No matter which way you look at it, I’m the child of immigrants. My mother was born on a small farm in Cavan and emigrated to America in 1980. What else was there to do? Cavan is a small place and the economy was in a terrible state with no work to be found. There were 7 children in the family, 6 of whom emigrated (the rest went to Britain). In New York she met my father, a man from Brooklyn with a Danish surname. In 1990, they returned to Ireland, she had become an American citizen and later him an Irish citizen. So when I was born in 1991, I was automatically a dual citizen with a foot in either world. Continue reading “I Have Dual Irish-American Citizenship But Today I Only Feel Irish”
After an extraordinary campaign, Americans are finally voting. One of the most incredible things about the American electoral system is how dysfunctional it is. What’s even more incredible is that everyone knows this. From the insane amounts of money spent, the stifling two party system, the inexplicable electoral college, the incredibly long campaigns, extreme partisanship, the lack of choices and so on. It’s truly a bizarre system that few people can defend. However, most discussions have a fatalistic tone, ‘elections have always been bizarre, there’s nothing that can be done.’
However, I will now show that a better electoral system isn’t just some pipe dream or unrealistic fantasy, it already exists. It isn’t merely a hypothetical dream, it has been put into practice and it works. There is a far better system that I am very familiar with, here in my native Ireland. As a dual Irish and American citizen, I think I’m in a good place to compare both systems. Continue reading “Why America Should Adapt The Irish Electoral System”
(I’ve considered deleting this post as it’s based on the presumption that Hillary Clinton would win the election, which was sadly wrong. However, I stand by everything I write even when I’m wrong, so I’m going to leave this up as a monument to hubris and a historical reminder of how people viewed the 2016 campaign at the time.)
Whenever people look back on elections, particularly Presidential elections, they always use a simple narrative to explain it. The 1964 and 1972 elections used the narrative that if you nominate an extremist, you’ll lose in a landslide. 2004 was about fear and the War on Terror, whereas 2008 was about hope and change. So what will be the narrative of 2016?
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on Donald Trump for a while. However, I faced a major problem, in that there are just so many scandals that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. I was simply overwhelmed by the enormous amount of horrendous things Trump has said and done, and that’s without even starting on his policies (although he seems to have very few of these). To give all his scandals the attention they deserve would require a ten part series, and each part alone would be disqualifying. But I don’t have the time to make such a list (I doubt anyone does) and even the professional media has trouble keeping up. Even this post took several days, and I more than likely missed something important. Continue reading “Donald Trump Has Too Many Scandals To Keep Track Of”
The internet is full of advice for learning languages. There are numerous blogs, podcasts, discussion forums and YouTube channels where people share advice and experience. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that almost all the advice is given by people who have been extremely successful in learning languages, usually polyglots who can speak multiple languages.
But this isn’t the typical experience. For a great number of people, learning another language is something they wish they could do, but are unable to. Most attempts end in failure with people giving up with little to show for their efforts. Most students spend years studying a language in school yet are unable to speak it by the time they are finished. Failure has as much, if not more, to teach us as success. Why do so many people not succeed? Continue reading “What I Learned From Failing To Learn Languages”
When people ask me why I speak Esperanto, my answer is simple; it’s really easy. I’ve always had difficulties learning languages and Esperanto is the only language I’ve ever succeeded in learning. The arbitrary pronunciation, random grammar rules, infuriating irregularities, endless exceptions that had to be memorised, silent letters, obscure tenses and half a dozen other rules in every language, drove me mad. I spent countless frustrating hours trying to decipher these Byzantine codes, usually without success. I would complain to my teacher (and anyone who would listen) about how these rules were unnecessary and added nothing to the language, couldn’t someone just remove the irregularities? Continue reading “5 Ways Esperanto Is Easier Than English”
Have you ever watched a historical documentary or perhaps a Second World War movie and wondered how the fascists ever took over? How did they convince people to follow them? How did they reshape a nation in their mould? How could anyone support that kind of hatred? Why weren’t they stopped, why did more people not stand up to them? Have you ever wondered what you would have done if you were in that situation? Surely you would have stood up to them, right? Surely they would have no appeal to people like you? Continue reading “How Fascism Takes Over”