In Defense of the NSF let the scientists be the judge
In 2009, Mont Hubbard, Ronald A. Hess, Dale L. Peterson, and I were awarded $300K for a two year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study how people are able to balance on bicycles. We completed the work in September 2012 after an additional one year no-cost extension. This resulted in numerous research products that have been well cited since the completion of the work.
In 2011, US Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report entitled "The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope" with the intention to expose wasteful spending of US tax dollars by the NSF. The grant we were awarded was listed as one of the examples of "silly research". This received a fair amount of media attention and we were interviewed for a number of publications to comment on this report, e.g. in IEEE Spectrum.