Django Unchained: House Slaves Like Stephan and the “Girls” of HBS

Tina and I watched Django Unchained over the weekend.

My take on it is that it is much closer to the reality of slavery in America than Gone With the Fucking Wind.

The acting was brilliant. Samuel L. Jackson played the slimmest simmering stereotype of a house slave ever shown in a movie.  A Black person, a sycophant simpering ass kissing black man who hates other black people and has nothing positive to say about other black people.  Stephan in the movie bears a strong resemblance to Aaron McGruder’s character Uncle Ruckus, a self hating black man who first appeared in the comic strip, Boondocks.

Boondocks later became a somewhat controversial TV show of the same name.  There was a spin-off of Boondocks called The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show.

I’m not sure if it was actually shown here in the US.  I seem to recall having seen this character on SWIM.

Wikipedia describes the show as follows:

The episode begins inside of the BET headquarters with fictional president of Entertainment Wedgie Rudlin holding the Monday staff meeting on Thursday where he states he is the “new, super-duper smart, Harvard University-educated president of entertainment.” After asking staff members why he was hired, Rudlin says it’s time to take BET in a new direction. After firing a board member, Rudlin tells his staff to make “The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show” happen.

Following the opening credits, Uncle Ruckus is shown chronicling his life where his day typically starts at 4:45am and begins saying a prayer to “The White Man” & for blacks. Ruckus denies being black and states he suffers from “Re-vitiligo“, (the opposite of what Michael Jackson had), and applies an ointment composed of bleach and sulfur.

Ruckus then goes on talk about his shrines to his white heroes including John Wayne and George H W Bush. He also mentions he works 32 jobs, including bus driver (where he is ignored and insulted by the suburban kids. Uncle says that “these kids are pure human race”). Ruckus stops the Freeman brothers as they arrive to get on the bus, they’re the only kids that show him a shred of respect, from boarding and tells them, “This bus is for kids with a future!”

On arriving at J. Edgar Hoover Elementary, Ruckus is seen working as a janitor mopping the hall, bemoaning desegregation and ranting about black people in education and films. After school, Ruckus approaches Jazmine and asks if she is waiting for her father Tom, about whom Ruckus remarks to the camera, “He married to a white woman, lucky son of a bitch”. Tom arrives in a kilt and tells Ruckus of his Scottish heritage and how he took a test that revealed he was 32.5% Scottish.

Ruckus then visits a scientist and receives the results of his ethnic makeup. Midway through the scene, the action pans back to BET where Rudlin tells Deborah Leevil of his plan to start BET animation in order to destroy the minds of black kids at a younger age. A board member shows Leevil his creation: “Super Cyborg Mandigo Man”, with the script in flipbook form, showing a stick figure throwing a spear.

Leevil, unimpressed with the show not being evil enough, summons her associates, “Big Nigga” and “Crazy Bitch” to beat up the board member. The board member screams for Rudlin to save him, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. Leevil then asks about the Uncle Ruckus show and Rudlin tells her it is. Leevil issues a threat of killing, or at least serious injury.

On the show, Ruckus receives his DNA test results, which reveal that he is 102% African with a 2% margin of error. Following this, Ruckus retreats in a bed-bound depression and quits all his jobs and contemplates selling “crack” and doubts he has re-vitiligo and calls on the Freemans for advice on how to be black. Robert points out there’s nothing wrong with being black. In a sports store (probably Foot Locker), Ruckus complains about no shoes named after white men. Afterward, while getting his hair cut, Ruckus jumps to the defense of U.S. president George W. Bush.

I don’t know if self hating begins to describe this sort of pathology.

I do know I have a couple of people who make slamming me and a number of other TS/TG folks the main focus of their blogs.  Jennifer Usher and Ben Girl to name names.

I tend to view my being transsexual as sort of like having been born half Polish American, working class from a small rural town.  It’s part of my history more than my present.  For a while I got sucked into a variation on the game of self hating people who prefer the transgender label to the transsexual one.  Some of the Transgender Borg ideologues make that one really easy.

But then I realized that one was easy to ignore.  All I had to do was focus on equality and the right to dignity.

