Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘facts are stupid things

Weekend Links!

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But at least one line in the tax form gives pause: The college lost roughly $4-million in investment income compared with the previous year, for unknown reasons. That year the college posted a deficit of $3-million, compared with a $325,000 deficit the previous year. I certainly hope someone follows up on that little oddity.

* Of course, it’s not entirely insane: How Larry Summers lost Harvard $1.8 billion.

* Academia and the Advance of African Science Fiction.

* SimCity, homelessness, and utopia.

It seems we all now live in a Magnasanti whose governing algorithm is to capture all work and play and turn them not only into commodities but also into data, and to subordinate all praxis to the rule of exchange. Any data that undermines the premise that this can go on and on for 50,000 years, has to be turned into non-data. If there’s work and play to be done, then, it’s inside the gamespace that is now the world. Is there a way that this gamespace could be the material with which to build another one?

* Parenting and the Profession: Don’t Expect Much When You’re Expecting.

Higher Education and the Promise of Insurgent Public Memory.

While the post-9/11 attacks have taken an even more dangerous turn, higher education is still a site of intense struggle, but it is fair to say the right wing is winning. The success of the financial elite in waging this war can be measured not only by the rise in the stranglehold of neoliberal policies over higher education, the increasing corporatization of the university, the evisceration of full-time, tenured jobs for faculty, the dumbing down of the curriculum, the view of students as customers, and the growing influence of the military-industrial-academic complex in the service of the financial elite, but also in the erasing of public memory. Memory is no longer insurgent; that is, it has been erased as a critical educational and political optic for moral witnessing, testimony and civic courage. On the contrary, it is either being cleansed or erased by the new apologists for the status quo who urge people to love the United States, which means giving up any sense of counter memory, interrogation of dominant narratives or retrieval of lost histories of struggle.

* Precarious / Stability.

158 Private Colleges Fail Government’s Financial-Responsibility Test.

* Down to zero in Arizona.

* The gangsters of Ferguson. But even this is still not “proof!”

The Ferguson PD is NOT medieval. It’s modern white supremacy.

Judge who invented Ferguson’s debtor’s prisons owes $170K in tax.

* It’s Not Just the Drug War: Progressive narratives about what’s driving mass incarceration don’t quite add up.

Sotomayor May Have Saved Obamacare.

A video poker machine dealt Justin Curzi a strange hand. Now he’s calling the Oregon Lottery’s bluff.

* Designing The Grand Budapest Hotel with Marquette alum Adam Stockhausen.

Why Is Milwaukee So Bad For Black People?

* “Rahm Emanuel pays the price for not pandering.” Why should the poor man be voted out of office just because his policies are horror-shows that no one likes?

* A corrupt politician from New Jersey? What will they think of next?

* Wow: Ringling Bros. Circus Will Stop Using Elephants By 2018.

* Life imitates Breaking Bad.

Cities Are Quietly Reviving A Jim Crow-Era Trick To Suppress Latino Votes.

Hartford, CT says friends can’t room together unless some of them are servants.

This Is What It’s Like To Go To Prison For Trolling.

* Brianna Wu vs. the Troll Army.

* Short film of the weekend: “Chronemics.”

* Gasp! Science proves men tend to be more narcissistic than women.

The Time That Charles Babbage Tried To Summon The Devil.

Mary Cain Is Growing Up Fast.

Wellesley Will Admit Transgender Applicants. Planet Fitness Under Fire For Supporting Trans Woman, Kicking Out Transphobic Member. Students seeking to redesignate restrooms as “all gender” face harassment and police detention at UC Berkeley. US Army eases ban on transgender soldiers.

* The headline reads, “Decades of human waste have made Mount Everest a ‘fecal time bomb.’”

Colonization: Venus better than Mars?

* On Iain M. Banks and the Video Game that Inspired Excession: Civilization.

* Get it together, Millennials! “Millennials like to spank their kids just as much as their parents did.”

The Catholic Church Opposes the Death Penalty. Why Don’t White Catholics?

What’s Next After “Right to Work”?

* David Graeber talks about his latest book, The Utopia of Rules.

* The Pigeon King and the Ponzi Scheme That Shook Canada.

Conservative columnist can’t mourn Nimoy’s death because Spock reminds him of Obama. Is there nothing Obama can’t destroy?

* 9 Social Panics That Gripped America.

How Unsafe Was Hillary Clinton’s Secret Staff Email System?

* To whatever extent Doctor Who series 8 was a bit rocky, it seems like it’s Jenna Coleman’s fault.

* Making teaching a miserable profession has had a completely unexpected effect.

Why Are Liberals Resigned to Low Wages? What could explain it?

Is Yik Yak The New Weapon Against Campus Rape Culture?

* Tilt-shift effect applied to Van Gogh paintings.

* They say we as a society are no longer capable of great things.

* And the kids are all right.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

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All Your Christmas Eve Eve Links

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* De Blasio and the police. Some amazing stuff in there.

According to a former de Blasio aide, during the general election campaign in 2013, de Blasio’s team was even convinced that members of his police detail were eavesdropping on his private conversations in his city-assigned car. Things got so bad that de Blasio, according to the staffer, would step into the street to make sure he was out of earshot of plainclothes officers.

NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

The NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women. Slimy Baltimore FOX Affiliate Caught Faking “Kill a Cop” Protest Chant. The absolute bad faith of blaming protestors.

Die-ins demand that we bear witness to black people’s fears that they’ll be next.

* “The Cossacks were never funny. Cops never are. I invite you to imagine the international outrage and American horror, had one of Putin’s police choked an innocent man to death on camera for the crime of selling loose cigarettes.”

* For Tamir, who was stolen.

* Ex-Milwaukee Cop Who Shot Unarmed Man 14 Times Will Not Be Charged. The National Guard has been on alert for the city since the weekend. A statement from the ACLU. “It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you. And at HuffPo: Why I Was Arrested Standing Up for Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee.

“Ya’ll Ain’t Hearing Me”: White Liberalism and the Killing of Aura Rosser.

Charges Expected To Be Filed Against MOA Protest Organizers.

* The idea of “police reform” obscures the task. Whatever one thinks of the past half-century of criminal-justice policy, it was not imposed on Americans by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are, at the very least, byproducts of democratic will. Likely they are much more. It is often said that it is difficult to indict and convict police officers who abuse their power. It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values. The three most trusted institutions in America are the military, small business, and the police.

* Which is not to say that the security state isn’t somehow finding ways to stretch even the long leash it’s been given.

* And W. Kamau Bell has a one-off podcast on Earwolf called “Coptalk.”

Sorry, I know that was a lot of police links today. Some other stuff I’ve been looking at:

The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling last week that could clear the way for much more unionization of faculty members at private colleges and universities.

There Is No Higher Ed Bubble. Yet. I think I’d maybe like to hear more about how “eventually artificial intelligence will basically wipe out the demand for higher education completely” before I sign on to this part of the proposition all the way.

* Facts are stupid things: New Congress Dumping CBO Chief To Clear Way For Special GOP Budget Math.

How Vermont’s single-payer health care dream fell apart.

* Jacobin looks ahead to the new Cuba.

* Markets in everything: Rare book investment trust believed to be Ponzi scheme.

Which Jobs Have the Highest Rates of Depression?

* What 2000 Calories Looks Like.

* 101 Critical Theory Books That Came Out in 2014. As a society we probably could have gotten away with just the clean one hundred.

* An empirical study of heterosexual college sex practices based on a six-year survey.

* The Sony hack has cancelled what I bet would have been a great comic adaptation of Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. At least I’ll have this in my back pocket the next time I teach it.

* Meanwhile: A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony. Let’s not let caution get in the way of a good prank war.

* That’s solve it: MLA Will Discuss How to Deal With Controversial Issues.

The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking. The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone, replaced by me walking in and saying, “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” So that was pretty devastating.

* The FBI saw the film. They didn’t like it. Stick around for a nice little factoid about copyright!

The Year Having Kids Became a Frivolous Luxury.

The Best New Webcomics Of 2014.

* These Ant-Man rumors suggest Marvel really is going to go all the way with its “Civil War” plan for Phase 3.

* The Malfoys, after the war.

* No More Tony Starks: Against “The Smartest Man in the Room.”

Perhaps this is a good time to notice that when Anders says the Smartest Guy in the Room provides “wish-fulfillment for reasonably smart people” her examples go on to demonstrate that by people she happens always to mean only guys and even only white guys. She does notice that the Smartest Guy does seem to be, you know, a guy and provides the beginnings of a gendered accounting of the archetype: “the ‘smartest guy’ thing confirms all our silliest gender stereotypes, in a way that’s like a snuggly dryer-fresh blanket to people who feel threatened by shifting gender roles. In the world of these stories, the smartest person is always a man, and if he meets a smart woman she will wind up acknowledging his superiority.”

