NSF and Shrimp Treadmills

Recently the National Science Foundation was scolded in a report by Sen. Tom Coburn for, among other things, spending $500,000 to put shrimp on treadmills. Today the NSF responded with a press conference. Below is a transcript.

Okay, let’s get started. My name is, Bill Loney, I’m the directory of research here at the National Science Foundation. As you’ve heard, the NSF recently spent $500,000 on treadmills for shrimp. Now I know several of you have been asking “How could a treadmill costs that much?”. Well, you see, the answer is that the treadmills themselves really didn’t cost that much…only a few thousand dollars or so. The bulk of the cost went into developing a machine that we called “The Mini Maker”. This is a device capable of shrinking any inanimate object to a much smaller size. We then used the Mini Maker to shrink the treadmills so the shrimp could ride on them.

Any questions?

Reporter: How much did it cost to build this shrinking machine?

Let me see, I’ve got the paper with the numbers here somewhere…here it is…$259,294 and twenty three cents.

Reporter: What happened to the rest of the money?

It was spent on destroying the shrinking machine.

Reporter: You spent all that taxpayer money on a revolutionary scientific breakthrough — and then destroyed it?!?!

Yes, the EPA declared that it was bad for the environment — too many harmful emissions.

Reporter: (Speechless)

In hindsight, we probably could have saved some money by going with cheaper treadmills, but the grant money was already there, so we went for the deluxe models.

Reporter: Did you get any useful scientific data from this?

Yes. We learned that shrimp that haven’t been on a treadmill taste better than shrimp that have.

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