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Darryl Cunningham Investigates Fracking


We’ve all heard the term bandied about in the media, but what the frack is “fracking,” and why is it controversial?

British artist Darryl Cunningham uses cartoons to clearly explain issues of science and pseudoscience (many of these comics are collected in his newest book, Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams). Update: Darryl says that a US/Canada edition of Science Tales will be coming out from Abrams next year, with the Fracking chapter inserted as an additional piece.

Most recently, Darryl has put his pens to use explaining hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” a procedure for extracting gas and oil from rock formations. On its surface, and according to industry spokespeople, fracking sounds like a safe, environmentally method. However, Darryl points out why a closer look gives us just cause for concern.

This is the first panel of the comic. Click to read the whole thing on Darryl’s blog. Thanks, Darryl, for sending this to us!

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  1. The intent is good, but this comic is full of information from the largely discredited documentary, ‘Gasland’ (it sounds like he mentions it when he says ‘I’ve seen footage…’).

    There are also a number of logical leaps that are masked by the art of it all. There’s definitely an anti-corporate tone, and while that criticism may be a valid one, I’m not sure it has a place when reporting factually on an issue like this.

    It may very well turn up that this comic’s concerns are validated, but for my part, I’m going to wait til the EPA releases its big report on fracking to make up my mind, and that’s what a responsible skeptic should be doing.

  2. I agree that the comic has a strong anti-corporate sentiment, which is not always justified, and I agree that waiting for the EPA report before drawing firm conclusions is a good idea. The main thing I took from the comic, besides a basic understand of the procedure, was an awareness of what the companies are doing to make the EPA’s job harder.

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