See These Shocking Things Your Taxes Paid For

See how your tax dollars have been put to work.

When you get your paycheck every two weeks, odds are you feel the sting of what your pay could be versus what it actually is after taxes are taken out. Many people try to justify the chunk of cash by believing it is going towards the greater good — but do you really know what your tax dollars are going towards?

Keep reading to see some of the strangest things your tax dollars help fund.

No. 1: Fish on Treadmills

If you’re a little out of shape, hitting the gym might make you feel like a fish out of water. For these aquatic creatures at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, that’s literally what they were. The Institution used a $560,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to force fish to exercise to exhaustion on treadmills. Yes, you read that correctly — treadmills. Scientists reportedly chose mudskippers, thanks to their “unique ability to use fins like legs for extended periods of time when out of the water.”

No. 2: Earthquake-Proof Gingerbread Houses

Architects in earthquake-prone areas should take some pointers from Kris Kringle and the elves since apparently gingerbread houses proved impervious to even some of the most intense tremors around. The $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services funded the workshop in Oregon — and despite the head-scratching nature of the experiment, they get an A-plus for their choice of name: “How Does the Cookie Crumble?”

Related: How Much It Really Costs to Protect Your Home Against Natural Disasters

No. 3: Odontophobia

Next in line after “the sky is blue,” and “dogs bark,” the National Institutes of Health spent $3.5 million to study why half of all Americans reported being afraid of visiting the dentist. Spoiler alert: It might have had something to do with the use of power tools designed to gouge out bones embedded in your face. A few million dollars later, they came to the astute conclusion that dental anxiety is most often derived from — you guessed it — fear of pain.

No. 4: Confirming College Students Drink 

In other obvious news, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism received a $5 million grant to study the party habits of college students — specifically, the drinking habits of college students. In findings that shocked nobody who graduated college, members of fraternities and sororities accordingly drink more than the larger university population on average (especially on game day).

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