearly enough for anyone who bothered to look at a map and concretize her description.

— I grew up within an hour of Waterloo, IA. It is a teeny-tiny little burg, a quaint sort of place that looks like a model train set. I'm sure Ayn Rand didn't know that first-hand, but she might have guessed it from the map. The idea that such a place would be in the path of destruction from forces WAY beyond the purview of local town-gossip politics and Elmer-Gantry churchgoers is precisely the kind of mixture of the high and the low which Ayn Rand was brilliant at.

— I doubt she meant any sort of multi-layered reference to the facts and details of Napoleon's defeat, but I'll bet the reference is relevant in a non-specific way. With apologies to my high school friends from Waterloo, the idea of naming a tiny town in rural America after the site of one of history's most important battles is fairly absurd. Just saying the name "Waterloo, Iowa" should evoke a certain surrealism, which I would bet AR intended.

— The name "Waterloo" is a fairly worldly reference. I don't know the history of the naming of that town, but it has to have been in response to the battle. This belies the notion that rural Americans are lowbrow hicks, suggesting in yet another way the mixture of the high and the low, the idea that big events and ideas are relevant to "the little people."

answered Oct 24 '10 at 05:07

Robert%20Garmong's gravatar image

Robert Garmong ♦

Waterloo Iowa got it's name on a whim from a local resident in 1851. The guy was looking through a list of place names in the US. It's one of 26 waterloo's in the U.S., and appears to be the largest. (All from Wikipedia.) No clues there.

(Oct 25 '10 at 07:22) John Hoffman ♦ John%20Hoffman's gravatar image

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Asked: Oct 23 '10 at 07:21

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Last updated: Oct 25 '10 at 07:22