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Thirty Meter Telescope Likely Never Gets Built ... In Hawaii 277

An anonymous reader writes: After years of its backers of doing everything the state of Hawaii demanded in order to get permission to build the Thirty Meter Telescope, a state judge today ordered that the whole process should start over again. Since this order was instigated by the protesters, and that it appears the government favors those protesters, it appears that there is no chance TMT will ever get approval to build in Hawaii. We've been following the back and forth, back and forth story of this telescope for a while.
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Thirty Meter Telescope Likely Never Gets Built ... In Hawaii

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  • And for what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @02:42PM (#51457769) Journal
    Hippie burnouts. Luddite native simpletons. There are already 4 observatories near the sacred summit of Mauna Kea. What harm would one more do? Whose state is it anyway?
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Perhaps the people building it should have not sued the "owners" of the mountain so many times for the 4 that are there now and instead have asked more nicely, or sued more effectively previously for better permissions for future structures.
    • Re:And for what? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DanielRavenNest ( 107550 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @07:53PM (#51459355)

      > "The planned construction site is on land considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians."

      What the *modern* natives fail to mention is that the *pre-western* natives used the top of the mountain as a rock quarry. It wasn't sacred at all. Turns out that lava erupted during an ice age, when there were glaciers on top, hardened rapidly, preventing crystal growth. Crystals fracture more easily, so the lack made for excellent stone tools, which the natives used before westerners brought metal tools.

      The top of the mountain wasn't habitable for the same reason it makes an excellent telescope site - very little rain. The altitude also means it's cold, and it is high enough to induce altitude sickness if you are acclimated to sea level. So the natives didn't live up there, but rather set up mining camps to extract the rock, then took them back down. There is literally tons of archaeological evidence all over the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, the area on top of the mountain that the University of Hawaii controls. The astronomers are careful about not putting a telescope in archeology areas. There's rock debris, partial tools, shelters, etc. up there.

      If it was originally an industrial site, I see no reason not to use it now for a scientific site. It's not like they are knocking down the Parthenon to build a telescope.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      If you are reaching for the stars, then god dam it reach for the stars, build the fucker on the moon and build the base around it to support it. Stop with these stupid half arsed set ups pretending you are doing something. I want a big arsed telescope on there on the moon where it belongs. Want more build some out in the asteroid belt as well, time to stop dicking about with token efforts at space exploration, time to get serious. Whose is the cheap luddite who is afraid to leave the surface of the earth a

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @02:48PM (#51457787) Homepage

    ... that it likely never gets built, when the article says that officials have said that they'll continue the process? You're basically just changing actual reporting into an opinion piece, and presenting said opinion as if it's in the reporting.

    • You're new here, right? Two clear tip-offs

      1) you RTFA
      2) are surprised that the summary misrepresents the article in order to make a different point

        Please note this for future reference

    • ... that it likely never gets built, when the article says that officials have said that they'll continue the process? You're basically just changing actual reporting into an opinion piece, and presenting said opinion as if it's in the reporting.

      The anonymous submitter was likely one of the current presidential candidates.

  • It's Sacred. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edibobb ( 113989 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @02:49PM (#51457797) Homepage
    I consider Mauna Kea sacred ground that should be used only for telescopic exploration of the heavens. How can these heretics deny me my constitutional right of freedom of religion? Thomas Jefferson had a telescope, and it was obviously his intent when he wrote the First Amendment that people should be free to practice telescopy in sacred places such as Mauna Kea.
    • The lesson was this:

      Sure we're all supposed to share resources and we all support Bernie Sanders taking from people and giving to others. But if there's a native group involved, then they have an absolute right to completely control any resource, for any reason. Even if the resource is infinitely valuable, and not sharing it will result in poverty and starvation for billions of people. The natives can't even be asked to talk about sharing it; their rights are supreme because they have the righteous skin

  • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @02:50PM (#51457801)

    A tiny pressure group can stop virtually any big project, by filing court action after court action, delaying it until everyone gets tired of it and gives up. If they hadn't succeeded this time, they would have found some endangered flea, argued indefinitely until they won or lost, and lose, try again with a newly-invented religious icon.

    It happens time and again. For example, the NFL (with regard to the Washington Redskins) is on record for saying "if one person objects, we will take action". Whether you think the word is offensive is beside the point. This sort of thinking allows the loudest complainers to exert veto power over virtually anything. So we get absolutely nowhere.

    • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @03:10PM (#51457915)

      "A tiny pressure group can stop virtually any big project, by filing court action after court action,"

      The real opposition to TMT came from the Deep Greens, who tried the same tactic in the Nineties to stop telescope construction in Arizona. Republicans (astronomy is a major "industry" in AZ) beat them back by the skin of their teeth, but the Green victory in Hawaii means that the US is through as a location for any major project of this kind, barring some major political reformation.

      It's an election year, so write your candidate. It can't hurt.

      • We know who vigorously supports eminent domain for public projects...
        • Actually his controversy is about using eminent domain for private development, which is not at issue here. The TMT site was on a 52-acre 'telescope reservation' that has existed by contract since 1960, and where a number of other instruments are already located.

