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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The National Science Foundation paid $300,000 for a study on 'How Humans Interact with Bicycles'. This project, which wasted our tax dollars from October 2009 through June 2013, studied how humans interact with bicycles.

The way I see it ... and I offer my observations as an armchair-scientist ... is that humans throw their leg over the bike, step on the forward-most pedal to begin moving, then put their other foot on the other pedal ... and ride off. Easy-peasy!

They could sit on my front porch during the summer and observe this phenomena all day ... for free!

One researcher stated that "Although human-operator control models exist for numerous aircraft and other vehicles, the bicycle with a rider is a human-vehicle system whose dynamic behavior is poorly understood. Even the simplest models of a bicycle with a rigidly attached rider have yet to be completely understood. 

(Okay, stop here a minute ... are they suggesting we need flexibly attached riders?)

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
"If successful, this research will improve the fundamental understanding of how humans interact with bicycles and will help pave the way to the design of bicycles for a wider population and for a wider range of tasks.”

(Stop again ... like a bicycle built for two, or a rick-shaw, perhaps? Brilliant ideas!)

Another brilliant researcher said “(Almost) everybody knows how to ride a bike, but (almost) no one knows how we ride a bike.”

Really??? Is that one of the arguments they used to persuade the government to fund this study? And, more importantly, did they ever stop to consider that the bicycle industry may have already studied the dynamics of bike riding in order to built a better bike, thus improving their sales and giving them a leg-up (no pun intended) on their competition?

The presentation of their research included a video of a professor struggling to ride a bike on a treadmill and nearly falling. The researchers then discovered that the professor could maintain balance when he is tied to the treadmill.

(Stop again ... did they use a real professor, or just someone professing to be a professor? Would it have skewed their results if they used, I don't know ... a plumber instead? So are they saying we should tie all professors to treadmills or just the ones riding bikes? And, here's the million dollar question ... won't that make it more difficult to actually go somewhere, thus defeating the purpose of riding the bike to the store to decrease their carbon footprint? And while I'm on the subject ... doesn't riding a bike on an electric treadmill actually increase ones carbon footprint?)

Riding a bike takes balance and coordination, which is why toddlers need training wheels, but is riding a bike really so complicated and difficult to understand that we need to spend $300,000 studying it? Toddlers (and many adults) also can't pat their head and rub their belly at the same time, and I see that as a much more pressing issue... don't you?!

I think there needs to be a study on that! And I'll do it ... for the cut-rate, bargain price of only $225,000!!!

 (You can read the full article on the genius behind this study here.)

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't require a genius to figure out what we really need is a study on why any program beneficial to the people (a.k.a. the taxpayers) gets cut first, but then the funds miraculously appear for these studies (a.k.a. absurdities.)