That seems to me a rather genial take on the threatened bearings of patriarchal masculinity compensated by cyborg fantasizing, but at least it’s there. The fact that the Smartest Guy keeps on turning out to be white receives no attention at all. This omission matters not only because it is so glaring, but because the sociopathic denial of the collectivity of intelligence, creativity, progress, and flourishing at the heart of the Smartest Guy in the Room techno-archetype, has the specific and catastrophic counterpart in the white racist narrative of a modern technological civilization embodied in inherently superior European whiteness against which are arrayed not different but primitive and atavistic cultures and societies that must pay in bloody exploitation and expropriation the price of the inferior. The Smartest Guy in the Room is also the Smartest Guy in History, naturally enough, with a filthy treasure pile to stand on and shout his superiority from.

* Star Trek as anti-Smartest-Guy fiction.

* And speaking of Star Trek: they’ve chosen a new director to ruin 3tar Tr3k 3. Kudos to all involved. Meanwhile Adam Kotsko is pitching the Star Trek anthology series I’ve always wanted to the unfeeling Philistines at the Daystrom Institute. Unrecognized in his own time…

Sunday, Sunday

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CPBB_Per_Student_Spending_Cuts(some links via Aaron’s Sunday Reading, which as always has so much more)

* The greatest nation in the world: A few nights a year, Tennessee holds a health care lottery of sorts, giving the medically desperate a chance to get help.

* A Truly Devastating Graph on State Higher Education Spending.

* In sentencing the boys to a minimum of one year in juvenile jail, Judge Thomas Lipps doled out some advice to their peers on how to avoid the same fate. He urged them “to have discussions about how you talk to your friends; how you record things on the social media so prevalent today; and how you conduct yourself when drinking is put upon you by your friends.” Tweeting wasn’t exactly the problem in Steubenville, though, now was it.

* Stunning narrative of decades-long abuse (of all kinds) in a New York City high school. The level of administrative incompetence (shading into malice) is just one of the shocking parts of this story; I finally watched Bully last night and couldn’t believe this was how school administrators would act in general, much less when they knew they were being filmed.

* March Madness as class struggle.

* Do Corporations Enjoy a 2nd Amendment Right to Drones?

* So what exactly was in all those old fallout shelters?

* The Iraq war is notable not only for journalistic weakness, but for journalistic futility: the futility of fact itself. Fact could not match the fabrications of power. Eventually, our reality shifted to become what they conceived. “I could have set myself on fire in protest on the White House lawn and the war would have proceeded without me,” wrote Bush speechwriter David Frum. That was the message of the Iraq war: There is no point in speaking truth to power when power is the only truth.

* Rand Paul Is Right On Marijuana, And That Should Scare Democrats Into Action.

* University of Wisconsin professor warns of dangers of reintroducing extinct animals. Spoilsport!

* The world’s first LEGO museum is coming.

* And all about the next board game I’d like to learn to play, Twilight Struggle.

Monday!

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* The e-Rater’s biggest problem, he says, is that it can’t identify truth. He tells students not to waste time worrying about whether their facts are accurate, since pretty much any fact will do as long as it is incorporated into a well-structured sentence. “E-Rater doesn’t care if you say the War of 1812 started in 1945,” he said. As Kevin Drum notes, this may less a bug than a feature in these benighted times.

* The White House Correspondents’ Dinner may be fascism with a human face, but at least there’s Stephen Colbert.

Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall: President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.

Give it up everybody. David Koch.

Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.

Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential. Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million. That’s kind of cheap, Dave.

Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room. I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.

I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC. And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke.

By the way, if David Koch likes his waiter tonight, he will be your next congressman.

* Podcast of the day: “Bombing Savages in Law, in Fact, in Fiction” from Sven Lindqvist.

* n+1 talks debt.

Last quick point on student loans: If I am driving around while texting, and I negligently run over and kill a child, or if I am in a gambling institution and I have an 11 and the dealer has an ace, and I mistakenly double down and get a huge gambling debt—those kind of debts—hurting someone, killing someone, gambling debts, or all kinds of other debts—are treated less harshly under our bankruptcy code than the debts associated with trying to educate yourself. Student loans are the most repressive kind of debts under the legal structures that we have. These are democratic bills. People voted for them. Hillary Clinton voted for the 2005 bankruptcy bill. Biden voted for it; Biden pushed it. These are things we have chosen, and they are incredibly repressive for student debts.

More here.

* All about Paul Ryan.

* Academic advice: How to apply for things.

* zunguzungu explains the albatross on Johnny Depp’s brain.

* Life inside the Earth Liberation Front.

* Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!