        • Eminent domain isn't relevant in this case. The land already belongs to the State of Hawaii, under their Department of Land and Natural Resources. Basically the entire upper half of the Big Island by altitude is a nature reserve. The very top of Mauna Kea is a science reserve managed by the University of Hawaii (another state institution). It includes archaeological sites where natives used it as a *rock quarry* for stone tools, and the area where the telescopes are set up.

          Nobody has ever lived up there

    • That's why private property is a good idea. If the natives owned the property (the last monarch's corruption makes it worth a separate argument) , they'd probably want the rent. Or at least the builders would have known ahead of time that building the telescope was not worth their time. If the scientists owned the property then it would have just been built already. The idea of "public property" is what leads to these sorts of conflicts; low - IQ politicians are a far worse way to decide issues then ration

      • "That's why private property is a good idea. If the natives owned the property (the last monarch's corruption makes it worth a separate argument) , they'd probably want the rent."

        That would be true if the real opposition were just the natives, but the Greens will stall projects on private land just as surely as on public land. In a case like this, they are just using the natives as a weapon.

        How long has it been since we could build a nuclear plant, even on land the utility owns outright?

      • You still need planning permission to build on private property.

      • rationally-enforced market discipline.

        Oh, that's funny. *sorry* On what planet are you going to find that?! The market is everything but rational, and is why economic 'science' is no better than phrenology.

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      If they were called the Washington Negro's would we be having this discussion? No, they would've been pressured into changing their name decades ago. The point being that the "redskin's" are a marginalized group that nobody seems to give a fuck about it which is the issue.

  • Victory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @02:52PM (#51457813)
    Another victory of religion and superstition and the self interests of a few people who have appointed themselves as religious leaders over science and reason and public interest.
    • Another victory of religion and superstition

      Hawaiians spontaneously gave up their religion in 1819, before the arrival of western missionaries. It seems a lot of them really didn't like the kapu system.
      There are still superstitions in Hawaii but mainly revolving around ghosts.

      • It's not really accurate to call kapu a religion, or to call objection to the telescope superstition. It's more like sentimentality. If they were building the telescope in Bethlehem I think some people here would change their tune.
        • It's not really accurate to call kapu a religion

          It was more than just giving up Kapu. They destroyed the temples, the wooden statues, and abandoned the gods. What exactly would you call that?

          • They were really only paying lip service to those gods. Imagine if the US president ordered everyone to stop believing in Jesus. And then imagine that they did!

            So the Hawaiians were clearly never as religious white people. They had some weird hangups though - women couldn't eat bananas? That's weird.

            If you want to see some real religious and superstitious primitives, turn on the GOP debate some time.

  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @02:58PM (#51457847) Homepage Journal

    Science: 0
    superstition: 1
    greed: 4.

  • Sounds familar (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @03:12PM (#51457923)

    Sounds a lot like what happened to the company that tried to run ferry service between the islands, the government supported the company and helped them start up, 2 years (and several lawsuits) later a judge shut them down because whatever law was passed by the government was against Hawaii's constitution. []

    In December 2008, environmental groups and the company returned to court for an appeal of the previous ruling. On March 16, 2009 the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that allowing the Superferry to operate prior to completion of the environmental study was unconstitutional.[37] The company immediately suspended service and laid off its 236 employees.

    Hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment lost.... and probably hundreds of millions of future investments lost because investors won't invest in infrastructure when they have no assurance that when the government says "we need this, do it", that they really mean it.

    I actually had tickets to ride the boat, but the company had already shut down before my trip.

      • I seriously that Hawaii would be able to find any investors. Even if the State Legislature approves, the Native Hawaiians will hit it with yet more lawsuits, and the courts will shut it down. After the TMT fiasco, potential investors will decide that it isn't worth the risk.

        Anyway Hawaii already has tradition Native Hawaiian inter-island ferry services . . . they are called outrigger canoes. That would give the Native Hawaiian groups enough ammunition to claim that the new services were trying to use mo

  • In the abstract, intellectual sense, you can be all for the rights of "marginalized peoples" and against the "the man".

    But when you naively put theory into practice, you start to get some less-than-happy outcomes and get mugged by reality and start to get a visceral understanding of some facts, like

    1. Turns out that the marginalized peoples are marginalized not because they're innocent noble pacifists more in tune with nature, but because they're superstitious anti-science savages who worship sacred rocks and can't be reasoned with.
    2. The Man actually has a millenia-long tradition of scientific inquiry and exploration, which is how you get to have a roof over your head, food on the table, indoor plumbing, electric lights, and a lifespan longer than 30.
    3. Fighting for Justice (TM) is all well and good. But when we're sitting pretty in the civilized world, there really isn't much real injustice to fight against. So like a child raised in a sterile environment only to develop allergies to everything, a society taught to attack "injustice" will turn its energies against itself, and superstition and paganism can trump science.
    4. Freedom of religion is all well and good, but we in the west tend to have more personal and private religions, where my faith doesn't place any demands on your lifestyle. The savages, on the other hand, tend to have communal 'religions' with sacrifices to pagan idols in the extreme case, and elaborate restrictions on the freedom of their inherents in the most charitable interpretation. One is compatible with capital-f Freedom, one is not. Our culture is about freedom, theirs isn't. You can't compromise between the two.
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      where my faith doesn't place any demands on your lifestyle.

