in Houston, Texas
Taxpayer-funded researchers bristle at criticism; see Texas Watchdog’s story on federal stimulus-funded research of weather on planet Venus
Wednesday, Aug 24, 2011, 11:52AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Venus

It took a while, but the distress cries of research scientists criticized by politicians for wasting billions in taxpayer funds on questionable studies have reached the sympathetic ears of National Public Radio.

Researchers tell NPR studies that selectively and unfairly focus on elements of their work that might seem ridiculous to the public create a climate of suspicion that could threaten future funding.

The critical examination in question by the staff of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., alleges the National Science Foundation has squandered more than $3 billion on research that includes what the story says has become the catch-phrase for research waste, the shrimp on a treadmill.

It is worth reading the story for a description of the scientific ingenuity involved in the crustacean workout routine.

Although the study roasting the exercising shrimp on the barbie of public opinion is actually five months old, these criticisms apparently rankle.This, however, isn’t the first time Sen. Coburn has trained his ire on what he says is wasted taxpayer-paid research.

Coburn and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., teamed last August on Summertime Blues, a study of 100 research projects that in their opinion frittered away hundreds of millions of dollars of stimulus funds that created very few jobs.

Among the projects ridiculed were studies of weather on the planet Venus and a study of public perceptions of the stimulus that funded the study by two Texas researchers and reported on in some considerable detail by Texas Watchdog.

Taxpayers were on the hook for $492,499 for the two studies.

Coburn’s study says the National Science Foundation does good and necessary work. “While taxpayers support investing in science,” Coburn wrote in the study’s foreward, “most would likely question the merits of these projects.”
 
***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Composite image of planet Venus by NASA.
Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 6 years 8 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 6 years 8 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 6 years 8 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 6 years 8 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble http://t.co/4OfeBlrG (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 6 years 8 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services" http://t.co/TOLgRVak
TxDOT | 6 years 8 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
© 2018 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement