Super moons are not as super as the media make out

Cartoon about the media coverage of supermoons

Cartoon about the media’s distortion of the visual impact of a super moon

Super moons were unheard of in the media until the last few years. Now every time the moon gets close to the earth in its orbit the press is full of it, with misleading photographs to make the moon look huge and spectacular (taken with telephoto lenses so that the moon looks large compared to objects such as people or buildings in the distance).

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Truth drugs – a cartoon from Chemistry World magazine

chemistry cartoon - truth drug

A cartoon about the potential use of truth drugs by repressive political regimes.

In the cartoon the truth drugs are not designed to make people tell the truth, but to make them believe in lies.

An example from my cartoon strip published in Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Here are more of my chemistry cartoons from Chemistry World magazine.

A cartoon about espionage, spying, subversion, secret police, state repression.

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Personality profiling for job applicants – cartoon from Chemistry World

chemistry cartoon - rorschach test

A cartoon about the use of personality profiling in job interviews.

The use of Rorscharch tests for assessing people’s personalities.

The interviewee is interpreting an X-ray crystallography image that resembles a spider
An example from my cartoon strip published in Chemistry World, the magazine of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Here are more of my chemistry cartoons from Chemistry World magazine.

A cartoon about espionage, spying, subversion, secret police, state repression.

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Reach for the stars – cartoon

cartoon - studying the stars with a telescope

A cartoon showing an astronomer reaching for the stars by reaching up inside an astronomical telescope.
The astronomer’s hand is appearing out or the top of the telescope as though it is grasping for the stars.

An illustration concerning people’s urge to discover more about the universe through scientific exploration.

A cartoon about scientific exploration, inquiring minds, curiosity, curiousity, reaching for the stats.

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Genetically modified pigs will fly.

pigs will fly gmo cartoon

A cartoon showing a genetically modified pig flying.

A cartoon about gmo food and genetics.
The cartoon strip shows people talking about ‘scare stories’ about ‘Frankenstein food’, with the final frame of the strip showing a flying pig.

A cartoon about gmo, genetically modified organisms, pigs will fly.

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Genetics cartoons – a big hand for genetic manipulation

genetic modification cartoon

Genetics cartoon
Genetically modified humans – who can fly

A cartoon about the idea that genetic modification can be used to alter human beings

The genetically modified people in the cartoon have had their dna altered to give them gigantic hands (maybe by altering a gene that is responsible for gigantism). Their huge hands are being used as wings to give them the power of flight.

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Chemistry cartoons – graphene

chemistry cartoon - graphene

Chemistry cartoons.
A joke about graphene.

Chemistry humour – my chemistry comic strip in Chemistry World magazine.

This cartoon is about the form of carbon known as graphene – sheets of carbon that are a single atom thick. The humour lies in the fact that it isn’t possible to create a version of an element that is thinner than a single atom of the element, so the chemist in the cartoon is trying to achieve the impossible (in the pursuit of professional prestige?).

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Genetics cartoons

genetics cartoons

Genetics cartoon

This is a cartoon about genetics that I designed, to illustrate the concept of life balancing on a strand of dna, like a tightrope walker.
My cartoons on genetics have been published in magazines such as Nature and Chemistry World (the magazine of the “Royal Society of Chemistry).

Click here to see more of my genetics cartoons.

Prehistoric early bird catches the worm

prehistoric bird cartoon

Cartoon about the saying “The early bird catches the worm”

The joke is that the ‘early bird’ is literally an early bird in evolutionary terms, such as an archaeopteryx.

A cartoon about evolution, prehistoric creatures.

sayings and proverbs

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Cartoon – the medicalisation of personality disorders (and of normal personality traits)

medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon

Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
The nature v nurture debate on human personality
Neurological origins of behavioural traits

A cartoon about the tendency to invoke medical reasons for deviant personality traits, for abnormal personality traits or even for normal aspects of personality.
It shows one aspect of the nature v nurture debate

An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.
In this cartoon I’ve invented a medical condition that is being used by a parent to justify her child’s aberrant or antisocial behavior

The cartoon reflects the tendency to claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the dna
The image is not meant to imply that there is no neurological basis for behaviour, just that it can sometimes be used as an excuse for bad behaviour
The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine

The cartoon was first published in Prospect magazine in May 2013

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A quote about science: SCIENCE LIES… at the heart of our search for truth

anti-science quote subverted

A science quote about the truth of the scientific purpose.
A riposte to anti-science

Quote playing with the fact that some people misrepresent science as telling lies about the nature of things

The quote is my own
A typography-based image
This quote is a riposte to the claim by anti-scientific sections of society that science peddles lies and untruths (often at the behest of big business, drug companies, governments and other interested parties). Such critics of science are often unaware of the scientific method.

