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A Top 10 List Of The 2014 Lists We Liked

1. The highlights. 2. Of the highlights.

A Top 10 List Of The 2014 Lists We Liked

  • The web itself was once famously described in a giant list (see right).
  • That giant list became what we call Yahoo.
  • The year will often be described in a giant list.
  • Here, the list will be a list of the other lists, generally focused on media, science, and technology.
  • This list is not algorithmically ranked.
  • This list is not a listicle.

10. The Master List Of Tech Internships Revealed (Betabeat / New York Observer)

The list includes 97 tech firms—including Palantir, Quora, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Facebook, Uber, and Google—alongside a few non-tech names that are in the market for coding interns, like Goldman Sachs and Boeing. The data we have includes the base monthly salary for engineering interns, the monetary value of their monthly benefits, and what kind of internship it was.

Maybe you work as an engineer in the tech sector, in which case this list might not surprise you. If you don’t, there’s a good chance it shocks you. There’s also a good chance this list makes you consider whether being an engineer is actually your true calling.

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In the interactive portion of the chart, the results are broken down with clear indicators of base pay plus benefits for a comprehensive package offering. The graph also includes the company name and specific location of the internship.

9. Top 10 Emerging Technologies For 2014 (World Economic Forum)

Among the wild, big picture types of technologies that have further emerged in 2014—from nanostructured carbon composites to brain-computer interfaces—is one that we could be staring into very soon: screenless displays. Whether it’s a headset like Oculus Rift or something else that’s a radical change from what we’re used to, it also appears to be a lot closer to fruition than many people realize.

Screenless display may also be achieved by projecting images directly onto a person’s retina, not only avoiding the need for weighty hardware, but also promising to safeguard privacy by allowing people to interact with computers without others sharing the same view.

By January 2014, one startup company had already raised a substantial sum via Kickstarter with the aim of commercializing a personal gaming and cinema device using retinal display. In the longer term, technology may allow synaptic interfaces that bypass the eye altogether, transmitting “visual” information directly to the brain.

8. 10 New Breakthrough Technologies 2014 (MIT Technology Review)

One of the more mind-blowing technologies on this list from MIT is the neuromorphic computer chip.

These “neuromorphic” chips—so named because they are modeled on biological brains—will be designed to process sensory data such as images and sound and to respond to changes in that data in ways not specifically programmed. They promise to accelerate decades of fitful progress in artificial intelligence and lead to machines that are able to understand and interact with the world in humanlike ways.

Medical sensors and devices could track individuals’ vital signs and response to treatments over time, learning to adjust dosages or even catch problems early. Your smartphone could learn to anticipate what you want next, such as background on someone you’re about to meet or an alert that it’s time to leave for your next meeting. Those self-driving cars Google is experimenting with might not need your help at all, and more adept Roombas wouldn’t get stuck under your couch. “We’re blurring the boundary between silicon and biological systems,” says Qualcomm’s chief technology officer, Matthew Grob.

As to whether AI is something to fear, my colleague Michael Grothaus assembled a list of responses to that question from a roboticist and a chatbot, among others.

7. The Best Drone For Every Beginner (Gizmodo)

The intrigue with drones is obvious and now they’re no more expensive than any other gadget. But what’s the right one to get started with–you know, for fun? Gizmodo tested a boat-load of entry-level drones with that specific question in mind.

It lost its tiny propellers whenever it crashed into objects, and my puppy nearly swallowed one. The second put scratches on my walls, and another one in my palm. So I set out to find the perfect beginner drone: easy to learn, durable, cheap, and safe to fly indoors.


Among the best, the most affordable is the $65 Air Hogs Helix X4 Stunt. Gizmodo also lists its picks for quietest drone and best mini drone.

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6. Top 10 YouTube Videos And Stars Of 2014 (What’s Trending)

Here, Shira Lazar covers a swath of both independent and mainstream YouTube videos that garnered millions of views, including the biggest sensation, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

5. The 26 Most Popular Yik Yak Posts Of 2014 (BuzzFeed)

Yik Yak is a new, anonymous, social app that lets people share messages with anyone within a 10-mile radius. Launched in late 2013, the app blew up in 2014, especially, reportedly, among teens. The startup—which has been eager to quell concerns about the risks of teens sending anonymous messages to everyone in their vicinity—recently shared its most popular Yaks as favorited by viewers.



