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And furthermore, do you really care? Well, either the National Science Foundation cares, or they’re in a contest with other people to come up with the most idiotic uses of taxpayer dollars ever known to man. I’m going with the contest scenario.

Here’s the scoop. A senate report recently revealed that the NSF has mismanaged about $3 billion – partly to fund the exercise ability of shrimp… on a treadmill. Apparently, NSF employees tested sick shrimps’ metabolism. And boy, who could’ve guessed what they found:

The sick shrimp “did not perform as well and did not recover as well from exercise as healthy shrimp,” according to the report. Price tag to come to this “my-9-year-old-could’ve-guessed-this” conclusion? $559,681.

But the story doesn’t end there. Among the other ways the NSF used our tax dollars:

  • Jell-O wrestling in Antarctica
  • A laundry-folding robot
  • A YouTube rap video
  • A robot hoedown and rodeo
  • Virtual recreation of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair

The senate report goes on to say that the NSF did fire the organizer of the Jell-O fiasco, and the staff got a big lecture, blah, blah, blah. According to some emails from people at the NSF McMurdo Station in Antarctica, Raytheon Polar Services paid for the wrestling matches, so who knows.

But here’s the scariest part. A spokesperson for the NSF had this to say:

“We believe that no other funding agency in the world comes close to NSF for giving taxpayers the best return on their investment.”

Tell that  to the shrimp on the treadmill. I’m not buying it.



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