Daily Bafflements

The BafflerFebruary 20, 2015
Better think twice. / Photo by Mike Klein

Better think twice. / Photo by Mike Klein

• The latest Snowden revelation, published on The Intercept on Thursday afternoon, is particularly devastating. Spies from the U.S. and UK hacked into the computer systems of Gemalto, the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer. “With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments,” write Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley. “Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted.”

• Also on Thursday, Walmart announced that it would be raising its minimum hourly wage to $9, but the news isn’t all rosy. Most news sources covering the raise noted that the company didn’t make the choice out of a sense of altruism; it was a reaction to financial and legal pressures. Also, just to keep things in perspective, Fortune helpfully points out that an hourly worker would have to work 2.8 million hours a year to match Walmart’s CEO’s pay. (“For those wondering, there are only 8,760 hours in a calendar year.”)

• In related news, Portland, Oregon workers will soon earn the highest minimum wage in the country, $15 an hour.

• New York’s fashion week featured women wearing giant flower petals on their heads and paisley silk pajamas. If this gets you excited for The Baffler’s first fashion-themed issue, coming out soon, be sure to buy tickets for our release party in New York on March 18, starring contributors Lucy Ellmann, Ann Friedman, and Eugenia Williamson. Happy Friday!