I put scare quotes on the word “Girls” in the title deliberately.  I’ve always found it a little strange to think of oneself as the creation or possession of a doctor who treated you.  It’s one thing to like a doctor, be grateful, have a rapport with a doctor and another sort of creepy Replicant like mode of thinking to describe yourself as the  one of X-Doctor’s “girls”.

It’s even more bizarre to have a history of describing yourself as “more than a transvestite and less than a transsexual” yet go on to claim a level of purity based on regurgitating every neo-Nazi, Christo-Fascist Rad Fem bit of anti-transsexual/anti-transgender filth one reads on the internet.

It is truly disconnected from the real world to think you aren’t part of the transsexual/transgender class that hatred is directed at.

No matter how far up the bigots assholes you have your tongue in the end you are still a transsexual/transgender person.  You can play the role of an extermination camp Sonder Commando, but all it does is postpone the inevitable.

You may think you can hide behind aliases yet we are all visible now from before birth to long after death.  Particularly if we are on-line.

I’ve pissed off the HBS holes because I don’t buy their purity crap. I also don’t buy their hatred of every transsexual/transgender person who stands up for their rights and by extension for the rights of all.

Like Stephan in Django Unchained they are tools of the oppressor and when the shit comes down we know which side they are on.

Four Minutes of Hate: The Naked Bigotry Of The AFA’s Bryan Fischer

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Richie Havens (January 21, 1941 – April 22, 2013)

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The Tangle of the Sexes

From The New York Times:

Published: April 20, 2013

MEN and women are so different they might as well be from separate planets, so says the theory of the sexes famously explicated in John Gray’s 1992 best seller, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

Indeed, sex differences are a perennially popular topic in behavioral science; since 2000, scientific journals have published more than 30,000 articles on them.

That men and women differ in certain respects is unassailable. Unfortunately, the continuing belief in “categorical differences” — men are aggressive, women are caring — reinforces traditional stereotypes by treating certain behaviors as immutable. And, it turns out, this belief is based on a scientifically indefensible model of human behavior.

As the psychologist Cordelia Fine explains in her book “Delusions of Gender,” the influence of one kind of categorical thinking, neurosexism — justifying differential treatment by citing differences in neural anatomy or function — spills over to educational and employment disparities, family relations and arguments about same-sex institutions.

Consider a marital spat in which she accuses him of being emotionally withdrawn while he indicts her for being demanding. In a gender-categorical world, the argument can quickly devolve to “You’re acting like a typical (man/woman)!” Asking a partner to change, in this binary world, is expecting him or her to go against the natural tendency of his or her category — a very tall order.

The alternative, a dimensional perspective, ascribes behavior to individuals, as one of their various personal qualities. It is much easier to imagine how change might take place.

But what of all those published studies, many of which claim to find differences between the sexes? In our research, published recently in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we shed an empirical light on this question by using a method called taxometric analysis.

This method asks whether data from two groups are likely to be taxonic — a classification that distinguishes one group from another in a nonarbitrary, fundamental manner, called a “taxon” — or whether they are more likely to be dimensional, with individuals’ scores dispersed along a single continuum.

The existence of a taxon implies a fundamental distinction, akin to the difference between species. As the clinical psychologist Paul Meehl famously put it, “There are gophers, there are chipmunks, but there are no gophmunks.”

A dimensional model, in contrast, indicates that men and women come from the same general pool, differing relatively, trait by trait, much as any two individuals from the same group might differ.

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Article Review: Long-Term Evaluation of Donor-Site Morbidity after Radial Forearm Flap Phalloplasty for Transsexual Men

From Open Minded Health:

April 18, 2013

The first study of long-term effects of radial forearm flap phalloplasty was published just this month. The aesthetics, functionality, and health status of the donor site on the forearm was examined. This study was reported by researchers at the Center for Sexology and Gender Problems at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium.

