In keeping with the knowledge is scrumptious theme, i had this bright idea last year to celebrate Pongal with a harvest festival of my own – harvesting the best posts of the past year. This is the 2nd edition of the Blog Pongal covering the best posts of the year 2007. It was another great year, with a number of posts generating a good amount of discussion. And yeah, our blog is finally on WordPress, my favorite blogging platform and we now have our own domain name as well.
First a few words about Pongal – yeah, we all know that it is the Tamil harvest festival, but did you all know that it is probably the only festival which is based on the solar calendar? [Most other Hindu festivals are either based on the day of the moon phase or a star position] Pongal is celebrated during the winter solstice or the first day of the Uttarayana punya kalam – the sun moves northwards on this day. In North India it is celebrated as Makar Sankranti – Sun’s movement into Capricorn. It appears that Tamils follow the solar calendar whereas the rest of India follows the lunar or luni-solar calendar. I am not sure why or how this dichotomy happened. Need to do some more research on that.
I picked the 12 posts that I consider the best from last year [last year used the google search rank, but the pagerank has fallen dramatically after the move to the new URL]. I picked one for each month in chronological order, oldest first:
1. My Celibate Dog by Priya Raju – Her rib-tickling yet sentimental post about her dog Brownie.
2. Why do human females have menopause – For the longest time, menopause was thought to be another uniquely human trait, which is unfortunately not true.
3. When you praise someone’s talent, you are most likely discouraging effort while the focus of this post is children, it applies equally to adults.
4. Lot of people are stumped by the differences and different uses of blogs, wikis, forums. This is a post created out of comments based by the readers of this blog. A fine example of how community intelligence can be tapped into using blogs.
5. My observations on how the reading habits of children has not changed even a wee bit since i was a child. Some excellent comments on this post.
6. Can passion be taught is a question that has haunted me forever. The insightful comments on this popular post have helped me a lot on this subject.
7. Why do we ask less as we age? Sibu Kutty’s thought provoking post generated a lot of interesting discussions.
8. Great teachers don’t teach – The best teachers we have come across in our lives actually let us learn things ourselves instead of teaching.
9. You can become a better conversationalist by listening more and talking less.
10. It may be difficult to agree with the fact that words that we use have a powerful influence on our behavior – why is this so?
11. Ganesh spots a new technology called Freebase that may usher in the age of the Semantic Web. Check out the comments as well.
12. Why do beautiful people make more money and are generally more successful? Ganesh responds by connecting it to the Warren Harding effect from Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.
Hope you all have enjoyed reading this blog as much as we enjoy writing this blog. Here is wishing you all a Happy Pongal/Makar Sankranti and this being my first post of the new year, Happy New Year 2008 as well.