“ ‘Moby-Dick’ is about the oil industry,” they said. “And the Ship of American State. The owners of the Pequod are rapacious and stingy religious hypocrites. The ship’s business is to butcher whales and turn them into an industrial energy product. The mates are the middle management. The harpooners, who are from races colonized by America one way or another, are supplying the expert tech labor. Elijah the prophet — from the American artist caste — foretells the Pequod’s doom, which comes about because the chief executive, Ahab, is a megalomaniac who wants to annihilate nature.

“Nature is symbolized by a big white whale, which has interfered with Ahab’s personal freedom by biting off his leg and refusing to be slaughtered and boiled. The narrator, Ishmael, represents journalists; his job is to warn America that it’s controlled by psychotics who will destroy it, because they hate the natural world and don’t grasp the fact that without it they will die. That’s enough literature for now. Can we have popcorn?”

How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes.

* The Avengers Has Earned $178.4 Million, And It Hasn’t Even Opened in the U.S. Yet.

* And here comes the Portal 2 DLC.

Lots of Monday Links

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* Thanks for the kidney, and you’re fired.

* Someone in the New York Times is stealing my ideas: How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death.

* In the comments on Friday my friend b scolded me for being flip about New York’s genuinely terrible state assessment exams. Today Gawker has more.

* 53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed.

* Program for the Center for 21st Century Studies’ “The Nonhuman Turn” conference in Milwaukee (next week!).

* It’s great to see Harvard pushing open-access academic publishing, but there’s something deeply absurd about them crying poverty to do it.

* I’m already deeply nostalgic for Cavendish bananas. The Goldfingers look terrible.

* Academic freedom watch: Jammie Price, a tenured professor of sociology at Appalachian State University, was suspended last month after showing a documentary about pornography in her introductory sociology class.

Price said the film, which she checked out from the university library, was graphic at times but academically relevant to that week’s topic of gender and sexuality. A Wheelock College professor who helped make the movie said it was “ludicrous” to discipline an instructor for showing the documentary, noting that interviews with gender studies scholars figure prominently in the film, which is critical of the porn industry but also includes brief explicit scenes of porn.

* Actually existing media bias: The Liberal Media has consistently given more positive coverage to likely Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney compared to President Barack Obama, according to a new survey of media coverage from the Pew Research Center’s Excellence in Journalism Project.

* Elizabeth Drew games out 2012 in the New York Review of Books.

* Alas, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Saw The Largest Decrease In Employment In The Last 12 Months.

* 33 Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies that Could Rock Your Summer. Spoiler alert: more like five.

* mightygodking: Why the Silver Age Was Better.

What better way to fulfill Brando’s legacy and promote Native American rights than with a $250 million Lone Ranger remake/reboot about mystical werewolves murdering people? I really can’t on any level believe this is actually being made.

Joss Whedon, John Hughes, and Torture Porn.

* Rich. Weird. Romney.

A brief history of the late, unlamented revenge-porn site Is Anyone Up.

* Salk wept: American Airlines to air anti-vaccination programming in-flight.

* RIP, Facts.

* The regime for the poor and those within the criminal justice system is both policed and punitive and–in accordance with behavior that exists outside natural, market ordered society–heavily regulated and ordered by the state. Welfare and aid programs become a disciplinary mechanism for the working poor, with government monitoring and sanctioning taking an increasing role in guiding behavior. According to law professor William Stuntz, the courtroom has become a factory for processing; 95 percent of criminal convictions now come from a guilty plea, avoiding a trial. Arrests have risen almost sevenfold with only 60 percent more prosecutors needed. Meanwhile, prosecutors have been able to pull off the impressive trick of increasing the number of plea bargains while also raising the average length of imprisonment during this time period. The lived experience of prisons is also more punitive. Our current prison system is characterized by severe overcrowding, inadequate medical care, infection rates for HIV, Hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and staph far higher than on the outside world, the degradation of the custodial experience, high costs of keeping social ties intact, punitive long-term isolation, and the ever-present threat of violence and rape.

The extensive government regulation of behavior extends after the prison. As UCLA law professor Sharon Dolovich argues in “Creating the Permanent Prisoner,” those leaving prison enter into a dense web of government management, simultaneously punitive and neglectful. People who leave prison face “[b]ans on entry into public housing, restrictions on public-sector employment, limits on access to federal loans for higher education, and restrictions on the receipt of public assistance… The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section recently embarked on a project to catalogue all state and federal statutes and regulations that impose legal consequences on the fact of a felony conviction. As of May 2011, the project had catalogued over 38,000 such provisions, and project advisers estimate that the final number could reach or exceed 50,000.” Together, these create a new kind of subject, someone who exists permanently on the outside of our civilization, never meant or able to reintegrate back into our social spaces.