Does “radial forearm flap phalloplasty” sound like gibberish? Let’s break it down. Phalloplasty is one of the genital procedures available for trans men (the other is metoidioplastywhich we’ve previously covered). In a phalloplasty, tissue from elsewhere on the body is used to make a penis. ”Radial forearm” refers to the part of the body used: a section of forearm, including blood vessels and nerves. “Flap” means the tissue from the forearm is removed completely from the body then put on in another location. “Flap” is in contrast to “pedicle”, where the tissue remains connected in one spot. So a radial forearm flap phalloplasty, essentially, is where tissue from the forearm is used to make a penis. At the same time, hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy are done.

As with any surgery involving a graft, both the donor and receiver tissues are damaged. This procedure leaves a scar on the forearm where The researchers report that scarring, reduced bone density, limited range of motion, decreased finger/hand strength, loss of graft, delayed healing, and sensory changes have all been reported. But how common are they? Enter the current research.

Who participated in this research? 44 trans men who had had the procedure. They were an average of 9 years post-surgery, with a range from 9 months to 22 years. Six had a metoidioplasty before their phalloplasty. The median age at surgery was 28. All participants were on hormone therapy, and had been for an average of 10 years; most on a mix of testosterone esters delivered intramuscularly (which is fairly standard practice). The trans male participants were compared to a control group of cis women. There was no weight difference (BMI) between the two groups, but there were more tobacco smokers in the experimental (trans men) group than in the control group (cis women). The control group was not on any metabolic or hormonal altering treatment. In addition to general questions (e.g., tobacco use, medications, medical conditions), the forearm scars of participants were assessed. Questions relating to scar pain, stiffness, and sensation were included. Bone density and body mass were also measured.

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Jason Somerville: The fairness of Fallon Fox

From Out Sports:


Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about Fallon Fox, the first transgender woman tocompete professionally in mixed martial arts. In May 2012, Fox made her pro fighting debut inthe 145-pound women’s division, winning via technical knockout. She fought again in March 2013,knocking out her opponent in 39 seconds. After her second bout Fox revealed publicly that shehad underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2006. In the month since her coming out, theissue of whether Fox should be allowed to compete against women has been widely discussed.

This is an issue that necessitates thoughtful study and research, so we’re sure to hear theworthless, uninformed opinions of those who have done neither. On this week’s edition of “TheMMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, former NFL player and current UFC heavyweight fighter MattMitrione spoke his mind on Fox and her fighting career. Repeatedly referring to Fox as “he” andcomparing her to Buffalo Bill from “Silence of the Lambs”, Mitrione went on to call Fox a “lying,sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak.” Mitrione’s comments were quickly and strongly rebuffed bythe UFC as they suspended Mitrione five hours later.

Despite the many obstacles in front of them, transgender athletes have seen increased supportfrom major organizations in the past decade. In 2004, the International Olympic Committee setrules for transgender participation which, while perhaps imperfect, represented a major step fortransgender athletes. In 2012, the Association of Boxing Commissions, which also overseesmixed martial arts, enacted a similar policy as the IOC’s on transgender fighters.

In combat sports, the safety of the two athletes must be paramount. In an interview with mixedmartial arts news site Bloody Elbow, Dr. Marci Bowers, an expert in the field of transgenderreassignment, was asked if Fox had an inherent advantage in mixed martial arts competitiondue to her being born male. “Most measures of physical strength minimize, muscle massdecreases, bone density decreases, and they become fairly comparable to women in theirmusculature. After as much time as has passed in her case, if tested, she would probably endup in the same muscle mass category as her biologically born female counterpart.”

Additionally, Bloody Elbow spoke with Dr. Sherman Leis, founder of the Philadelphia Center forTransgender Surgery, who concurred with Dr. Bowers:

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45 Failed Alex Jones Predictions

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Dove’s ‘real beauty sketches’ ad deserves some praise

From The Guardian UK:

Dove’s latest campaign to get women to be more confident about their looks makes a powerful point, even if it’s only skin deep, Saturday 20 April 2013

If you haven’t seen it already, it’s worth the three minutes of your life to watch Dove’s new ad, if only because it has sparked such a wide range of reactions. Some women wept at the end of it, immediately sending it to friends with “you must watch this” notes; others have gotten downright angry about it.

