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U.S. National Institutes of Health blamed tightening federal budgets on Monday for its inability to produce an Ebola vaccine, but a review of its grant-making history in the last 10 years has turned up highly unusual research that redirected precious funds away from more conventional public health projects.
The NIH budget included $2.4 million for a new condom design whose inventor is now being investigated for fraud.
Another $939,000 taught scientists that male fruit flies prefer younger females.
$257,000 went to create a companion website for first lady Michelle Obama's White House garden.
It cost $592,000 to determine that chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators, and another $117,000 to learn that most chimps are right-handed
$325,000 to learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands
$548,000 to find out if 30-something partiers feel immature after they binge drink while people in their mid-20s don't.
$610,000 paid for a 120-nation survey to determine how satisfied people in different countries are with their lives.
A staggering $1.1 million funded research into how athletes perceive their in-game surroundings, including one Purdue University study that discovered golfers can putt 10 per cent better if they imagine the hole is bigger.
$832,000 went to learn if it was possible to get uncircumcised South African tribesmen into the habit of washing their genitals after having sex
$484,000 study to determine if hypnosis can reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women. If that doesn't work, NIH also spent $294,000 to try yoga.