Poop-throwing chimps, duck genitalia and other egregious taxpayer expenses
By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Nearly 75 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin are opposed to using state funds to construct a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, according to a poll released last week by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for Urban Initiatives and Research.
But since the government loves spending taxpayer dollars, don’t be surprised if those voices are ignored.
It’s not like politicians or bureaucrats are risking their own money building a $400 million, state-of-the-art facility for an NBA team that had the worst record and lowest attendance this past season.
Here are seven other taxpayer-funded projects that should leave you screaming for an exodus of public officials:
1. Spending faster than a speeding bullet
The U.S. Army National Guard shelled out $10 million last year to increase awareness and consideration of service opportunities by partnering with Warner Bros. and its latest Superman movie, “Man of Steel.”
The hefty price tag of the “Soldier of Steel” recruitment campaign included theater ads, online video games, a series of workout videos and sports car design wraps.
And this all happened while the National Guard was facing massive spending cuts.
Yeah, super idea.
2. Please tell me more about the nether regions of ducks
Yale University has been awarded a $385,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on the “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia.”
The key finding so far? Evolution has caused most ducks to have corkscrew-shaped penises.
I can now sleep easy at night.
3. It’s the end of the world — let’s count
The National Science Foundation also paid an interactive media firm $150,000 to design a zombie-themed math game where players defends against the undead in an effort to save the human race.
The company ended up making three “mini-games” instead that were tested on 80 middle school students.
Just imagine how many abaci, textbooks and calculators that could buy.
4. Do you really want to open up this can of worms?
Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study biological and social factors for why “three-quarters” of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not.
I may not be the smartest person in the world, but I know it’s never wise to bring up a woman’s weight — no matter her sexual preference.
That’s just asking for trouble.
5. Maybe they should’ve consulted with Demi Moore first
The federal government has spent $27 million in recent years to try to improve the economic competitiveness of Morocco by teaching the foreign country’s residents how to design and make pottery.
The only problem?
A review by the Inspector General for the U.S. Agency for International Development found the project was “not on track to meet its goals,” partly because the translator hired for the sessions wasn’t fluent in English and couldn’t transmit large portions of the lectures to participants.
6. The scoop on the poop
Agnes Scott College professor William Hopkins and other researchers used a portion of a $600,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to understand why chimpanzees throw feces and food.
Apparently chimps learned to fling objects to control or manipulate the behavior of humans or other apes.
Tell me something I don’t already know. Whenever I’m at the zoo and it looks like a primate is going to hurl a fastball of poop, I’m wise enough to take cover.
7. Are you talkin’ to me?
Michigan once used $10,000 in federal funding for 400 interactive urinal cakes that warned bar patrons about the dangers of drunk driving.
I don’t know about you, but if I was three sheets to the wind and a urinal started communicating with me, I’d probably be so scared I’d do whatever it took to get back home — even if it meant getting behind the wheel.
Talk about flushing money down the toilet.
Contact Adam Tobias at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Scoop_Tobias