Let’s start with the obvious: it’s an ad, not a film festival documentary. It’s been edited heavily and has overly melodramatic music. And yes, at the end of the day, it’s trying to sell something, although it’s striking that no Dove products are mentioned during the entire three-minute clip, and the Dove brand itself isn’t even flashed on the screen until the final seconds. But all the cheesiness doesn’t take away from its powerful message: women are too often their own worst critics.

The ad follows a forensic artist, one of those people who draws crime suspects based on witnesses’ descriptions. In this case, he draws facial portraits of several women based solely on what they tell him. He can’t see them. Then he draws pictures of the same women based on what people who have only interacted with them for a short while describe. In almost every case, there’s a stark difference between the two images of each woman.

The self-described portraits are uglier, sadder and almost sour-looking in some instances. When the artist asks an African-American woman what her most prominent feature is, she says, “I have a fat, rounder face,” immediately honing in on the negative. Several females bemoan their ageing: crows feet around the eyes, more freckles. You can only imagine what they would have said if the portraits were full-body.

This isn’t novel. Plenty of studies have concluded that women tend to view themselves as worse-looking than they are. In an oft-cited 2003 research project, young women were asked to pick out their body image from a range of figures. On average, they picked figures that were 11lb (5kg) heavier than their actual weight (young men, by contrast, picked out a figure that was “better” than reality).

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See Also:

The New York Times: Ad About Women’s Self-Image Creates a Sensation

Salon: Stop posting that Dove ad: “Real beauty” campaign is not feminist

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The Jobless Trap

From The New York Times:

Published: April 21, 2013

F.D.R. told us that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. But when future historians look back at our monstrously failed response to economic depression, they probably won’t blame fear, per se. Instead, they’ll castigate our leaders for fearing the wrong things.

For the overriding fear driving economic policy has been debt hysteria, fear that unless we slash spending we’ll turn into Greece any day now. After all, haven’t economists proved that economic growth collapses once public debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P.?

Well, the famous red line on debt, it turns out, was an artifact of dubious statistics, reinforced by bad arithmetic. And America isn’t and can’t be Greece, because countries that borrow in their own currencies operate under very different rules from those that rely on someone else’s money. After years of repeated warnings that fiscal crisis is just around the corner, the U.S. government can still borrow at incredibly low interest rates.

But while debt fears were and are misguided, there’s a real danger we’ve ignored: the corrosive effect, social and economic, of persistent high unemployment. And even as the case for debt hysteria is collapsing, our worst fears about the damage from long-term unemployment are being confirmed.

Now, some unemployment is inevitable in an ever-changing economy. Modern America tends to have an unemployment rate of 5 percent or more even in good times. In these good times, however, spells of unemployment are typically brief. Back in 2007 there were about seven million unemployed Americans — but only a small fraction of this total, around 1.2 million, had been out of work more than six months.

Then financial crisis struck, leading to a terrifying economic plunge followed by a weak recovery. Five years after the crisis, unemployment remains elevated, with almost 12 million Americans out of work. But what’s really striking is the huge number of long-term unemployed, with 4.6 million unemployed more than six months and more than three million who have been jobless for a year or more. Oh, and these numbers don’t count those who have given up looking for work because there are no jobs to be found.

It goes without saying that the explosion of long-term unemployment is a tragedy for the unemployed themselves. But it may also be a broader economic disaster.

The key question is whether workers who have been unemployed for a long time eventually come to be seen as unemployable, tainted goods that nobody will buy. This could happen because their work skills atrophy, but a more likely reason is that potential employers assume that something must be wrong with people who can’t find a job, even if the real reason is simply the terrible economy. And there is, unfortunately, growing evidence that the tainting of the long-term unemployed is happening as we speak.

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Real Faces of the Minimum Wage

From Campaign for America’s Future:

April 21, 2013

Corporate interests and their elected representatives have created a world of illusion in order to resist paying a decent wage to working Americans. They’d have us believe that minimum-wage workers are teens from ’50s TV sitcoms working down at the local malt shoppe.

It’s a retro-fantasy where corporate stinginess creates minority jobs, working parents can’t possibly be impoverished, and nobody gets hurt except kids who drive dad’s convertible and top up their allowances with a minimum-wage job slinging burgers.