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Altruism cartoon

altruism cartoon

Altruism cartoon

An illustration depicting altruistic behavior

The cartoon shows a person spanning a chasm or abyss, acting as a bridge with other people walking across.
The benefits of altruism are sometimes debated in evolutionary terms, sometimes arguing that altruism evolved because the good of the group is more important than the good of the individual. Altruism may also be seen as a form of display, where the altruistic individual is displaying his or her positive qualities to others, thus improving social status.
The illustration could also be interpreted as depicting exploitation, depending on context
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Neurological or genetic causes of criminality – cartoon

neurological or genetic causes of criminality - cartoon

Medicalisation of deviant behaviour cartoon
Neurological origins of behavioural traits
Neurocriminology and its implications

A cartoon about the possibility that criminal behaviour or deviant behaviour may sometimes (or often) have its roots in a person’s biology.
The idea that personality may be determined by biology is one aspect of the nature v nurture debate, and has implications for the concept of free will

An illustration about the medicalization of behaviour. This may include behavioural syndromes ranging from psychopathic tendencies and deviance to conditions such as hyperactivity, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), rebelliousness or non-conformity.

The cartoon illustrates the tendency of criminal lawyers to sometimes claim, for instance, that particular parts of dna or neurological makeup are responsible for criminal behaviour – thus removing responsibility from the person and placing it on the person’s dna or neurology.

The subject of neurological origins for criminal behaviour is dealt with in the book The Anatomy of Violence by Adrian Raine

The cartoon was first published in Philosophy Now magazine

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Professor Brian Cox cartoon – we are stardust

professor brian cox cartoon we are stardust

Professor Brian Cox cartoon
We are made of stardust

A humorous comment about the fact that all of the elements apart from hydrogen and helium were created inside stars – so everything is made of stardust

The joke here is that when the tv astronomer Professor Brian Cox says that everything is made of stardust he really lays it on thick in a way that many people, especially women, find very attractive. So here the woman is actually saying that she finds Brian Cox attractive, and it even affects her attitude to slugs

See my book on the nature of the universe
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Jean-Baptiste Lamarck caricature as giraffe

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck caricature as giraffe

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck caricature as giraffe

A caricature of Lamarck, who is associated with the theory of evolution through the inheritance of acquired characteristics or Lamarckism

Lamarck’s head has been given a giraffe’s body, in reference to the famous caricature of Charles Darwin as an ape (a version of which can be found on this site). The giraffe is based on a woodcut of a giraffe by wood engraver Thomas Bewick
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Cartoon – creatures from earth that look like aliens

earth creatures that look like aliens

From my selection of science fiction cartoons
Creatures from earth that look like aliens from another planet

A cartoon showing that life on earth is as weird as extraterrestrial life

This cartoon was drawn many years ago, but is relevant today due to the BBC series Alien Nation, about the bizarre and otherworldly appearance of insects. Fish look pretty weird too don’t you think?

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Science fiction cartoon – an alien planet where the aliens look almost human

Cartoon - an alien planet where the inhabitants are almost human

Science fiction cartoon
Cartoon – an alien planet where the inhabitants are almost human

The justification of extraterrestrials appearing human in form is sometimes justified by the theory of parallel evolution or convergent evolution

Part of the joke in this cartoon is that in many science fiction stories the aliens look very similar to people (and even speak English). I’ve retained the humanoid appearance here, but made one small alteration – I’ve put the features of the head upside down.

The point of this cartoon is to show that even a small deviation from the norm can make a human-like form look very odd, due to our sensitivity to the human form

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Cartoon about the fact that most living things are symmetrical

Symetrical life forms

Cartoon about the fact that most living things are symmetrical

Most lifeforms are symmetrical about a vertical plane that bisects them
This cartoon draws attention to the fact that we rarely even notice this fact. It does this by inventing a planet inhabited by asymmetrical aliens who find the idea of symmetry bizarre in a “strange but true” or “believe it or not” way

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Evolutionary arms race cartoon

The evolution of superior life-forms - from bow and arrows to guns and bullets

Evolution cartoon – the evolution of superior life-forms
A cartoon strip showing weapons evolving from bows and arrows to guns and bullets

This strip is about the concept of evolution as a form of evolutionary arms race, where one thing evolves into another, slightly superior form.

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Science cartoon. Artificial life cartoon

science cartoon - artificial life dna cartoon

A cartoon from my selection of science cartoons
Artificial life cartoon
Creating life in the laboratory

Dna cartoon
A cartoon showing a scientist in a science laboratory that does research into artificial life.
He has dropped a test tube on the floor. A strand of dna is wriggling away, like a snake.

