The PJ Tatler

Waste Watch: how the Feds study March Madness, online dating and rap music

Ever hear of the U.S. National Science Foundation?  Don’t be too broken-hearted if you haven’t.  It is one of at least 15 federal departments, 72 sub-agencies, and 12 independent agencies engaged in federal scientific research. And now we can say we know what types of ridiculous research they are conducting over there at the NSF — and at taxpayer expense.

In the name of “scientific research,” NSF researchers have studied online dating services, March Madness, Farmville on Facebook, trendy baby names, and rap songs. Other NSF researchers concluded that “people who often post pictures on the Internet from the same location at the same time are usually friends.” Overall, there is at least $1.2 billion “due to waste, fraud, duplication and mismanagement.”

This is the conclusion of a fascinating study released today by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), titled “The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope.”

Sen. Coburn found that hundreds of millions of dollars were lost to ineffective contracting. And his staff identified “at least” $3 million in excessive travel funds.

And, the NSF left $1.7 billion on the table unspent.

However, the Senator did demolish the myth that government researchers are kind of quiet and dorky.  He noted that at an NSF operated facility in Antartica, there was “porn surfing and Jello wrestling and skinny-dipping.”

Skinny-dipping in artic waters? Now these must be wild and crazy NSF guys.