The National Institutes of Drug Abuse spent $780,000 (and five years) studying whether pizza was as addictive as drugs. Findings: 100 college students surveyed said they felt pizza was indeed addictive, but not as addictive as ice cream, chocolate, or French fries.
In 2015, the Department of Defense spent $2 million on a new robot. One that will attack the enemy like the Terminator? Try Trumpet-inator: this robot will play a trumpet and improvise jazz music alongside human musicians.
Two grad students at the University of Washington received a $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study how foam beer can holders known as “koozies” keep beer cold.
The National Science Foundation awarded $853,000 to Yakima Valley Community College in Washington state to expand its winemaking program. Community colleges cater largely to 18-to-20-year olds, so some of the money will go toward serving alcohol…to minors.
The National Institute of Health spent $1 million testing the physiological response of the body to strenuous exercise. How? By putting 12 marmosets inside transparent hamster balls and making them run on a treadmill at increasing speeds. Three monkeys pooped in their balls; another vomited. (The National Institute on Aging spent $600,000 of taxpayer money on a similar study.)
Stop ’n’ Go
In 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development spent $2 million on a campaign urging Americans to visit Lebanon. That’s the same year the State Department warned Americans to “avoid all travel in Lebanon because of ongoing safety and security concerns” because of ISIS terrorist cells operating inside the country.
NASA spent $1.2 million on a Colorado State University study of “the impact of space travel on bones.” They simulated weightlessness by fitting two dozen sheep with braces that kept one hind leg in the air, throwing off their balance in a way that is only remotely similar to the loss of balance astronauts feel in zero gravity.