The International Geophysical Year (IGY) began in July 1957, and ended in December 1958, inspiring an irascible cartoon turtle to ask, “Well, if you scientists can't figure how long a year is any better than THAT... what's we gone b'lieve when you gits done with the tape measure?” (Kelly 1957). In fact the 18-month year, the butt of a series of “Pogo” jokes (Kelly 1957), gave scientists the opportunity to make measurements over a full summer and a full winter in both the northern and southern hemispheres (Paul Richards, personal communication 2008).

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The IGY involved an...

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