An illustration about the fears that are raised about scientific experiments going wrong and unleashing problems on the world (such as epidemics of diseases and so on)

More of my science cartoons

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A neurology cartoon about apophenia – seeing faces where they don’t exist

apohenia cartoon

Apophenia cartoon – seeing faces where they don’t exist
A cartoon from my selection of science cartoons

A cartoon showing scientists in a neurology department canteen. One of the scientists is about to eat a pizza and is saying “Amazing – this pizza looks exactly like the brain scan of someone who’s experiencing apophenia.”

The cartoon is about visual interpretation of images, false positives, the evolution of vision, neuroimaging, brain function, functional magnetic resonance imaging, computed axial tomography
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Illustration – do we live inside a hologram?

hologram credit card cartoon

Do we live inside a hologram? Cartoon

A cartoon showing people climbing out of the holgram panel on a credit card.
The caption reads “Bad news. Not only are we living inside a hologram, but we’re nearing our expiry date.”

The illustration is about whether our three dimensional reality is a form of hologram like projection or illusion.
The joke is in comparing a grand theory of a hologramic universe with the mundane hologram on a credit card.
A cartoon about the nature of the universe, virtual reality
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Altruism cartoon. Mindless violence making mindless altruism evolve

mindless violence and mindless altruism cartoon

Altruism cartoon. Mindless violence and mindless altruism

A cartoon about the emergence of altruism in nature.

The cartoon shows prehistoric men or cave men fighting. Another prehistoric man is rushing to the scene of the violence to care for the wounded. Yet another caveman is wondering about the evolution of altruism as a personality trait.
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Culturally determined world views – cartoon

culturally based science cartoon

A cartoon about culturally determined world views
The idea that different cultures will use whatever methods are at their disposal to reinforce their established philosophy of how the world works.

An observation about theological determinism, cultural bias in science, cognitive dissonance, pseudoscience

The cartoon shows a nonspecific non-western culture planning to build their own large hadron collider (LHC) to obtain results that are consistent with their cultural heritage.
It is an illustration about the misrepresentation of science or the lack of use of the scientific method.
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Science cartoons: creating mathematical order out of chaos

mathematical order out of chaos cartoon

Science cartoons – mathematics
Creating mathematical order out of chaos

A cartoon showing mathematicians or scientists writing mathematical equations on a blackboard.
One scientist is saying “At last – we’ve created mathematical order in a chaotic universe!”

Part of the joke is that the maths on the blackboard look totally chaotic and incomprehensible, illustrating the common opinion that maths is a difficult subject
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Science cartoons

science cartoon - scientific establishment resistance to change

A cartoon from my selection of science cartoons
Scientific research cartoon

Cartoon about resistance to change in sectors of the scientific establishment
The cartoon is focused on conservatism in the scientific establishment.
The caption says “Our research proves that the scientific establishment has developed immunity to radical new ideas.’

The cartoon illustrates the fact that all organisations and disciplines can be conservative to some extent
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Vaccine scare cartoon. Health scare hysteria

vaccination media scare cartoon

Vaccine scare cartoon. Health scare hysteria

A cartoon about media driven hysteria over health issues.
The cartoon shows a doctor looking at a hyperdermic syringe and thinking “One of the side effects of this vaccine will be a hysterical reaction in the media.”

A jpoke about medicine, doctors, hypodermic syringes
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The law of unintended consequences – cartoon

unintended consequences cartoon

A cartoon about the law of unintended consequences

The image shows an inventor worrying about the possible consequences once his invention is unleashed on the world. His invention is the paperclip.

An illustration about the dilemma faced by inventors or scientists who are developing new technologies – what use will people put them to?
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Scientific research funding cartoon

scientific research funding cartoon

Cartoon about the cost of scientific research

A cartoon showing a rocket, labelled ‘Research’ being launched and then stalling after lift off.
The trail of the rocket forms the shape of a £ sign to indicate that the research is ‘powered’ by funding. The implication is that there isn’t enough funding to keep the research in the air

A cartoon about the financing of scientific research projects
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Scientific research project budgets – cartoon

scientific research budget cuts cartoon

Scientific research project budgets – cartoon

A cartoon to illustrate articles about cuts in budgets for scientific research.

The cartoon shows research funding going to a research project that monitors the effects of the cuts in research funding.
The cartoon shows an astronomical observatory that has been closed down due to lack of finance.
This cartoon was originally drawn to illustrate an article in the BBC magazine Knowledge
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Sat-nav error cartoon. Guided to the wrong destination

sat-nav error to M31 - cartoon

Sat-nav cartoon – a car guided by sat-nav taken to the wrong destination

The sat nav (GPS) has guided to car to the wrong M31 (the Andromeda galaxy instead of the M31 motorway).

The M31 motorway doesn’t actually exist by the way – it was planned but never completed.
The cartoon is about the way that car drivers will blindly and slavishly follow the instructions of their sat-navs even when they are completely wrong, sometimes going to the wrong destination of the same name
It says something about the way that the human race can follow the wrong path without realising the potential consequences
This is an astronomy cartoon

a496