back to article Work on world's largest star-gazing 'scope stopped after religious protests

Building work on the world's largest telescope has stopped after the Hawaiian Supreme Court sided with local groups and withdrew construction permits. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project broke ground last October – albeit briefly – as protesters flooded the site trying to stop the building work. Local groups claim the …

  1. Turtle

    Until I Read...

    "But ecology concerns were cited by Operation Green Rights, which staged a distributed denial of service attack against the TWT website in April, claiming that "filthy money" was responsible for 'ecocide.' "

    I actually had some sympathy for the Hawaiians' position until I read that line.

    1. Eric Olson

      Re: Until I Read...

      Guilt by association, if there is even association, is not really a strong argument. It's entirely possible (or even likely) that this Operation Green Rights group is just piggy-backing on the sincerely felt beliefs of the native Hawaiians for some free publicity.

      And... yup. Some crummy Anon group.

    2. Brian 3

      Re: Until I Read...

      Not only that, but the US government has a long standing and absolute policy on not giving in to terrorism. So now the only possibility is to build at least two such telescopes, right?

    3. Bleu

      Re: Until I Read...

      I have never been there, but Hawaii's weather is strange. Another mountain has the world's most precipitation, matched by a part of India, but IIRC, the place in Hawaii wins on constancy.

      Here, Mt. Fuji is wrapped in clouds to the summit on most days, been past on trains or viewed from a far place in all seasons, clear views are seldom.

      If anyone with knowledge of it can explain, i would like to hear why the site in Hawaii is a good one.

      USA seems to have the trend for cutting off the tops of mountains, I read of it happening in Virginia, Dakotas.

      A 'sacred' mountain near Tokyo, Mt. Buko, is being slowly destroyed to make cement and concrete.

      Half is gone.

      Hate that, is there no way to recycle materials from demolitions?

      Plenty here.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Until I Read...

        Presumably the telescopes are high enough to be above a lot of the clouds? That would explain the clear skies and lack of precipitation.

        1. Preston Munchensonton
          Pint

          Re: Until I Read...

          Presumably the telescopes are high enough to be above a lot of the clouds? That would explain the clear skies and lack of precipitation.

          That's precisely the reasoning. I'm not certain of the cloud cover elevation, but it is definitely below the top of Mauna Kea by at least 300m. There's a generic overview of the survey done by the University of Hawaii for their 2.2m telescope in the late sixties:

          https://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/users/jefferies/The_Selection_of_Mauna_Kea.htm

          Having been there myself to see the sunset and stars, it's a breathtaking site, literally and figuratively.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Until I Read...

      It is easy, let them build the telescope. If it offends the gods, they will cause the volcano to erupt and destroy the telescope and they can say, "told you so."

      If it doesn't erupt, then they know that the gods don't mind the use of the sacred site to enhance human knowledge.

  2. Ramon Zarat

    When religious initiative trump over science, you know your country is going downhill.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Welcome to the US. We have people like that in Congress controlling science funding.

      However, I suspect that this has little to do with religion as there 12 scopes up there already. The key is the Green people raising hell. A bit of money, a bit of protest, and the religion will follow since the Greens probably made a loud statement about "sacred ground".

      So it's ecology? On a mountain of lava? I doubt there's much there that could be called "ecological" in the term is normally used. Or is it more about money and power? One must follow the money always.

    2. keithpeter
      Coat

      Due Process

      My reading of the article suggests that the reason for the halt to building was the lack of due process - i.e. building starting before the relevant court hearing.

      I suspect that the required legal process will now be adhered to scrupulously and a decision reached. When the economic impact of the possible run-down of astronomy activity on the site becomes apparent, I suspect there will be a wider debate amongst the residents of the island, which may result in representations to local politicians &c.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Due Process

        It might be adhered to, but how long will that take? I imagine quite a few years.

        1. keithpeter
          Coat

          Re: Due Process

          @Suricou Raven

          "It might be adhered to, but how long will that take? I imagine quite a few years."

          Depends on representations made to local politicians by the wider population on the island, and the economic impact of a reduction in astronomical activity. I predict a modest increase in ground rent and an expedited hearing.

          But then I can be quite cynical.

      2. nijam

        Re: Due Process

        > ... the reason for the halt to building was the lack of due process

        My reading is that that was the judicial excuse to get the mouthy protestors to shut up.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      So you side with the perverts and blasphemers who are building a big telescope to look up the Sky Fairy's skirt? Burn him!

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        >So you side with the perverts and blasphemers who are building a big telescope to look up the Sky Fairy's skirt? Burn him!

        Nope, siding with those who don't wish to build a barnacle on the lips of the volcano god. Personally, I'd have expected him to be well able to make his wishes known on this one.

        "Sacrificing a telescope? Not the usual consignment of virgins, but I'll take it."

      2. 080

        Faith

        They were also hoping to find the celestial teapot.

    4. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When your only real power is blocking other people's constructive initiatives...

