Rand Paul's annual Festivus Report reveals how government forked over millions to universities for ridiculous studies
Sen. Rand Paul’s annual government waste analysis showed that federal bureaucracies wasted millions of dollars commissioning strange research studies at universities.
These studies involved giving cigarettes to kids, developing a smart toilet that videotapes users while they defecate, and testing whether consumers like the taste of cricket powder.
Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) annual government waste report revealed that the federal government spent millions of dollars commissioning strange research studies at universities.
Senator Paul’s annual Festivus Report seeks to make taxpayers aware of how their dollars are wasted. During the 2020 fiscal year, the report dissected nearly $55 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars — enough funds to build enough paved two-lane roadways to stretch around the entire earth eighteen times.
Stanford University used a National Cancer Institute grant to create a “smart toilet,” which uses artificial intelligence, a fingerprint scanner, and multiple cameras for the “long-term analysis of a user’s excreta.” The data is then stored in a digital cloud.
The grant was intended for “early detection and management of cancer.”
The report also notes that the National Institute of Health (NIH) gave researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Michigan over $1.3 million to study whether consumers liked the taste of cricket powder in their foods and beverages.
“The researchers believed ‘the current pressures on global food security, including climate change… have ignited a search for more environmentally sustainable protein sources,’” explained the report. “Got to find a protein substitute when the Green New Deal environmentalists kill all the farting cows!”
The NIH also shelled out nearly $1.5 million to Florida International University, which collaborated with American University in Beirut and the University of Tunis to “develop health-warning labels for hookah pipes to test their effectiveness in getting 18 to 25-year-old people living in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East to stop smoking from water pipes.”
“Though many a state and local government impose sin taxes to try to stop getting people to smoke tobacco, it seems to be to limited success,” commented the report. “Perhaps it is civil society, then, not the government, that can most appropriately influence a person’s behavior.”
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Another NIH program gave Brown University researchers nearly $900,000 for a project that involved giving cigarettes to kids "to test their reactions to various levels of nicotine in the cigarettes," according to the report.
According to the report, the researchers justified their study “by saying they would help determine how cigarettes with lower nicotine content may affect real-world smoking behavior in adolescents.”
The report notes that since the study began in 2014, the nicotine market has shifted toward vaping and other e-cigarette projects.
“It’s not only the antiquation of the studies that is the problem, but the ethical issues too,” said the report. “No matter what their intention was, manifestly, the Brown University researchers are using American taxpayer dollars to give cigarettes to children.”
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It also reveals that in March of 2020, the National Science Foundation spent nearly $200,000 “to get people to walk around New York City with cameras to see if people changed their behavior after coronavirus lockdowns began.”
The report remarked that using snapshots from the 65 study participants is an inferior research method to “using a representative or statistically significant sample” of New York City residents, making “the findings useless for drawing broad conclusions.”
Campus Reform reached out to Sen. Paul’s office for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft