New decade, new blog look

It’s time to ring in 2010, and to celebrate the start of the new decade, I decided to revamp Life as a Catalyst. Hope you like the new look.

Big changes are coming in 2010, and I can’t wait to share with you all the great things that we can look forward to in this new decade. Stay tuned.

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

Thank you for the Muziic: Free music on demand

If you’re a music lover, then you should definitely check out Muziic, which is a free site offering music on demand and Internet radio streaming.

What’s even more remarkable is that the service was developed by a 16-year-old, David Nelson, who co-founded the company with his father, Mark. David is the CTO while his dad is the CEO.

Apart from the web player, you can also download Muziic as a desktop app.

In my case, I added the Facebook app to my profile. A Muziic app will also be released soon for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Check out my Facebook profile and become a fan of the Muziic page on Facebook.

Is journalism now shortsighted and selfish?

Here’s food for thought from Robert J. Samuelson, whose essay on Newsweek tackles the question of why journalism is becoming “increasingly shortsighted, unreasoned and selfish.”

As someone who was a journalist for over a decade, I can certainly identify with the idealism of trying to change the world by uncovering the truth, only to come face to face with the reality that things are a lot more complicated.

Here’s an excerpt from Samuelson’s essay.

This was a common conceit among journalists of my generation. We would reveal what was hidden, muddled or distorted. The truth would set everyone free. It sustained good government. We were democracy’s watchdogs and clarifiers. One thing I learned is that these satisfying ideas are at best simplifications–and at worst illusions. Truth comes in infinite varieties; every story can have many narratives. There are always new facts, and sometimes today’s indisputable fact qualifies or rebuts yesterday’s.

I started with the naive notion that, by exposing and explaining how the world worked, I would in some small way contribute to better government and a saner society. What I discovered firsthand is what I already knew intuitively: Democracy is a messy, often shortsighted, unreasoned and selfish process. People have interests, beliefs and prejudices that, once firmly entrenched, are not easily dislodged–and certainly not by logic or evidence.

As for me, I believe in fighting for our ideals–no matter what reality might be.

The game is afoot for Sherlock Holmes

I’m a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and while I know this film won’t be a faithful representation of the world’s most famous fictional detective, I’m still psyched to watch Guy Ritchie’s take.

It helps, of course, that Robert Downey Jr. is a brilliant actor whose talent has always amazed me.

Here’s a look at the Sherlock Holmes trailer.

If you’re more interested in the classic fictional character, check out The Sherlock Holmes Museum of Baker Street and The Sherlock Holmes Society of London.

Want to know what it was like to live in Holmes’ Victorian world? Visit Stumbled upon this link thanks to Wikipedia. Truly a fascinating look at the Victorian era.

Making science interesting to Filipino students

I’m happy to say that our daughter Sam, who recently turned 8, simply loves science. That’s not necessarily the case, however, for many students in the Philippines.

Recognizing this, the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology, whose flagship program is the Philippine Science Centrum, aims to make science teaching more engaging.

Here’s an excerpt from the BusinessMirror article.

“This teaching program is a way for teachers to recreate [the Philippine] Science Centrum’s [PSC] exhibits through classroom-type experiments in order for the students to be more attentive and receptive to the lesson,” PSC executive director May Pagsinohin told the BusinessMirror in a visit at the PSC.

The teachers’ training consists of brief lectures and extensive discussions, demonstrations and hands-on workshops. The participants, housed at the PSC, are given firsthand experience with the “interactive learning system” using the PSC’s collection of science exhibits.

Here’s hoping that our teachers will be able to instill a passion for science among more students.

Pacquiao vs Mayweather: Not inside the ring but in court?

Instead of squaring off inside the ring in arguably the most anticipated encounter in the history of boxing, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. instead seem to be heading for a legal battle.

Pound for pound king Pacquiao, the Filipino fighter who made history as the first boxer to win seven world titles in seven weight classes, has said his legal team is preparing to sue Mayweather and his camp for performance enhancement drug allegations.

Here’s an excerpt from the Philippine Star article.

“I can’t believe these guys can lie without batting an eyelash and they would even make it appear that I am the culprit for the delay of the fight and saying that I don’t want it to happen,” said Pacquiao in a statement.

“They claimed that I threatened to walk away from the largest fight in history. That’s their first lie. Last week, I told Floyd Jr. to shut his big, pretty mouth and that we should fight so that the world will get to see who is the best fighter in the planet,” Pacquiao also said.

Pacquiao said they’ve got proof that Mayweather Jr. directly accused him of performance enhancement drugs (PED) use.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum is now reportedly trying to set up a fight between the pound for pound king and superwelterweight champion Yuri Foreman.

For their part, the Mayweather camp has re-opened negotiations with the younger brother of Ricky Hatton, Matthew, who may get a crack at the American in England next year if the Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight is officially called off, according to this article by The Sun.

Over at Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Iole has an interesting column on the hypocrisy of all the parties involved in this looming boxing fiasco:

Things are not always as they seem in boxing, which is par for the course. You’ll understand the confounding events that threaten the hotly anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao a lot better if you understand that in boxing, what one says publicly isn’t always what one means.

So, will it no longer be Manny vs Money in 2010? Personally, I think both camps will eventually find a way to compromise and salvage this fight, because it’s just too historic and too profitable for either fighter to walk away from, despite what they might be saying now. Maybe it won’t happen in March, but I have a strong feeling Pacquiao-Mayweather will still push through next year.

Vote for Filipino finalists in Ultimate Thailand Explorers

Here’s an excerpt from my latest CNET Asia blog post.

Back in October, I blogged about Filipino couple Michael Paul and Jennifer, who were hoping to reach the finals of the Ultimate Thailand Explorers competition, in which contestants would use blogs and social networks to chronicle their adventures in Thailand.

I’m happy to share that they made it to the finals, vying with four other couples for the top prize. They’re now asking for the help of fellow Filipino Internet users to check out their blog, vote for them, and help spread the word.

Read the full story.

Friendster bought by Asian firm MOL Global

Here’s an excerpt from my CNET Asia blog post.

After months of speculation, Friendster’s search for a buyer in Asia has finally ended with today’s announcement that an affiliate of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based online payment solutions provider MOL AccessPortal Berhad is acquiring the pioneer social networking site.

Read the full story.

Of journalism and abolishing ‘citizen journalists’

Check out my latest CNET Asia blog post.

Here’s an excerpt.

The editorial Let’s Abolish ‘Citizen Journalists’ on The Digital Journalist caught my attention, thanks to a tweet from @gangbadoy retweeting the link from @glossmania.

While I don’t agree with the article entirely, it does raise good points on the need to vet stories posted and spread through social networks, and the kind of dedication and courage it takes for journalists to actually cover news events.

Read the full story.