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In just the first few sentences, Mankiw manages to mention (1) he's been at Harvard for almost 30 years, (2) Harvard is really cool, (3) he's a past Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, (4) President Obama just mentioned him in a speech, (5) oh yeah, the newest CEA Chairman -- Jason Furman -- was his student (yes, at Harvard), and (6) they're stil friends.

Wow. Just. Wow.

I have noticed that not only is that not frowned upon in academia, if you pull it off with a minimum of irony you get something like egotistical escape velocity.

"In my case, one example is the gasoline tax. I have long advocated higher taxes on gasoline as a way to correct for the adverse side effects of driving, such as congestion, accidents and carbon emissions."

Accidents and congestion aren't pretty well internalized?

"Egotistical escape velocity." Brilliant.

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Accidents are not so much internalized if you hit other people, no. And congestion of course have negative externalities for everyone living in the area, even if they are not driving. For one thing, it makes transportation of goods more expensive, driving up prices.

But they are internalized to drivers, mostly. Does charging victims more gas taxes help? This is my recurring problem with the taxing externalities idea: overtaxing, mispricing, using the revenues for unrelated things instead of addressing the externality.

(I also noticed Mankiw said "side effects" rather than externalities, and that should probably bother me the most about his statement)

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Congestion is a classic externality example. If you're on the interstate, you slow down everyone behind you. Un-tolled roads are tragedies of the commons.

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But keep in mind that accidents are a major cause of unexpected congestion -- often causing miles of backed up traffic on what would otherwise be a free-flowing expressway.

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I liked the article, but the first two paragraphs do feel like an attempt to build up to "egotistical escape velocity".

I agree with JWatts that the piece (while glossing over differences between economists) does make some good points about tradeoffs ... a much better frame than right vs wrong or us vs them. The first few paragraphs read like a proud pop bragging about his son, himself, and their relationship ... completely understandable, albeit a little odd to outsiders.

Why would we assume he is addressing outsiders?

Pedigree is one of the key factors of academia. Like a college football coach, he's probably addressing prospective grad students and colleagues that form the recruiting network.

(and if he doesn't do this, he's not doing his job- don't hate the playa, playa)

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It's an NYTimes piece not a brown bag at the NBER ... the intro is not that complicated, cut him some slack (on the puffy part, at least).

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They can't stand any conservative academics, even one who places moderates under a leftist.

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It takes a high degree of narcissism to write and article that is supposed to be about someone else and spend 40%+ of it talking about yourself. Another reason for ignoring Mankiw.

Furman should: (1) stop dying his hair and (2) get a decent haircut - he is not a precocious graduate student and he is not now and never has been an artist living on the West Bank. His hair is a sign of deep rooted personal immaturity.

As with narcissism, a certain degree of lack of personal hygiene is a feature in academia.

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8. What are the best pens of all time? (speculative)

The Pigma Micron is excellent but the tip does in fact deform over time; the good news, however is that all the colors write the same. Not so for the Pilot Hi-Tec-C and many similar pens, where the black and sometimes blue versions write MUCH better than the other colors, especially bright purples and reds.

As a blog commentor, you should only care about green ink.

I'm missing the joke / reference here.

I'll be charitable just this once.

http://www.tigerpens.co.uk/blog/green-ink-the-colour-of-eccentrics-and-spooks/

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I'm surprised the Lamy Safari didn't make it on there. Most of the fountain pens tested are over ~$60-$75 each; there are no value options there.

The Pentel BK77 Superb (in black, blue, red and green, IIRC). Under $2.00 CDN each, but almost impossible to find since the turn of the century in an actual retail store (they used to come in blister packs of 2, as well as singles in bulk bins in some places). I now order these by the "dozen box," in black, blue and red (never cared for the green). Everyone I loan my pen to goes "Ooooooh" when they start writing with it and threaten to walk away with it. Several have made good on that threat. Smooth as silk, nice clean lines, very slender inkline.

They're also surprisingly difficult to find on the 'Net; most of the choices I had there were from either the UK or Australia. I order 'em through one of the last existing stationery stores in Calgary, Reid's on 17th Ave.

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4. Sormland County must be quite a nice place, if the Left Party's primary concern is the cleanliness of public bathrooms...

I liked one of the comments on the article; why doesn't the council just install urinals, for men who want to stand up while pissing?

why doesn’t the council just install urinals, for men who want to stand up while pissing?

That would be logical.

You never heard of "potty parity"?

Urinals for men "discriminate" against women.

They should employ masochists that like to be peed on.

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For the pragmatic and economically minded, the durable Lamy Safari pen does just fine.

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A top pen list without even a mention of the Parker 51?

Seriously, for half of my life the Parker was THE pen to have without buying some ostentatious stone fountain pen. Who could forget the signature arrow pocket clip.

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Parker 51 was styled after the P-51. They "named" it with a number so it would have international appeal without translation.

P-51s on Iwo Jima:
http://picasaweb.google.com/7thfighter/IwoJima?authkey=Gv1sRgCIW06db_6oth&feat=email#slideshow/5299163150448181842

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2. Do the men have to provide proof of income and wear their adjusted gross income on their name tags?

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2. People who can't grasp the concept of "Necessary but not sufficient" argue that they should be valued for their intelligence.

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Roger - It will be there soon my friend: http://penaddict.com/blog/2013/3/27/my-fountain-pen-education-the-parker-51

jseliger - Concur on both accounts. As much as I love the Pilot Hi-Tec-C I prefer red and especially purple in the Uni-ball Signo DX.

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""Amid all the reports of Pixar’s sad decline, there’s one group whose voice has been underrepresented: that of our kids. So we interviewed more than two dozen children and relatives of Slate staffers, asking them to name their favorite and least favorite Pixar movies.
[...]
What explains the difference?"

Random variation over a small sample size?

Especially when 4-year-olds who have to leave a scary movie after five minutes are conflated with 12-year-olds who talk like they're writing for the SAT.

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Why are so many people wrong about Cars 1?

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I thought 2. was going to be about epistemology.

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8 - The Purple one Harold bought after crayons

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