But then, you probably need to resort to fantasy arguments when you’re arguing against a minimum-wage increase supported by nearly three-quarters of the voting public. That’s also why it’s important to demand that Congress allow an up-or-down vote on the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise it to $10.10 and then index it to inflation.

Here’s the truth: Most minimum-wage workers are adults, the majority of them are women, and many are parents who are trying to raise their children on poverty wages.

The Facts

Minimum wage workers are adults.

Nearly 80 percent of the workers who would be directly affected by a minimum wage increase are adults, as seen in an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center. When you include those who would be indirectly affected that figure becomes more than 92 percent.

Less than 16 percent of workers who would be affected by President Obama’s minimum-wage proposal are teenagers.

Minimum wage workers are parents.

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Companies won’t even look at resumes of the long-term unemployed

From The Washington Post:

Posted by Brad Plumer
on April 15, 2013

Here’s one big reason why America’s unemployment crisis may be here to stay. Thanks to the lasting effects of the recession, there are currently 4.7 million workers who have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. And new research suggests that employers will almost never consider hiring them.

Matthew O’Brien reports on a striking recent experiment by Rand Ghayad of Northeastern University. He sent out 4,800 fake resumes at random for 600 job openings. And what he found is that employers would rather call back someone with no relevant experience who’s only been out of work for a few months than someone with more relevant experience who’s been out of work for longer than six months.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how much experience you have. It doesn’t matter why you lost your previous job — it could have been bad luck. If you’ve been out of work for more than six months, you’re essentially unemployable. Many companies won’t even consider you for a job. Here’s what this looks like in chart form:

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“Yes, we are talking about a Revolution” -Tim DeChristopher

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Resource Shock: How Resource Scarcity and Climate Change Could Produce a Global Explosion

From Alternet:

Whether you know it or not, you’re on a new planet, a resource-shock world of a sort humanity has never before experienced.

By Michael T. Klare
April 21, 2013

Brace yourself. You may not be able to tell yet, but according to global experts and the U.S. intelligence community, the earth is already shifting under you.  Whether you know it or not, you’re on a new planet, a resource-shock world of a sort humanity has never before experienced.

Two nightmare scenarios — a global scarcity of vital resources and the onset of extreme climate change — are already beginning to converge and in the coming decades are likely to produce a tidal wave of unrest, rebellion, competition, and conflict.  Just what this tsunami of disaster will look like may, as yet, be hard to discern, but experts warn of “water wars” over contested river systems, global food riots sparked by soaring prices for life’s basics, mass migrations of climate refugees (with resulting anti-migrant violence), and the breakdown of social order or the collapse of states.  At first, such mayhem is likely to arise largely in Africa, Central Asia, and other areas of the underdeveloped South, but in time all regions of the planet will be affected.

To appreciate the power of this encroaching catastrophe, it’s necessary to examine each of the forces that are combining to produce this future cataclysm.

Resource Shortages and Resource Wars

Start with one simple given: the prospect of future scarcities of vital natural resources, including energy, water, land, food, and critical minerals.  This in itself would guarantee social unrest, geopolitical friction, and war.

It is important to note that absolute scarcity doesn’t have to be on the horizon in any given resource category for this scenario to kick in.  A lack of adequate supplies to meet the needs of a growing, ever more urbanized and industrialized global population is enough.  Given the wave of extinctions that scientists are recording, some resources — particular species of fish, animals, and trees, for example — will become less abundant in the decades to come, and may even disappear altogether.  But key materials for modern civilization like oil, uranium, and copper will simply prove harder and more costly to acquire, leading to supply bottlenecks and periodic shortages.

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From Jail on Earth Day

From Common Dreams:

by Sandra Steingraber

The following was letter was written from the Chemung County Jail in Elmira, New York where Steingraber is serving a fifteen day sentence for blockading a gas compression rig last month owned by the Inergy gas company near her home in the Finger Lakes region of the state:

This morning – I have no idea what time this morning, as there are no clocks in jail, and the florescent lights are on all night long – I heard the familiar chirping of English sparrows and the liquid notes of a cardinal. And there seemed to be another bird too – one who sang a burbling tune. Not a robin–wren? The buzzing, banging, clanking of jail and the growled announcements of guards on their two-way radios – which also go on all night – drowned it out. But the world, I knew, was out there somewhere.

