1- Zero Gravity When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C. The Russians used a pencil. Your taxes are due again -- enjoy paying them.
2 - Our Constitution They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.
3 - Ten Commandments The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse is that you cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal", Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians! It creates a hostile work environment.
FYI: Urban Legend:This story perfectly illustrates the perils of government waste; pity it's not quite true. NASA didn't have $12 billion to spend on anything when it first started sending astronauts into space in the early 1960s. The agency's entire budget for the 1960 was $500 million; by 1965, it was up to $5.2 billion, still not enough to throw away $12 billion reinventing the ballpoint pen. Be that as it may, beginning with the Apollo program astronauts did begin using a specially-designed zero-gravity pen called the Fisher Space Pen. The nitrogen-pressurized space pen worked in "freezing cold, desert heat, underwater and upside down," as well as in the weightless conditions of outer space.
It was developed not by NASA, however, but by one enterprising individual, Paul C. Fisher, owner of the Fisher Space Pen Company. By his own account, Fisher spent "thousands of hours and millions of dollars" of his own money in research and development — not billions.
The Fisher Space Pen is still used by both American and Russian astronauts on every space flight, and you can even buy one yourself direct from the company for a measly 50 bucks.
"There exists a common urban legend claiming that the Americans spent millions of dollars developing the Space Pen, and the Russians used a pencil. In fact, NASA programs have used pencils (for example a 1965 order of mechanical pencils) but because of the danger that a broken-off pencil tip poses in zero gravity and the flammable nature of the wood present in pencils a better solution was needed.
NASA never approached Paul Fisher to develop a pen, nor did Fisher receive any government funding for the pen's development. Fisher invented it independently, and then asked NASA to try it. After the introduction of the AG7 Space Pen, both the American and Soviet (later Russian) space agencies adopted it. Previously both the Russian and American astronauts used grease pencils and plastic slates.
Another rumor has it that the Apollo 11 astronauts accidentally snapped off a switch which was necessary to permit them to fire the engine to return to Earth, and that a Fisher Space Pen was used to press this button. While the incident did occur, Buzz Aldrin has stated that, in fact, he used a felt-tip pen for this."
sageapprais... 12 billion 12 million 12 thousand the point is hard earned tax dollars are wasted I got rid of all my pencils for fear they would burst into flames.
No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth! (Ronald Reagan,
But ethical issues aside, is NASA a waste of money? Certainly there are positive results from NASA’s taxpayer-funded ventures. We have learned a great deal about the universe, and have been presented with many (hopefully not Photoshopped!) photos of celestial bodies. But despite the apparent rewards, it is impossible to ignore the heavy burden imposed upon citizens of this country. I can think of plenty of better ways to spend $17 billion this year, can’t you? The argument always made in favor of any policy or department created by our elected leaders is just that—we’ve elected these people through the democratic process, so if we don’t like what they’re doing, we’re free to vote them out of office. This concept, though, is intellectually and Constitutionally hollow; we do not have a democracy, nor are our leaders entitled to pass whatever laws they choose. Though the vast majority ignore and abuse it, our elected leaders have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, which gives our federal branches of government enumerated (specific and limited) powers. This means that even if every single official in Congress was in favor of NASA, it is still illegal (since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, as we all learned in school) to allow the federal government to have anything to do with it. Spare me all the platitudes of exploring God’s creations, learning more about ourselves and our planet’s history, and propelling humanity into the future. Any defense of a government-run space agency holds no water unless authority for such an initiative can be demonstrated. Instead, common sense and history both teach us that private enterprise will always succeed far better than any government-created enterprise, and at far less of an expense. Is the knowledge we’ve gained about our neighboring galaxies really worth $17 billion annually? Perhaps. Is it worth taking $17 billion in taxes from U.S. citizens each year by force? Absolutely not.