Top 10 TechTank Posts of 2014

We launched TechTank in March 2014. As the new year comes to a close we thought it would be interesting to share the most popular blog posts of 2014.

1. 10 New Innovations That Could Change the World

Joshua Bleiberg and Hillary Schaub

Since 2001, the MIT Technology Review has released their list of the 10 most important technological innovations that emerged each year. The editors selected each item based on its potential to change the world. Previous years lists included epigenetics, wireless sensor networks, grid computing, additive manufacturing, smart watches, and mobile 3-D. The 2014 list is just as exciting.

2. The Human Importance of the Monkey Selfie

Stuart N. Brotman

In 2014, the monkey selfie achieved viral status and incredible online buzz. It is at the center of a legal controversy between British nature photographer David Slater, the Wikimedia Foundation, and a monkey. The story raises an interesting and important matter regarding technology development and copyright law.

3. Trace Your Genetic Ancestry Through National Geographic’s Genographic Project

Darrell M. West

Ever wonder where you came from? Now with the help of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, you can find out. Darrell West describes what he learned about his genetic lineage through this project.

4. H-1B Visa Cap Applications Show Need for Immigration Reform

Darrell M. West

It took less than a week for US Citizenship and Immigration Services to hit the cap of 65,000 for H-1B visas in 2014. The shortage of IT workers and the limited supply of H-1B visas demonstrate why it is important for the US House of Representatives to enact immigration reform.

5. Have the Anti-Obamacare Ads Backfired?

Niam Yaraghi

ACA opponents have spent $450 million on anti-Obamacare ads so far. Using the latest data on enrollment figures, Niam Yaraghi attempts to uncover if the ads were successful.

6. Three Technical Choke Points that Could Sink the Common Core Tests

Joshua Bleiberg and Darrell M. West

The two Common Core testing consortia have started field testing their next generation tests for technical issues. Glitches represent a major threat to the long-term success of the Common Core.  This post outlines three technical problems that could sink the Common Core.

7. Pharma Pays $825 Million to Doctors and Hospitals, ACA’s Sunshine Act Reveals

Niam Yaraghi

Mandated by the Sunshine Act, on September 30th, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publicly released the first set of data, which includes the payments made by the pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals in the last five months of 2013. Disclosure of the financial relationships between the medical providers and industry is a very important step toward transparency and reveals some interesting patterns.

8. ConnectED Could be a Game Changer for Technology in Schools

Joshua Bleiberg and Darrell M. West

In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative to equip schools with the best technology available. The State Educational Technology Directors Association recently shared new details about ConnectED pledges, which allows for some preliminary observations about the program. It appears the Obama administration and its private partners are taking the right approach to integrating technology into the nation’s classrooms.

9. Big Data: Don’t Let the Billions of Data Points Blind You to the Problem of Too Few Sources to Check the Results

Zeynep Tufecki

Many policymakers are interested in the potential of big data to provide answers to questions that appear otherwise out-of-reach. Zeynep Tufecki explores these structural issues about social media big data including what she calls the “model organism” problem:  when big data sources are too few, and when structural biases of these too few sources cannot be adequately explored.

10. How Millennials’ Use of Social Networks Explains Their Politics

Hollie Russon Gilman

Many have wondered about the impact that millennials will have on politics. Research discussed at a recent symposium should provide concerned Americans with a sense of cautious optimism about the future civic and political participation of millennials. Russon Gilman says Millennials are a hopeful generation that believes in communities (both online and digital) and the power of networks.