A Week In Esperanto Land

An Irishman, a Pole, a Russian and a Frenchman are all in a room. What language do they speak? This isn’t a riddle or a joke but what happened to me last week. You see I’m just back from spending eight days in the town of Nitra in Slovakia where I participated in the Somera Esperanto Studado (Summer Esperanto Study). So what is Esperanto like in practice? What is the Esperanto community like, what do Esperantists do when they meet and how does Esperanto function as a language? Continue reading

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What Is Capitalism And Socialism?

Even though we all live in a capitalist economy, few people seem to understand what this means. The word is thrown around in economic and political debates without much consistency. The situation is even worse for socialism which seems to be a label thrown onto random policies without any understanding. So to help clear up the confusion, I thought I would give a clear and simple explanation to what these words mean. Continue reading

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Can The Labour Party Be Saved?

The Irish Labour Party is in dire straits. Its vote has collapsed from 19.7% in the 2011 general election to only 7% in last months local election, causing its leader Eamon Gilmore to resign. Now there is a leadership election ongoing between Joan Burton and Alex White, both of which are making bland statements about what they would do as leader (neither have mentioned any policies or anything concrete). But is this simply a case of rearranging chairs on the Titanic and finding someone to take the poisoned chalice and lead Labour into election meltdown? Continue reading

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World Without God

There are many reasons why I am an Atheist, but at the core, I believe it is far more likely that we live in a world without God rather than one with one. Ask yourself, what would the world look like if A) there is a God controlling it or B) there is not. Then ask yourself whether our world looks more like A or B? Continue reading

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A Thought About Property Without The State

It is common on the internet to encounter libertarians who decry the existence of the state which they view as nothing short of oppression. To them the state is a tyranny to which no one has agreed to. The world would be a better place if the state was drastically reduced in size or even abolished. Why should be people forced to obey rules against their will? Instead everyone should be free to do as they wish on their own property. However, I’d like to use a thought experiment to show how a world of solely private property is little different from our current world and how private property contains many of the arbitrary coercion that libertarians so passionately denounce in states. Continue reading

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A Tour Of The World Of Constructed Languages

One thing that I have been exploring over the last few weeks is the world of constructed languages. As opposed to regular languages, these did not evolve over centuries, but were rather invented by someone. I find the whole idea of creating a language with a specific aim to be fascinating and constructed languages (or conlangs for short) give us amazing freedom to explore how languages work. Even a short study of them can give us an insight into how languages like English do or do not operate. So I thought I would give a tour of the main conlangs that people do learn (excluding those that were created for TV or a book). I have included a translation of the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer) into each conlang as seems to be the standard, as well as an example of the language being spoken or song where possible. Continue reading

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Which Lesser Evil To Vote For?

I have a bit of a dilemma. You see the local and European election are on this Friday here in Ireland and considering my interest in politics, I will proudly do my duty and vote. The problem is the question of who to vote for. The options are pretty woeful. Irish politics is a mash of grey politicians who take turns to implement the same policies in government and criticise these very same policies in opposition. There is little difference between the parties and we seem doomed to get the same policies no matter who we vote for. Continue reading

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