* American Nuns Reject Vatican’s Orders – Say They Are Not Going To Stop ‘Caring For The Least Among Us.’

* And In Focus has your pictures of Earth from above.

Monday Lunchtime Links

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* You’ve got to wonder how much New Jersey kicked to the Center for Public Integrity to get this surprise least-corrupt accolade.

* Election hacked, drunken robot elected to school board.

* As we face the certain extinction of all life on earth, the question on everyone’s mind is: How will this affect the 2012 presidential race?

* Facts are stupid things: Growth In Government Spending Under President Obama Slower Than During Bush, Reagan Administrations. But don’t worry! The White House’s generous offer for even more cuts is still on the table.

Are video games just propaganda and training tools for the military?

“For decades the military has been using video-game technology,” says Nina Huntemann, associate professor of communication and journalism at Suffolk University in Boston and a computer games specialist. “Every branch of the US armed forces and many, many police departments are using retooled video games to train their personnel.”

Like much of early computing, nascent digital gaming benefited from military spending. The prototype for the first home video games console, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, was developed by Sanders Associates, a US defence contractor. Meanwhile, pre-digital electronic flight simulators, for use in both military and civilian training, date back to at least the second world war.

Later, the games industry began to repay its debts. Many insiders note how instruments in British Challenger 2 tanks, introduced in 1994, look uncannily like the PlayStation’s controllers, one of the most popular consoles of that year. Indeed, warfare’s use of digital war games soared towards the end of the 20th century.

“By the late 1990s,” says Nick Turse, an American journalist, historian and author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, “the [US] army was pouring tens of millions of dollars into a centre at the University of Southern California – the Institute of Creative Technologies – specifically to build partnerships with the gaming industry and Hollywood.”

* Daniel Engber at Slate has your Apple apologetics.

But Daisey’s version wasn’t even substantially true. It was substantially false. The version of the story that aired on the radio gave listeners a clear and false impression of the abuses at Foxconn. It inflated the prevalence and massaged the data. How much deeper could the lies have gone?

Apple employees are being mistreated in China, but perhaps not so much or so often that it really matters to most people, harsh as that may sound.

Related: zunguzungu on The McNulty Gambit.

* In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporate donations to campaign Super PACs were legal because there was no reason to think they led to “corruption or the appearance of corruption.” This was a remarkably specious argument in the first place, but now we’re apparently going to test it to destruction.

* More on the SCOTUS beat: If you believe that the Court’s conservative majority is itching to strike down Obamacare, then the task is to launder this decision of partisan motivation. The Paul Clement court.

* Still more: Obamacare on Trial: Case of the Century?

* If the hole in the ozone layer were discovered today, we’d let the planet burn.

* A Critical Look at the Future of Zoos.

* Fresh from arguing that the female orgasm doesn’t exist, science now concludes women can have orgasms from exercising. Make up your mind, science!

Friday Night Links

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* This American Life retracts their Apple documentary. More here.

* Greetings from Milwaukee: Selections from the Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert Postcard Collection.

* Rortybomb with three ways of looking at the student debt crisis.

* China Miéville previews his new comic series Dial H for Hero.

* Inhofe on climate change: “‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost.” Sure, that’s how facts work.

* Wisconsin GOP loses state Senate majority after surprise resignation.

* The Family Hour: An Oral History of The Sopranos. Via MeFi.

* Rick Perlstein argues the problem isn’t that conservatives are crazier than they were fifty years ago; the problem is they’re exactly as crazy as they were fifty years ago. Via LGM.

After less than three full days of deliberations, the five men and seven women of the jury found Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, guilty of invading the privacy of his 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his dorm-room date. 

So much intercepted information is now being collected from “enemies” at home and abroad that, in order to store it all, the agency last year began constructing the ultimate monument to eavesdropping. Rising in a remote corner of Utah, the agency’s gargantuan data storage center will be 1 million square feet, cost nearly $2 billion and likely be capable of eventually holding more than a yottabyte of data — equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

* I miss Linsanity. Those were simpler times.

* Americans used public transformation twice as much in 1940. That’s per capita. That’s nuts.

* Louis C.K. Withdraws as Host of Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner. Who invited him in the first place? What a terrible choice for the gig.

* Obama comes out against Amendment One. Hey, me too!

* Al Gore endorses filibuster reform. Hey, me too!

* And today in Settlers of Catan news: A Dutch public broadcasting network last month offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank. Hours of fun for the entire family!