Daily Bafflements

The BafflerJuly 30, 2015
Your ears are a $5 billion market, and still Microsoft gives you the middle finger. / Juan Sarasua

Your ears are a $5 billion market, and still Microsoft gives you the middle finger. / Juan Sarasua

• In the boundless playground of innovation, developers and venture capitalists seek to better colonize a small but valuable piece of real estate—your ears, soon to be worth $5 billion. Apparently “earworn wearable” tech is where the big bucks are. In TechCrunch, we learn that “emojis are huge,” so Microsoft is giving its customers the middle finger—in emoticon form that is—and at least one tech reporter is simply thrilled.

• Today in billionaires: Roll Call reports that the wealthiest donors are now bypassing professional lobbyists altogether in favor of twisting candidates’ arms personally. According to Timothy LaPira, an associate professor of political science at James Madison University, “What these major donors are trying to do is shift the agenda in Washington long before anybody ever crafts a bill or drops a bill, which is what most lobbyists are hired to do. But if one of these billionaires calls a senator, they pick up the phone.”

• Over at the International Times, Baffler contributing editor David Graeber reflects on a visit to the West Bank, with its rich political and religious history and many, many hair salons.