Shrimp, Rap, and Farmville?

  • Jell-O wrestling and nude parties at a science research station in the Antarctic 
  • A treadmill for shrimp, costing $500k
  • A year of pornography and chat rooms during work hours
  • Forty-seven romantic trips, costing around $144k
  • A study about why the same friggin’ teams dominate March Madness every year, costing $80k 
  • A study on how playing Farmville on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships, costing $315k
  • A study analyzing how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names, costing $1m
  • The development of a laundry-folding robot, costing $1.5m
  • A study that shows that people who post pictures on the internet from the same location at about the same time are usually friends, costing over $2m
  • A bunch of amateur video clips about science, costing $50k.

It was reported today that all of the above activities was funded by the National Science Foundation using our tax dollars.  What???  Ok, this looks really bad but most bureaucracies have some waste and lax managers.  So get rid of the bad apples and lazy bums.  Hire some motivated people, people who have the expertise for the job and who NEED the job. 

I can understand the wrestling and polar bear party in the Antarctic.  Seriously, what else would you do with your free time there?  And if this were just a single person organizing some much-needed relief and fun, then discipline the organizers, determine WHY the employees need distractions, and help them deal with life in the Antarctic!  You definitely have a morale issue in that research center!

Yet it seems to me that building a treadmill for shrimp was a well thought-out project which couldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment idea, especially not for $500,000.  They needed to measure the impact of sickness on shrimp why???  Measure the impact of ridiculous ideas on our federal budget instead!!!

Does it really take a YouTube rap video called Money 4 Drugz and a song called “Biogas is a Gas, Gas, Gas” to get our kids interested in science?  What ever happened to teaching kids in the classroom, making it fun to learn, peaking their interest with your enthusiasm?  And I could’ve told you that if two people post the same picture from the same location at about the same time, they are probably friends and it wouldn’t cost us $2 million dollars.  But the real question here is why someone would want to know something like that so badly that they would actually plan a project to get some actual numbers to report to someone who cares!

What is it with the federal government and crazy spending?  Everyone is watching the budget and the bank account, but no one seems to be watching the coin purse.  Instead of rehashing old territory, can some government official go through every department and have every manager justify the reasoning behind every project costing over a certain amount?  I used to think that projects over $1 billion, or even $1 million, should be reviewed annually, just to make sure that the project is still necessary but, looking at these numbers, maybe we should shorten that time to every quarter, for every project over $10k, just until we get a few trillion of the debt paid off. 

We seem to be sinking from the puddles of unwatched waste and abuse, as much as from the floods of departmental spending.  Some of these activities are old, I understand that.  Yet they shouldn’t have happened in the first place.  Now that we are trillions in debt, we need closer oversight so this type of thing doesn’t happen again.

Oh, and where did I read this story, you ask???   The Daily Mail out of London!  Sure makes the U.S.A. look brilliant, doesn’t it?


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