Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake released his annual booklet of government programs fiscal conservatives deem to be wasteful, highlighting the many bizarre items on which the federal government spends money.
The tradition of releasing a book of government waste was started by retired Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, which Flake has maintained in recent years. This year, Flake titled the booklet “PORKémon Go.”
Here are some the most strange things you can find in the wastebook.
1. Exercising fish
The University of California-San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography tested the endurance of mudskipper fish after receiving a $560,000 stimulus grant from the National Science Foundation.
The total costs of the fish workout program racked up to $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars, according to Flake's report.
2. Binge-watching TV shows
If you have ever watched television shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “The Office” for free, you missed out.
The National Science Foundation issued a $460,000 grant, which was aided by the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research, to design a computer algorithm that would “watch and observe” visual data. That visual data consisted of 600 hours of television and 400 hours of internet videos.
3. Singing dinosaurs
The National Science Foundation spent $450,000, across three grants, to find out if dinosaurs could sing like their very distant relatives, birds, do every morning.
The scientists examined the bird vocal organ, called the syrinx, to see if it could be found in dinosaur fossils.
However, according to Flake's report, the scientists “searched the dinosaur fossil record for other examples of a syrinx. Thus far, they have found none.”
4. Ultimate hamster fighting
Mixed Martial Arts fights draw millions of viewers across the United States. So naturally, one would want to expand to the hamster demographic.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has supplied as much as $3.4 million in funding to study rodent aggression over the past two decades. To study such a thing, they pitted hamsters against one another in cage matches, organizing them by weight and giving them steroids.
One of the research reports stated that “the results are chilling," adding:
"Within ten minutes, the steroid-injected hamsters become violent, vicious. They are not cute and cuddly anymore. They attack one another.”
The results were then drawn to attempt to explain the effects of steroids on humans, which are relatively similar.
Bulk up, son.
5. Fear of going to the dentist
For many, going to the dentist can be scary. Three grants from the National Institutes of Health, totaling $3.5 million, to West Virginia University sought to determine exactly why that is.
“Fear of pain has been shown to be a critical component," the report found.
6. Gender roles and playing with Barbie dolls
The NIH’s National Eye Institute along with the National Science Foundation provided $300,000 to Vanderbilt University to determine which gender was best at identifying various Barbie faces.
The results found that women knew their Barbies better.
The men, however, were able to better identify Transformers (robots in disguise) toys.
“Clearly, the faces you experience as a child leave a trace in your adult memory,” said one of the researchers. “It is unlikely that this effect is limited to these particular toys.”
Read the entire “PORKémon Go” report here.