The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I'm not a fan of taxes or big government. But there are a couple things I love about the government. FSL (the Forecast Systems Laboratory, part of NOAA) provides free archives of atmospheric sounding data. MDL (the Meteorological Development Lab, part of NOAA) provides free archives of MOS forecasts. NCDC (the National Climatic Data Center) and NCEP (National Center for Environmental Prediction) provide free archives of NWP model output. It's hard to describe how much these things have improved my quality of life lately. I don't think I'll feel so bad next time I have to pay taxes.

On a somewhat related note... I found out today that next month I'll get to meet and do a photo op with Brad Henry, Governor of Oklahoma.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Catholic Church

I love the Catholic Church. I think it has a lot of problems, and there are many things I disagree with it about. But I love it.

A little history. A few years ago I went through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program at the local Catholic church. It's normally what people do to become members, but I did it to learn more about what they believe. The process took several months. During that time, I also attended the Catholic services every Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed it very much. I was even invited as a guest on a Catholic radio show to talk about the RCIA experience.

Two things stood out most about the Church. First, the people. I always felt so welcome, as if I belonged there. Second, their door is always open. They have a small prayer room that is open to anyone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Even though I no longer attend services there, I still go to the prayer room occasionally. I went there 3 times this week. Every time I'm there it makes me forget about all the disagreements between churches/religions. I see rosaries and other Catholic things there, but they don't remind me of our disagreements. Quite the opposite. They remind me that even though we disagree about so much, we are united in purpose and share a common love for God and each other.