Barack Obama's $3 Million 'Overhead Projector' Actually Pretty Cool During the last Presidential debate, John McCain delivered this line about his opponent with withering contempt:

[Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois.
I'm already tired of hearing these guys talk, but that caught my ear. A $3 million projector? What does that even look like? Gearlog did some digging and found out that the appropriation was requested by the planetarium to replace an awesome (but obsolete) 40-year old Zeiss Mark VI star projector with a newer model (pictured above).Anyone with a planetarium in town will remember the Mark VI from school field trips: the 2.5 ton, 1350 watt giant (pictured below) can project a dynamic image of thousands of stars and constellations onto the ceiling of a massive dome for the viewing pleasure of a reclined audience. Its replacement would have been much more impressive, had it been granted: the Universarium Model IX, which is a $3.5 million astronomical projection unit capable of accurately representing a night sky in full color and motion. The proposal never got anywhere for a variety of reasons, but politics aside, that's not exactly your school's transparency projector. You can check out the spec sheet at Zeiss's official site . Model IX photo from Picassa user Lito [Gearlog , NYT ] Barack Obama's $3 Million 'Overhead Projector' Actually Pretty Cool