Bad research spending

Perhaps Congress should have been spending more research money on clean coal, biofuels, synthetic fuel, more efficient solar cells, and any countless other “green” projects. But this administration wants to create a Cap and Trade Tax solution that will drive up energy prices. This will do nothing to solve the energy problem but will create another great speculators market for the likes of Goldman Sachs.

Since passage of the stimulus bill in February of 2009, watchdogs and media outlets have identified countless examples of wasteful, unnecessarily duplicative, and outrageous expenditures. Unfortunately, most of these expenditures only come to light after the money has been spent. This is particularly true in the area of research grants. Examples of grants made with stimulus funds about which questions have been raised after the grant was awarded include:

  • a study on why young adults use malt liquor and marijuana in combination ($389,357)
  • the impact of alcohol on the “hookup” behavior of female college coeds ($219,000)
  • studying whether mice become disoriented when they consume alcohol ($8,408)
  • developing a program for “machine-generated humor” ($712,883)
  • studying methamphetamines and the female rat sex drive ($28,900)
  • studying the tension between privacy and features in online social networks like Facebook ($498,000)
  • testing how to control private home appliances in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts from an off-site computer ($787,250)
  • developing the next generation of football gloves ($150,000)
  • examining the division of labor in ant colonies ($950,000)
  • studying the Icelandic Arctic environment in the Viking Age ($94,902)

The total amount may be small, and basic research is valuable, but how will any of this research help “We the people”?

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