I’m a little late to the party, but apparently there was a hullabaloo recently over research done on seafood species which involved running shrimp on a tiny treadmill. There was more to the story – the treadmill was somehow used to test the shrimps’ response to changes in water quality – but naturally the thought of spending already-scant dollars on sending shrimp to the gym raised a few eyebrows.
Here are my suggestions for better applications for our precious science dollars.
1. How do spiders get in, and how can we keep them out? I think our apartment is leaking spiders and I don’t know where the holes are or how to plug them. I need science!
2. A replacement for the Concorde. A sweet new supersonic jet could be just the thing to boost air travel. Well, getting rid of the TSA may help, but a highly-engineered aircraft that can cross the Atlantic in half the time would be cool, too.
4. Affordable virtual reality gaming systems. The day they come out with a fully-realized virtual-reality version of a Star Wars game will be the day I need never buy another video game again.
5. What are cats looking at when they do that creepy thing where they just stare at a spot on the wall for a while? This should be pretty simple to investigate – just get the guys from “Ghost Hunters” to attach their gear to a cat.
6. Restoring scent to roses. Breeding for visual appeal has made many rose varieties lose their scent, which is rather sad.
7. A better hairspray that actually works. The current options seem to be “has no effect” and “renders hair into concrete.” If we can make armor out of spider silk and goat milk, we can make flexible yet firm hairspray.
8. Food production. Ninety percent of the world’s wheat is susceptible to a very dangerous fungus because most of the wheat grown worldwide is the same strain. The meat and dairy industries still have tons of issues to work out. The organic and slow-food movements aren’t quite the silver bullet everyone hoped they would be. The world’s food production needs a serious overhaul and we don’t even need to resort to all-GMOs to fix things – check out all the types of potatoes you can get in Peru!
9. Another space station. I know the International Space Station was designed to be temporary, but it seems like our national infatuation with outer space has died away, and I’m afraid that once the ISS goes down, nothing will go up to replace it. It makes my inner 1960s-sci-fi fan sad.
10. Making kittens glow in the dark so we can study AIDS better. Oh wait, they did that.
What would you add?