Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summertime Blues with North Carolina Well Represented on the List of 100 Stimulus Projects That Give Taxpayers The Blues


Summertime Blues 100 Stimulus Projects that give taxpayers the blues

The above scribd version is a report called Summertime Blues from Senators Dr. Tom Coburn and John McCain who have a list of 100 stimulus projects that give taxpayers the blues. Let's see some of the projects that made the list from our State of North Carolina. We even have one that made  #2 .

“Dance Draw” - Interactive Dance Software Development (Charlotte, NC) - $762,372

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte received more than $760,000 in stimulus funds to help develop a computerized choreography program that its creators believe could lead to a YouTube-like
“Dance Tube” online application.10 The grant says UNC-Charlotte will “define an evolving system that
assists in the design and production of interactive dance performances with real-time audience
interaction.”11A device is attached to each dancer, which will be recorded on video,12 and their movements will be logged and analyzed. “This will allow choreographers to explore interactive dance without always
having a full cast of dancers present,” the grant states.13One day, dance performances may enjoy the
popularity of YouTube hits like “double rainbow”14 or “dramatic-look prairie dog.”15States the grant:
“The system will be extended into a Web-based ‘Dance Tube’ application that will allow the public to
engage in interactive dance choreography.”16Administrative expenses are unusually high for this project, however. The project’s lead researcher noted that the university is taking a 44 percent cut to cover “overhead expenses.”
 Monkeys Get High for Science (Winston-Salem, NC) - $144,541

Researchers at Wake Forest University think that, in at least one case, it is good to monkey around with stimulus dollars. The Department of Health and Human Services has sent $144,541 to the Winston-Salem college to see how monkeys react under the influence of cocaine. The project, titled “Effect of Cocaine Self-Administration on Metabotropic
Glutamate Systems,” would have the monkeys self-administer the drugs while researchers monitor and study their glutamate levels.224When asked how studying drug-crazed primates would improve the national economy, a Wake Forest University Medical School Spokesman said, “It's actually the continuation of a job that might not still be there if it hadn't been for the stimulus funding. And it’s a good job.” He added, “It’s also very worthwhile research.”225

Reducing Menopausal Hot Flashes Through Yoga (Winston-Salem, NC) - $294,958

1n 1966, His Holiness Sri Swami Satchidanandaji Maharaj created the practice of Integral Yoga,272 a branch of yoga with a significant spiritual emphasis. Now, researchers at Wake Forest University have received nearly $300,000 to study whether Integral Yoga “can be an effective method to reduce the frequency and/or severity of hot flashes” in menopausal women.273“The goal of Integral Yoga, and the birthright of every individual, is to realize the spiritual unity behind all the diversities in the entire creation and to live harmoniously as members of one universal family.”274A total of 60 post-menopausal women who experience more than seven hot flashes a day are being recruited to participate.275

Research: Marketing Video Games to the Elderly (Raleigh, NC and Atlanta, GA) - $1.2 million North Carolina State University and Georgia Institute of Technology research scientists received

$770,856 and $427,824, respectively, in stimulus grants from the National Science Foundation for
collaborative research into how video games, such as Nintendo Wii’s Boom Blox,276 can help improve
mental health for the elderly.277“Results will aid designers who currently have little knowledge of the
interface and game-play needs of older players.”278According to the overseers of the study, “One of our
main goals is to produce guidelines for producing games for older adults.”279

Improving Privacy on Social Networking Websites (Durham, NC) - $498,176288

 Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina have received a grant from the National Science Foundation worth almost a half million dollars for investigating new networking approaches for improved privacy and functionality for social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace.289 A local reporter interviewed the NSF program manager overseeing the project and asked about the seemingly large award. He replied that the NSF considered reducing the amount of the award, but choose not to in consideration of engineering challenges of the project which “merited the significant sum.”290Taxpayers might share the view of a student, who was also interviewed, who asked, “…you kind of choose to make a Facebook, so why should [NSF] be investing all this money?”291

Museum With 44 Annual Visitors Gets Funding for Bug Storage (Raleigh, NC) -$253,123 

What is the best way to simultaneously preserve an insect collection, promote a haiku contest and produce bug baseball cards? Simple. A grant to the North Carolina State University Insect Museum.The museum boasts being an “internationally recognized resource for the study of insects and mites in North Carolina, the Southeastern United States, and, in several insect groups, the world.”435The Museum, which has “virtually no public presence” (it gets about 44 visitors a year), will also use the money for outreach efforts.436It also hosts the annual Hexapod Haiku Challenge every March on its blog.437In 2008, the Insect Museum submitted a proposal for a National Science Foundation (NSF) Biological Research Collections grant, which the NSF declined.438Based on that same proposal, last year the NSF awarded the Insect Museum $253,123439 in stimulus funds to purchase new cabinets, drawers, and units for its specimens and a new computer server and software.440 Using stimulus funds, the Museum has started an “Insect of the Week” series on its website441 and plans a physical presence at the Yates Mill Pond County Park.442In addition, for the yearly BugFest festival, the Museum will design and distribute “packs of baseball-style cards featuring North Carolina’s native and fascinating insects (quote attached) [sic]. An image of the insect will be printed on the front, with statistics and information on the back. This effort will help raise awareness of how insects contribute to our lives (focusing on positive contributions) and why natural history collections are critical to understanding and documenting biodiversity trends.”443


Addiction Studies Program for Journalists (Winston-Salem, NC) - $266,505

Wake Forest University is using $266,505 in stimulus funds to continue its annual science education

workshops for reporters.444“These workshops employ an interactive, problem-based format that
engages the skills and knowledge of working journalists. Participants will have ample time to interact
with program faculty — internationally known scientists, teachers of journalism, award-winning
journalists from the print and broadcast media, and others who have made important contributions to
the drug-abuse field.”445

Nice to see North Carolina well represented with 7 on this list but it needs to go down as government waste at it's best. But let's take a look at #1 on the list from above , amazing


Forest Service to Replace Windows in Visitor Center Closed in 2007 (Amboy, WA) - $554,763 Despite having no plans to reopen a shuttered visitor center at Mount St. Helens in Washington State,

the U.S. Forest Service is spending more than $554,000 to replace its windows.1 One government official likened it to “keeping a vacant house in good repair,” while another official noted that there is hope to find some purpose for the building in the future, whether as a hotel, science camp or restaurant.2Despite those efforts, there are no current plans to use the empty space.3 Spending $11.5 million in 1993, the Forest Service opened the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center to provide visitors to Mount St. Helens a “sweeping view of the volcano”4 through the center’s soaring windows.5 In 2007, however, the Forest Service closed down the visitor center after just 14 years in operation.6Former USDA official, Mark Rey, said at the time regarding Mount St. Helens, “we have more visitor center capacity than the public can reasonably use.”7 Officials are hoping to maintain the facility so that another use can be found, such as a lodge or educational facility.8But the Forest Service has been criticized in the past for poor facilities management, especially within the Mount St. Helens National Monument, and there is no sign that an economically viable use for the center is close to being found.

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1 comment:

家唐銘 said...