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Cartoon contest satirizes government interference in scientific inquiry

September 16th, 2008

By Barbara Kessler

And the winner of the Union of Concerned Scientist’s “Science Idol” cartoon contest is. . . Justin Bilicki, a senior art director at ad agency Avenue A/Razorfish, who lives in Brooklyn.

The contest, an annual event for the non-profit alliance of scientists, invited cartoonists to explore the challenges and political pressures that impede or distort scientific inquiry. Bilicki’s cartoon, clearly informed by the debate over climate change and global resource depletion, features a scientist in a lab coat with a poster that declares: RESEARCH CONCLUDES: WE ARE DESTROYING EARTH.

Two men in suits look on, and one, holding a briefcase overstuffed with money and labeled “Government” asks, “Could you kindly rephrase that in equivocal, inaccurate, vague, self-serving and roundabout terms that we can all understand?”

See the full-sized cartoon at the UCS website.

Bilicki’s work was among the contest’s 12 finalists, chosen from among hundreds of entries by a panel of professional cartoonists. The public then voted online for their favorites, casting some 20,000 votes, with Bilicki’s coming out on top, according to the UCS.

The UCS will be selling a 2009 Scientific Integrity Cartoon Calendar featuring the 12 finalists and showing “the absurdity of political interference in science.”

Proceeds will benefit the UCS, which in all seriousness, is worried that political meddling in scientific research has damaged the ability of federal agencies to protect Americans from environmental hazards. They’ve proposed solutions that include protections for whistleblowers, more transparency in government decisions and assurances that government scientists who speak freely won’t be sanctioned. For more see the UCS web pages on Scientific Integrity.

Copyright © 2008 | Distributed by Noofangle Media

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