The best way to deal with jail is to exude patience, and wrap it around a core of resolve and surrender. According to New York state law, all inmates upon arrival are isolated from the general population until they are tested for tuberculosis and that test comes back negative. Typically, that takes three days. Isolation means you are locked inside your cell with no access to the phone (the phone for cell block D happens to be located, tantalizingly, four feet from my bars – just out of reach); no access to books (the two books I have in my cell, lent to me by an empathetic inmate, are the Bible and Nora Roberts’ Carolina Moon, which is a 470-page paperback whose opening sentence is, “She woke in the body of a dead friend.”); and, of course, no access to wi fi, cell phones, e-mail or the internet.

I am writing with a borrowed pencil on the back of the “Chemung County Inmate Request Form,” which is a half sheet of paper. I am writing small and revising in my head. (Forgive the paragraphing – I’m trying to save space.)

Yesterday, I was told that no medical personnel were available to administer my TB test. When I was called down to the nurse this morning, she asked why I didn’t have my TB test yesterday. Of course, she was available yesterday. The resulting delay means that I will join the prison population and be released from 24 hour lock-down on Monday, rather than Sunday.

Frustration will be counter-productive and place me closer to despair. Let–it–go surrender, ironically, keeps me in touch with my resolve.

So, Monday, which is Earth Day, I will emerge from my cell and join the ecosystem of the Chemung County Jail, where the women’s voices are loud and defiant. Stingray (not her actual nickname), broke a tooth yesterday. When she showed it to officer Murphy’s Law (that’s his actual nickname) and said, “the other half is in my cell,” Murphy’s Law replied, “So, you think the tooth fairy’s going to come?” And then he left.

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Newly Released Tim DeChristopher Finds a Movement Transformed by His Courage

From Yes Magazine:

Tim DeChristopher, who was released from federal custody yesterday, is best known as the man who disrupted an auction of pristine public lands. But there’s more to his story than his role as “Bidder 70.”

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Earth Day 2013: Land for Food Under Attack Worldwide

From Rabble: Canada:

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How the burning of fossil fuels was linked to a warming world in 1938

From The Guardian UK:

This month marks the 75th anniversary of Guy Callendar’s landmark scientific paper on anthropogenic climate change

Monday 22 April 2013

Seventy-five years ago this month an amateur weather-watcher from West Sussex published a landmark paper in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society directly linking the burning of fossil fuels to the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Guy Callendar was a successful steam engineer by trade, but in his spare time he was a keen meteorologist. In April 1938, his paper, “The artificial production of carbon dioxide and its influence on temperature” (pdf), which built on the earlier work of John Tyndall and Svante Arrhenius, was published with little fanfare or impact. It was only in the proceeding decades that the true significance of his conclusions would be heralded.

To mark the anniversary, two modern-day climatologists have published a co-authored paper (pdf) in the same journal celebrating not just his legacy, but also illustrating with modern techniques and data just how accurate Callendar’s calculations proved to be.

Dr Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, who co-authored the paper with Prof Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia, describes why Callendar is so significant to the development of climate science:

In hindsight, Callendar’s contribution was fundamental. He is still relatively unknown, but in terms of the history of climate science, his paper is a classic. He was the first scientist to discover that the planet had warmed by collating temperature measurements from around the globe, and suggested that this warming was partly related to man-made carbon dioxide emissions…People were sceptical about some of Callendar’s results, partly because the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere was not very well known and because his estimates for the warming caused by CO2 were quite simplistic by modern standards. It was only in the 1950s, when improved instruments showed more precisely how water and CO2 absorbed radiation, that we reached a better understanding of its importance. Scientists at the time also couldn’t really believe that humans could impact such a large system as the climate – a problem that climate science still encounters from some people today, despite the compelling evidence to the contrary.

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