Return of the Golden Fleece

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin used to hand out what he called the “Golden Fleece Awards” to ridicule perceived misuses of federal funds.  In the case of research funded by federal agencies, the projects held up for ridicule were identified because they had titles or summaries that made the scientific, and especially the societal, value hard to discern.  A future project is to see what became of the lines of research that Sen. Proxmire mocked.  Meanwhile, we have a modern update of this enterprise.  Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has set up “WasteBook” to list modern-day examples.  The first one that has come to my attention happens to be a project at San Diego State University  in the field of animal behavior:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/taxpayer-funded-robo-squirrel-makes-senators-2012-wastebook/story?id=17501522#.UIDIC45mFRd

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About ethologist

Professor in the Zoology Department at Michigan State University
This entry was posted in Ethology, Responsible Conduct of Research, Science and public discourse. Bookmark the permalink.

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