Thursday, March 21, 2013

More Our Tax Dollars At Work

In a follow-up to yesterday's post about our tax dollars being poured down a rat-hole to study lesbian drinking habits, we now have this study that is even more absurd.

$384,949 Federal Study Looks at ‘Plasticity in Duck Penis Length’
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $384,949 grant to Yale University for a study on “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia”, according to the recovery.gov website.

The grant description says,“The project examines how reproductive morphology covaries with season, age, and social environment in a diverse sample of duck species that differ in ecology, territoriality and breeding system.”
In other words, the project examines duck dicks.
The grant was made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus package.
Of course it was. After all, the stimulus package was intended for 'shovel-ready' projects that would create jobs and repair our crumbling infrastructure. Paying a gaggle of eggheads to study the penis length of ducks is certainly one way of doing that.
“In the last quarter, we have prepared a manuscript for submission on the results of the first two years of experiments on social phenotypic plasticity in duck penis length in Lesser Scaup and Ruddy Duck. Experiments continued on genital social phenotypic plasticity in Mandarin Duck and Laysan Teal,” a 2010 fourth quarter recovery.gov update on the study says.
Huh?
Many duck penises are cork-screw shaped and some scientists believe this is because of a form of evolution known as “sexual conflict”.
If my penis was cork-screw shaped there would undoubtedly be some "sexual conflict" between my wife and I.
"The NSF strives to be good stewards of taxpayers dollars," (NSF spokeswoman Deborah Wing) says, "Basic research often is combined with other research efforts and turns into bigger things."
"...turns into bigger things." Is Ms. Wing making a double entendre? And did you catch the delicious irony of her name - "Wing"?
The NSF grant abstract states, “Broader impacts of the research will be international, national, local, and personal."
I guess studying duck penis lengths might be personal to the individual ducks, but I'm not sure how it will be personal to a human.
Among those having a personal experience with the study are young minorities. “The project will incorporate high school students from under-represented minorities through the Yale University EVOLUTIONISTS program,” the NSF grant page says.
Ah, now I see. It's for the children. And not just any children, but minority children. How could anyone have a problem with that, unless they're racist.

I withdraw my objection.

Now pardon me while I go bang my head against the wall...

(H/T to iOTW for the link and the image below.)

A researcher measures the length of Donald's appendage.

4 comments:

Toejam said...

"Now pardon me while I go bang my head against the wall..."

Not too loud please, CTT...

After I read this story of gogernment idiocy I developed a throbing migraine.

CenTexTim said...

Don't worry, Toejam, the room where they keep me has padded walls.

Harper said...

Swine also have corkscrew shaped penises. And they ejaculate 200-500mL at a time.

I forgot to ask if your future Aggie will be taking any Animal Science courses? If so, you might have stimulating dinner conversation over Spring Break that includes fun facts about animal reproductive systems, such as those I mentioned above.

CenTexTim said...

No Animal Science courses, at least at this point. Which is probably for the best. Our dinner table conversations are 'stimulating' enough already.

Me: Chew with your mouth closed.

Son: Sam stuffed a whole box of Chicken McNuggets in his mouth yesterday before he started chewing.