    5. g e

      You'd think an all-powerful omnipotent being

      Would be able to stand up for him/herself, wouldn't you

      1. nijam

        Re: You'd think an all-powerful omnipotent being

        > ... an all-powerful omnipotent being ... Would be able to stand up for him/herself

        Indeed, but since there are no such beings, we must call upon eco-protestors to help.

        PS all-powerful == ominpotent, BTW

    6. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      > When religious initiative trump over science, you know your country is going downhill.

      I would suggest you read about Hawaiian religion and politics before you make ignorant guesses about your country.

      Not that illegal coups are a no no in world politics or by any means uncommon in the USA's

  3. Len Goddard

    If it were a pristine site with an ecology I might have some sympathy. As there are already 12 telescopes there, no significant ecology to damage and a thriving tourist industry environmental protection seems a little late.

    As for sacred sites ...

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      As for sacred sites ...

      Here in Tasmania sacred sites are middens (AKA rubbish dumps/shitheaps). The thought that my descendants might be protesting the building of anything over the septic tank in my back yard because the site was somehow sacred to me makes me shudder...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      no significant ecology to damage

      I agree with your sentiment, but there is an ecology almost everywhere - even in nuclear reactor cooling ponds if you aren't careful. I'm sure that somewhere there is an ecologist who could tell you more than you could possibly absorb about the environment on top of Hawaiian mountains.

      Whether building a telescope will damage it is quite another matter, though.

  4. IvoryT

    It's beautiful - I would be proud to have that on a mountain near me.

  5. LDS Silver badge

    Move it to Atacama...

    ... where there are less stupid people.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Move it to Atacama...

      Then no pork

      There was a long discussion about Chile = better site, better weather, better seeing vs Hawaii = have to close another telescope to get permission, more time paid to UHa, but more State/Federal money

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Move it to Atacama...

        You forgot to mention that Chile = better treatment in custom & immigration when visiting the site compared to US treatment.

        When I visited Chile the customs officials managed to be polite and pleasant, and no thrusting guns in our faces, even when fining one of us ~£100 for failing to disclose "plant or animal matter" on our declarations (in the form of a bag of tea).

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Move it to Atacama...

      That would be a bit of a bummer if what you want is to look at the Northern hemisphere.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Move it to Atacama...

        Paranal is 24 deg s, Hawaii is 20 deg n, there is only a small bit of the north circumpolar you can't see. But it opens up a lot more of the galaxy in the southern hemisphere

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Move it to Atacama...

          AIUI, the Southern hemisphere is already well-covered, and while adding Yet Another Very Large Telescope there wouldn't be lost, they'd rather prefer it peeking into the Northern hemisphere. With Hawaii easily the best location there: very minor light pollution and a minimum of that pesky air between the 'scope and the rest of the Universe. Other potential locations aren't either as good by far, tend to have Sahara sand scour your pristine mirrors into uselessness, or, in the case of Tibet, would invite some political ... issues.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Move it to Atacama...

            Is it another requirement that the telescope be reasonably close to the Equator (as Hawaii is in the torrid zone)? Because otherwise, I wonder why they don't situate a telescope on Mount Denali in Alaska, which is about as high as you can get in North America. It's pretty much rugged wilderness there, so minimal light pollution from below. Plus you get very long nights up there for half the year. Perhaps aurora interfernece is a concern that far north?

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: Move it to Atacama...

              Perhaps aurora interfernece is a concern that far north?

              No, it's the moose bites. Astronomers don't like that at all. (Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretti nasti... )

              Llamas and guanacos merely spit on you. Wipe it off and that's it.

            2. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: Move it to Alaska

              Because otherwise, I wonder why they don't situate a telescope on Mount Denali in Alaska

              Stargazing nights require cloudless skies with no wind. I understand those aren't really abundant over there; the astronomer I asked couldn't readily find site data, but some general mountaineering info for that region indicated it won't be well-suited as a site for an optical telescope.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Move it to Alaska

                The clouds I can understand but wind? Is that because it can shake the telescope? Then I can see why you trend towards the tropics: less atmospheric wind activity. Anywhere else pretty much requires unique geography to create a high-altitude lee.

                1. David Nash Silver badge

                  Re: Move it to Alaska

                  No, wind=moving atmosphere which is not good for a steady image through the telescope. Also known as the "seeing".

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Move it to Atacama...

      Or La Palma in the Northern hemisphere. While not as high, the natives are friendly and they rigorously enforce the light pollution laws. The site is well established with 10+ instruments and getting good mileage.

      The only problem is when the odd Carnival c*nt, sorry, cruise, throws anchor in the harbor over Christmas. The f***heads head out out of territorial waters and sit 8 miles out of harbor every night just in order not to comply with light pollution rules and have all of their lights shining to make a point. Still, that is the odd one or two ships full of d***heads with a d***head in charge a couple of times year. During the rest of the the year the light pollution level is as low as on the top of Hawaii if not lower.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Move it to La Palma

        Sand pollution is the bigger problem there. Which in itself can be kept at bay by keeping the dome closed if conditions warrant, but it tends to reduce the observation opportunities.

    4. nijam

      Re: Move it to Atacama...