      Yeah, right. Try telling that to Evangelicals. Go back hundreds of years and try telling that to the inquisitor. You are never going to win an argument with "My religion is good and benign. Yours is evil and superstitious." They're all nuts. As long as they keep to themselves, mutter strange words and wear funny hats, we'll let it slide.

      • That's my point. Ours tend to be the types that can keep to themselves. Theirs are the kind that can't.
        • That's my point. Ours tend to be the types that can keep to themselves. Theirs are the kind that can't.

          What? No. There is no kind of religious type that can keep to itself once it gets the power to start forcing other people to live like them. There are some kinds of religious, though, whose beliefs inherently prevent them from amassing such power. You're not going to see the Amish forcing anyone to live like them any time soon because their religion forbids them taking up arms. They don't have the means, and their lifestyle forbids them acquiring them, so it's not going to happen.

          The only thing that stops any particular Christian sect from going bad (they all have the same book more or less, so they all can justify any kind of bad behavior if they cross their eyes just right when they read it) is other competing sects, and the fact that their numbers are all dwindling. The only religion growing right now is Islam, and IMO that's only because they have a large captive audience to which they can sell their story. Depressed people are easy targets for religion. Bring up quality of life in the places they're making inroads and you'll see them falter rapidly. Nobody happy needs religion.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @03:44PM (#51458095)

    This was actually the result of a proxy fight.

    It was a proxy for the ke ea Hawai‘i movement, which is a movement that is demanding some form of sovereignty for Hawaii. they have been around forever, and they make themselves a pain in the ass wherever they can in order to attempt to draw media attention to their cause.

    Their favorite hobby horses are self-determination and self-governance, for Hawaii as an independent nation, or for people of native Hawaiian ancestry to obtain "tribal sovereignty" similar to the relationship with Native Americans, for Native Hawaiians.

    They generally don't care about "sacred spots" unless caring about them publicly will get major headlines.

    Alphabetically, the organizations involved include: ALOHA, Hawaiian Kingdom, Hawaiian Kingdom Government, Ka Lhui, Ka Pkaukau, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Nation of Hawai'i, Nou Ke Akua Ke Aupuni O Hawaii, Poka Laenui, and Protect Kahoolawe Ohana (PKO).

    Frankly, I'm surprised there is not a "Bring Queen Lili'uokalani Back From The Dead Society". They are unhappy with the 1893 U.S. Marine invasion that got rid of the hereditary monarchy, and they are unhappy with the U.S. annexation of 1898.

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Sunday February 07, 2016 @04:14PM (#51458237)

      Their favorite hobby horses are self-determination and self-governance, for Hawaii as an independent nation, or for people of native Hawaiian ancestry to obtain "tribal sovereignty" similar to the relationship with Native Americans, for Native Hawaiians.

      Well, there's the solution right there . . . give the Native Hawaiians the right to build gambling casinos, in exchange for the right to build a telescope.

    • 13 year Hawaii resident, lacking mod points, so chiming in to say that tlambert hit the nail on the head. The sovereignty and similar aligned organizations have little political power, other than what they can exercise in the state courts.

      I used to argue with sovereignty advocates (via Maui News letters to editor) that if they wanted to make some real headway, they should consider forming a party and contesting elective office like the various Puerto Rican independentistas, rather than expending all of thei

  • It seems like easter Island would be a great spot as there is no light pollution to worry about and all that land with nobody on it for any size telescope.
    • Easter Island gets 1,147 mm of rain a year, Mauna Kea Observatory gets 187. It's a better site for lots of other reasons (altitude, stability of the air, etc.)

  • Sad but not unexpected to see posters slathering on ad hominem attacks rather than addressing the issues. The subtext of most of the messages here today is unmistakable: the nerve of these savages.

    I majored in science at university. I read most of the technical books I was supposed to read. I quit religion as soon as I could get away from it. I can clearly see the progress for humanity fostered by reason, empiricism, and applied technology. But.

    When I look at what has been done to this world in the previous

  • by flip-flop ( 178593 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @02:06AM (#51460617)

    Astronomer here, I live and work on the Big Island. You are completely wrong to assume this means the end of TMT in Hawaii, it was pretty much what was expected to happen after the state supreme court vacated the permit last December []. While the new permitting process is going to take more time (months or years, nobody knows for sure), TMT seem to be taking their time deciding on their next step [] and are still hoping to continue as planned. I have heard nothing that would suggest otherwise. Please understand a big project like that doesn't just up and leave after having so much invested. Supporters of the TMT here (of which there are plenty) are still hoping a new, watertight permit will come out of all this. Frankly, we're more shocked by the recent news about another batch of anti-TMT protesters being acquitted [] because they claimed to have "prevented a greater harm from occurring". But then again, this is Hawaii, and that's how things work here.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.