Investing money in research, how much is a waste?

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From the beginning of this blog I can honestly say that any human being to argue that research is a waste of money however there are some occasions actually lots of occasions where research money and time would have been better spent elsewhere.  In this time of cutbacks and increasing poverty I am regularly shocked to hear the results of research and wonder if these programs are serious or just a joke.

“Dog owners are more likely to be healthier than those who don’t own dog’s because they walk more frequently.” is an example of one of these research projects.  I sit and wonder how many man hours were spent on such research and how much money.  I also wonder why someone would even bother to investigate something that would be blatantly obvious to most people.  I have heard others such as “those that sleep less at night are less likely to live as long.”  which also goes without saying considering the basic science behind this.

Are people just making up pointless research to create jobs?  Is there a budget that needs to be used up annually in order to keep their budget much like the road maintenance that councils have?  Are they conducting this research in places of Higher education and charging the student for the privilege?  Did we need such conclusive evidence or could we have assumed the answers on the back of the research that concluded that those that walk daily are healthier than those that don’t?

To me it would be much like me conducting research to prove that it is darker at night than it is in the day, perhaps I could sit up with light meters night after night recording the data for a month or a year comparing those results to my light meter during the day and concluding that it is indeed darker at night.

Who would fund this if I was to approach any professional body or organisation?  Perhaps there is an actual organisation that has a pot of financial resources just sitting there ready to throw money at stupid research?

If I conducted my research over the year would you consider me employer or unemployed based on the usefulness of the research considering I would be in receipt of pay from the funding?

Is this just another way to create jobs for overqualified specialists who were promised careers after they completed their 4 – 7 year degree and received a qualification so that they can be a part of a research program that isn’t actually required yet without it we would have a higher unemployment rate?

I can’t actually see the true point to throwing money at such things when all around us humanity is in jeopardy because of poverty related issues.

Don’t even get me started on the space program, which I still see has offered no benefit to humanity even though billions has been thrown at it over the years.  How many people have suffered over those years that could have been prevented by scrapping the space program and spending that money on other more worthwhile projects such as research into “do poor people have less money than rich people?” (my attempt at sarcasm.)

Here’s one I found online earlier:

How long can a shrimp run on a treadmill?
Really? Do we need to spend $3 million just to watch shrimps run on a treadmill? Actually, yes, if we want to begin to understand the effects of bacteria on mobility, according to National Science Foundation spokeswoman Maria Zacharias. The National Science Foundation’s page on the study explains that these tests help us better understand the effects of pollution and a crustacean’s natural immune defense system have on the survival of the species. Since the survival of the species can not only affect the environment but also the fishing and seafood industry, the study of a shrimp’s ability to run away from predators and survive when its health is compromised by human influence through pollution, is pretty important.

Has this $3 million been of any aid in answering their questions?

I would love to hear of any research results that you heard that made you think “what on earth was the point?”

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