The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

February 4, 2014

Research study concludes money spent on some research studies to be pretty dumb

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 — I’m gonna let you in on a few little secrets that are gonna blow your mind.

Pigs love mud.

Overeating can lead to weight gain.

Going bald makes men unhappy.

Friends are awesome.

Sword swallowing can be dangerous.

Busty women get bigger tips at restaurants.

Impressed? See, I told ya.

You know how I found out about these amazing, yet true, facts? I learned them through research studies either funded by the government, colleges or other respected organizations. Little nuggets of truth wrapped up in thousands and even millions of dollars covering long periods of time, in a lot of cases at your expense.

Color me impressed.

I heard on the radio the other day that Denmark was trying to encourage people who ride bicycles and wear helmets to keep them on when they are walking. Their government concluded research that showed cyclists who wear their helmets even when they are not riding are less likely to be injured than if they took the helmet off when they got off the bicycle.

Yeah, you heard me right.

Do a Google search for the phrase “why Danes are weird” and you’ll find numerous websites that expand upon this statement. Dig a little further, and you might even find pictures of Danes with weird hat hair.

In addition to making a delicious pastry, apparently, the Danish not only live what some may call a weird lifestyle, but that also extends into other areas.

Including the obvious.

But those wacky Danes are not the only ones with a degree in “I told you so.” We here in the United States have also embarked over the years in studies, research and mind-blowing and truth-seeking moments of clarity that can only be described in one word.


Did you know abstinence-only education does not lead to abstinent behavior? Luckily, the University of Georgia concluded this incredible fact after a study.

How about this fun fact. When money is tight, some older adults turn to alcohol as a release. You can thank State University of New York for that bit of 4-1-1.

Or how about this … traumatic brain injury frequently leads to headaches. The National Headache Foundation came to this breakthrough conclusion. wrote a brief about this a couple of years ago, saying they were surprised the results didn’t lead to pain in your knees or ankles.

Yeah, I know.

Surely by now we’ve all heard or read about situations where the government or other organizations more or less grab a stack of $100 bills and light them on fire. No doubt to see if the heat from this waste of money is hotter than your average fire.

It’s wasteful spending at its finest. From the military paying thousands of dollars for a toilet seat or a screwdriver to the Harvard School of Public Health taking 14 years to determine party schools love to party.

It only takes Playboy a year to figure this out when it releases its annual list of top party schools. And they’ve released such a list every year for a long time. Or so I’ve been told.

The point is, during a time when the country is $17 trillion in debt, we hear about countless cases of wasteful government spending. This is on top of repeated news of a sluggish economy, how Obamacare is forcing millions to lose their health coverage and other depressing news.

And on top of all that, this is an election year. Which means there will no doubt be countless other forms of wasteful spending by politicians who will go at no expense to keep their comfy seat in Washington so they can receive thousands of dollars in backroom deals to represent us in Congress.

A couple of weeks ago, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn revealed he would not run for office again. He has battled cancer for years and realized it was more important to fight his health status than to tackle the other things in D.C.

Back in December, Coburn released his annual oversight report, “Wastebook 2013,” which highlights examples of wasteful government spending. He’s released such a report for years, and it’s always been interesting reading to find out how the government is wasting your tax dollars.

His latest report showed examples of wasteful spending totaling nearly $30 billion. Among the items mentioned in the report:

n Uncle Sam helped pay for a $914,000 research project by the National Endowment of the Humanities to look at how popular romance novels, films, songs and other forms of entertainment affect us.

n The government spent $7 billion to destroy more than 170 million pounds of useable vehicles and other equipment overseas the military didn’t want to sell or ship back to the U.S.

n The National Institutes of Health spent $325,525 to determine that wives should calm down instead of arguing with their husbands.

n A company in North Carolina was spending $150,000 to develop a math-learning game based on the zombie apocalypse.

And in the “You-can-take-this-for-what-it’s-worth” department, Coburn, a Republician, declared nearly half-a-billion dollars that went into promoting Obamacare and getting the clunky government healthcare website up and running a complete waste. Then, just last week, and other media outlets reported how Coburn lost his cancer doctor because the health insurance plan he enrolled in under Obamacare didn’t cover the specialist.

Coburn said he will continue to pay out of pocket to see his oncologist.

So I guess there’s wasteful spending on all levels. And there doesn’t seem to be much we can do about it. And while it’s obvious our tax dollars do go to good things such as education and helping fight poverty, you can’t help but grit your teeth and bite your tongue when you hear things like how Charlotte tentatively plans a 1.7 percent property tax rate increase to make up for money lost because of Mecklenburg County’s continued revisions to its flawed 2011 property revaluation.

I, on the other hand, will be using part of my hard-earned money for some research of my own. My wife and I will take a trip to the Carribean later this week. No doubt I’ll be using some of that cash to research things such as how much food can I eat, will I get sunburn if I stay outside too long and whether you can really have too much fun in the sun.

Luckily, it won’t cost you the taxpayer anything for me to conduct my research. And I’m pretty sure the results of my findings will be positive.


To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at or (704) 982-2121 ext 21.


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