The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

House Update

There has been a lot of progress on the house since the last pictures. Here are a few from today:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Brent Venables Face Gallery

I've always thought OU's defensive coordinator Brent Venables makes the funniest faces on the sidelines during games. Here are a few examples from recent games:

Saturday, September 26, 2009


The framing is now finished and it's starting to look like a real house now! I'm so excited!! Can't wait 'till January!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Liberal Bias

I read a description for a conservative news web site that got me thinking. It called itself "an alternative to the liberal media". Seems ironic to me that the alternative to biased news is... biased news.

That got me thinking about if and why the media (mostly talking TV news here) has a liberal bias. I believe it does, but for a simple and innocent reason: people who have a liberal ideology tend to be more attracted to that kind of career.

I believe the same applies to public schools and universities. Liberals tend to want to change the world through social action. The media and schools are great avenues for that. Conservatives tend to be more into changing the world through religion and other things, which attracts them to other types of careers. They also tend to form their own news outlets, private schools, and home schooling, which further reduces the percentage of conservatives in the mainstream ones (and fights bias with more bias).

So if there is a liberal bias, and there probably is, conservatives shouldn't complain about it because they are partly responsible. And liberals should stop complaining about talk radio and conservative news, because they are partly responsible for creating the market for it.

I (and probably the majority of people?) see the most important dichotomy as not between liberal and conservative but between people who do have a political agenda and people who don't. But people who do have political agendas also have the most motivation to push their views through the media and schools.

I suppose there also could be such a thing as moderate bias...

Monday, August 24, 2009

NYC Trip

Here are some pictures from my recent trip to New York:

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Renewable Energy Source

I think it would be great if prison inmates could be used to generate electricity. They are there all day without much to do but exercise. They could have stationary exercise bikes and other devices (maybe big hamster wheels?) attached to generators. That way they could stay in shape, have something to do, and give something back to society.

How much energy could they generate? According to this page, an average human can generate approximately 600 watts per day with a bike generator. According to the Department of Justice, the U.S. jail and prison population is approximately 2.3 million, which is enough to generate roughly 1.38 gigawatts of electricity. To put that in perspective, a typical large wind farm generates on the order of 0.1 gigawatts, and a typical nuclear power plant generates on the order of 1 gigawatt. 1.38 gigawatts is enough to power 500,000 to 1,500,000 homes, depending on the region.

Of course, it's unlikely that in practice it would be anywhere near the full 1.38 gigawatts. But even at 25% efficiency, the U.S. prison population should be able to power the equivalent of a medium-sized city.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicken McGrill

I was at the McDonald's drive-thru tonight and saw something on the screen that looked good (without all the green & white & red stuff of course): the Chicken McGrill.

But when I tried to order it, the lady on the speaker didn't understand me. I repeated it a few times and then described exactly what it was. She said she didn't know what I was talking about, so I ordered something else and took a picture of the screen with my phone:

When I got up to the window, I showed her the picture thinking it would clarify everything. But instead she got even more confused. She said they didn't have it and wanted to show my picture to the manager. A couple minutes later, she came back and said her co-workers and manager never heard of a Chicken McGrill and didn't recognize it in the picture!

There's not really a point to this, just that I think it's a little strange that McDonald's has an item on their screen that nobody who works there has ever heard of. But now that I think about it, after a lot of experience with fast-food places, maybe it shouldn't surprise me so much.