4. The Most Amazing Science Images Of 2014 (Imgur)

Imgur did what it does best: gather viral images from the world of science. And yes, that means GIFs.


Earlier this year, while vacationing in Papua New Guinea with his wife, Phil McNamara captured this captivating footage of Mount Tavurvur ejecting untold heaps of lava, rock, and ash hundreds of meters into the air. Between the striking burst of clouds above the volcano and the jarring boom of the delayed shockwave, it’s one of the most dramatic eruption videos we’ve ever seen.

3. The Year’s Worst Hacks (Wired)

The hack of Sony’s servers has already made huge waves, but the entirety or full severity of it likely won’t still be known for a while. And the crazy thing is that Sony wasn’t the only company brutally hacked this year.

It’s amazing to look back on the some of the biggest hacks and realize what a tumultuous year it was. Following the Snowden revelations, 2014 would, one hopes, be a turning point for security. Then again, as Home Depot’s case illustrates, we’re not always so good at heeding the warning signs.

Continuing the wave of attacks that struck Target, Michael’s and Neiman Marcus, Home Depot announced in September that it had suffered a breach that exposed some 56 million credit and debit cards of customers, a figure that surpassed last year’s Target breach by more than 10 million.

The attackers had been in the company’s network since at least April, before the company discovered the breach five months later, and had gained entry following two previous, smaller breaches of the company’s network. Security contractors had reportedly urged the company to activate an extra security measure that might have helped spot the malicious activity but failed to do so.

2. There Are Way Too Many Best Of 2014 Lists (FiveThirtyEight)

FiveThirtyEight got out its calculators and broke down the best-of lists for the year. It looked at, among other things, the overlapping selection of TV shows, movies, and books across different sites. The books category, however, definitely has the least overlap.

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One reason the “best books” lists were the most diverse is because they were the longest. While most of the lists looking at movies and TV shows were limited to 10 or 20 titles, a lot of the books lists topped 100 titles. I asked Publishers Weekly’s deputy reviews editor, Gabe Habash, why he thought lists of the best books were so long.

As it turns out, Habash hit the nail on the head. According to the bibliographic information publisher Bowker, there were 1.4 million books published in the U.S. last year, whereas the Motion Picture Association of America‘s data shows that only 659 films were released. Numbers on TV shows in production are harder to come by, but Showtime’s president of entertainment, David Nevins, has estimated that there are currently about 350 scripted original shows in production.


1. The Coolest Hacks Of 2014 (Information Week)

Not all hacks or hackers are bad—obviously. Sometimes after a rough year it’s nice to see that at least some of the vulnerabilities are being discovered by the good guys before they can be exploited in the wild. Information Week collected a roundup of hacks from security researchers.

Images from a hacked X-ray scanner. Image via Qualys

Turns out you can easily sneak a weapon or a banned substance past US airport security by exploiting “lame bugs” in a pervasive X-ray scanner for carryon baggage at TSA checkpoints.

That’s how renowned researcher Billy Rios described the flaws in the Rapiscan 522 B x-ray system used by the TSA at some major airports. Rios and his colleague Terry McCorkle discovered some painfully wide open holes in the scanners, including user credentials stored in plain text, the outdated Windows 98 as the underling operating system, as well as a training feature for screeners that injects .bmp images of contraband, such as a gun or knife, into a passenger carry-on in order to test the screener’s reaction during training sessions. The researchers say the weak logins could allow a bad guy to project phony images on the X-ray display.

The list also includes a weaponized USB thumb-drive, an NAS worm, and methods for accessing traffic systems and infiltrating your own home’s Internet of Things. What it conjures is both wondrous and terrifying. And, in the buzz-fueled age of listicles, a terrifying list can be a rare thing indeed.

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About the author

Tyler Hayes is a Southern California native, early technology adopter, and music enthusiast.

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