As a blogger, I’ll certainly look back on 2014 as the year the site’s focus on science and technology really got sharp. It was the year that the balance between day-t0-day news blogging and the in-focus sci/tech articles was struck. Best of all, this is the year that, since I brought news posts into the site’s fold, I’m actually able to tell you about the awesome things we all watched this year based on your interest in my articles.
DFE’s Top Ten Most Popular Articles:
10. Drones, drones, drones.
This year also featured the addition of a new voice on the website, Tristan Tomaselli. And among the subjects that most interested you this year was the ever-burgeoning world of Unmanned Vehicles, or “drones.” What can they do for you?
9. Daryl Pierson.
The reverberations of this one death in Rochester are still being felt, and getting all mixed up with national, cultural and racial politics of all varieties. But however easy it may be to conflate a lot of topics around one tent pole, in the end, this is the story of one brave man and the friends and family who loved him.
8. Such a Lovely mess.
Oh, our endlessly-misunderstood Mayor in Rochester, Lovely Warren. Constantly on the wrong side of a rookie mistake and acting like a 16 year old thief. It began with her ill-fated yet prophetic first 10 days in office. But oh, it hardly ended there. This site being a sci/tech blog, I didn’t cover everything. But when Lovely (or someone with access to her Facebook account, ahem) decided to go off half cocked on one of her detractors, boy were you interested. From Dissecting a Fail to asking whether a crime has been committed, DFE readers have shown an almost inexhaustible interest in our inexcusable Mayoral dance recital.
Sidebar: it turns out that even Lovely Warren is starting to see a problem and is currently actively seeking someone who will run the government for her.
7. Hot Dog Vigilantes.
It was a huge, silly debate on social. A woman at the East End Wegmans saw a dog in a car and decided to take matters into her own hands by smashing the window with a brick. Noble though the thought might have been, I decided to pen a quick love note to all would-be vigilantes that perhaps this wasn’t in anyones best interest. I’m also proud to say that this is the only legitimate listical on this particular top 10 (which, yes, is a listical).
6. Deputy Mayor Redon’s DWI.
You can make the argument that this was yet another Lovely mess. But alcohol and it’s affects are a purely private affair, and this one is all Deputy Mayor Redon’s. But even better than that, for the sake of this website, Redon’s DWI charge was a reason to explore the various means of breath analysis and how they work, which included debunking the myth that diabetes can trick breathalyzers into thinking you’re drunk.
5. Penn Yan’s epic flooding.
Back in May, heavy rains left amazing holes in what used to be the Penn Yan area. Whole roads were flooded out and disappeared by overtopped creeks. DragonFlyEye took a look at the fluid dynamics physics of how this is possible and just why running waters can do so much damage in so short a span.
This one surprised me. But maybe it was just Tristan’s awesome writing that drew people in. Regardless, among the subjects you can plan on seeing a lot more of next year (predictions post to come!), “superintelligence,” or super computing on a quantum level, will be at the top of the list. Tomaselli posits that perhaps instead of an Armageddon of Machines, our species may simply be quietly disused by it’s inventions.
3. Hypothermia as an Attention Getter… for Charity!
Ugh. This whole thing. The incredibly popular Ice Bucket Challenge forced some of us to rethink the nature of social pressure. It’s fine to do things for charity, and have fun doing them. But there is a point at which social pressure takes over and people don’t even realize how heedless they’re being. Apparently, a lot of you were interested in the psychology of this phenomenon.
2. Kimberly and Beck and the Transgender Bunch.
Wow, this one got some mileage on it. Kimberly and Beck got suspended for one thing, then fired for another, then rehired by their former employer’s competitor. I guess it all comes out in the wash. Regardless, their comments on the transgender identity did not fall on deaf ears, much to their collective chagrin. Also: they were just flat wrong on health care, as if anyone cared about that part.
1. HOTHCHESTER STRIKES BACK!
After a brutal, bone-chilling winter, the sudden heat of summer also brought with it a major news story. That story: people on highways getting cracked windshields. The first culprit posited by the media was a lurking teenager (presumably) with a pellet gun. DFE offered you up a much more banal and practical answer: everybody’s windshields were a little less stable due to the cold and heat. What I was able to offer up was proof both that the physics of a pellet gun piercing a windshield are not plausible, and strong evidence to support the fact that spring always brings a rash of cracked windshields.
In other words, DragonFlyEye can proudly say that on this issue, it brought was it’s mission is: direct, science-based analysis of the facts of the case. Instead of interviewing people who may not know shit about the subject at hand, DFE finds the facts and offers an educated opinion on the news of the day. I’m very proud of the work I’ve been able to do this year and look forward to another great year of context and clarity.
Regardless of how popular they were, there are a few articles of which I am personally very proud. These three represent some of the best work I did this year and the kind of thing that I hope to be able to continue on with in 2015. In fact, in a few cases, I can guarantee that the subjects will come up again:
- Resting on Shaky Ground. You’ll be seeing a lot more of this in the future. Evidence once thought iron-clad by prosecutors is starting to be undercut by modern science.
- Cornell University and the Facebook Trawling Scandal. Too little scrutiny has been paid to the academic side of this controversy.
- Ward, Jr and the Toxicology of Weed. This was a somewhat underappreciated (IMHO) analysis of how marijuana gets broken down by the body and how that affected the decision not to prosecute Tony Stewart in the death of a young racer’s life.
In addition to the most popular articles on DFE, I can now reveal the top ten most popular headlines I tweeted out this year, at least for the last half. This tends to be a bit on the lighter side, naturally…
- Jessica Nigri is Just Amazing
- Arrow Season Three
- Dwarf Strippers Can Getcha Pregnant, Too
- Lions Tailgating is Quite a Sight To Behold
- Renee Zellweger’s Weird Face
- DiGiorno Pizza’s Epic Social Media / Domestic Violence Fail
- FapChat: Don’t Send Your Girlfriend Private Masturbation Videos Unless You Are Sure
- Jessica Rabbit and a Lady Stormtrooper
- Merry Christmas Shithead
- Dude Arrested for “Unmentionables” With Stuffed Animal