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Leap Day Science Trivia and Cartoons from the Archive

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Today, of course, is Leap Day, an exciting day for science-lovers everywhere. We get to talk about math (including why sometimes we skip leap years) and fret about time (the potential consequences of leap seconds). We learn about the odds of a mother and child both being born on a leap day (reportedly about two million to one).

But today, I want to talk about cartoons.

The Family Circus—perhaps the worst comic ever, now in its second generation (and a frequent target of Stephen Pastis)—made its debut on February 29, 1960. That’s before Neil Armstrong and his team of scientists on the ground and in space made one giant leap for mankind.

Fortunately, we appreciate good humor at UCS, and that’s why each year, we hold a scientific integrity editorial cartoon contest to poke fun at political interference in science. It’s one of the lighter things we do, while still making a point.

So in honor of Leap Day, I’d like to share with you a few cartoons from our first cartoon contest in 2006. Here’s a great one by Jeff Smith from the first contest for all of the global warming conspiracy theorists:

This cartoon by Bryant Paul Johnson is still timely in today’s world of SuperPacs:

This iconic cartoon by Katie Sakelski (who was then drawing under the name Reva Sharp) continues to be a hit at scientific society meetings we attend:

And since it’s still February, of course, it’s not too late to get a 2012 scientific integrity calendar. You can also see last year’s cartoons and other cartoons from previous years.

We’ll be posting details of the 2012 contest this spring. In the meantime, please share if you’re doing anything science-y on your bonus day this year.

Posted in: Scientific Integrity

About the author: Michael Halpern is an expert on political interference in science and solutions to reduce suppression, manipulation, and distortion of government science. See Michael's full bio.

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One Response

  1. gene says:

    A bad indian point reactor problem will leave n.y. city without a escape route except maybe a plane or boat!