      > ... there are less stupid people

      And fewer stupid people too, I'd guess.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Move it to Atacama...

        > ... there are less stupid people

        And fewer stupid people too, I'd guess.

        Or maybe there are more, but if there stupidities are lesser enough then the they could still be ahead on aggregate.

        (I still upvoted you for less/fewer pedantry)

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Move it to Atacama...

          (I still upvoted you for less/fewer pedantry)

          In which case you should pedanticise yourself for writing "there" where you ought to have written "their".

          1. 's water music Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Move it to Atacama...

            There/their fail

            Indeed. Duly down-voted with sock puppet.

  6. Big-nosed Pengie
    Facepalm

    You don't want to anger the volcano god.

    1. Stuart Dole

      This is not Pele's mountain...

      This is Poli'ahu's mountain - the Snow Goddess. She and Pele never got along well. (I love them both...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is not Pele's mountain...

        Ah, wondered what he's been up to since he retired from the "beautiful game".

        1. Diziet Sma
          Facepalm

          Re: This is not Pele's mountain...

          Close, but Pele is a Goddess of fire.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Maybe the reason that their god(s) said that the mountain tops were sacred was because they knew that they were a great site for telescopes and wanted to keep them clear?

    3. ntevanza

      What (s)he said. Most gods are still living off the glory of their best battles millennia ago, recycling the same abstruse theological debates concerning deontology and watchmaking. About the most topical they get is circumcision.

      Volcano gods burn you dead with fire.

  7. Stuart Dole
    Pint

    Ever built a telescope?

    Bet (a pint) none of the protestors - either the green or the traditional ones - ever built a telescope themselves. If you build your own telescope, you really appreciate their beauty.This is an incredibly beautiful telescope we're talking about - a crown jewel on a beautiful mountain. Somehow I don't think Poli'ahu would mind the scope being there...

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Ever built a telescope?

      Have they tried asking her? Being a god she probably won't need one herself, but allowing us mortals a better view of the beauty of the universe would be something I'd approve of if I were a god, as it tends to place things into perspective, as it were.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ever built a telescope?

        I'm sure that if they speak for her, they'll be able to get her to turn up in person to any hearings

  8. David 132 Silver badge

    Shooting themselves in the foot

    I'm on the Big Island at the moment on vacation, and drove past Mauna Kea on the Saddle Road last weekend. This is big news here, but sympathy seems to be broadly in favour of the observatory. My own gut feeling/prejudice is that, as someone else commented above, this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything that might be construed as progress, and have whipped up the putative "native community leaders" to come up with spurious objections. It's a shakedown, nothing more.

    I can highly recommend a visit to the observatory, or at least to the visitor centre halfway up the mountain. Most nights the visitor centre has portable telescopes set up in the parking lot, and it is the most spectacular view of the night sky you'll probably ever see, assuming you live somewhere with normal levels of light pollution. Amazing, and the staff of the observatory & visitor centre are super enthusiastic about communicating their love of astronomy.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

      that might be construed as progress

      Bloody GOP.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

        Since they're actually being active in this, shouldn't they be called melon farmers rather than watermelons?

      2. Gary Bickford

        Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

        Umm... Most of the extreme green activists are decidedly _not_ GOP.

        Historically the GOP has been a much better supporter of science and research than the other side. Not completely unrelated: The GOP are also the party that introduced the first Civil Rights Act in the late 1800s, and voted almost unanimously for the very similar 1964 Act, passing it over the Democrats' attempts to defeat it. IIRC less than 1/3 of the Democrats voted for it. Somehow that fact never gets into the media's narrative, nor the education establishment.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

          And how much do both the current Republicans and the Democrats have in common, ideologically as well as in practice, with their namesakes a century and a half ago?

          It's like saying the current HP is offering quality gear because Bill and Dave actually knew how to design and build solid, reliable stuff.

        2. Sherrie Ludwig

          Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

          The two US political parties have swapped sides on many issues, as Mr. Bickford states, throughout their respective histories, but as they are currently run, the GOP has as much interest in and knowledge of scientific research as a hog does of Sunday. Hence, the worldwide view of the GOP (Republicans) as anti-science hyper-religious kooks. Politics and scientific inquiry are very uneasy bedfellows most of the time, anyway.

      3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

        Hawaii is a donkey run sewer not elephant run. Same stupidity different branding.

      4. Dr. Ellen

        Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything

        GOP? Every watermelon I've known has been hard left.

      5. Dan Paul

        Re: this is a bunch of watermelons who want to stop anything (@Tom 7)

        No, it's the bleeding Demoncrats you moron...really I can't understand how someone so uneducated and ignorant feels it is your constant duty to interject retarded comments that don't even belong in this argument.

        The political party you mentioned does not even have "a dog in this race" and neither do you!

        These are dyed in the wool dummycrats holding up progress here.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

      "It's a shakedown, nothing more."

      Granting of planning permission always ends up with "bribes", eg a supermarket wants permission to build so they promise to build a school too, or improve the road junction into the store or some other "socially responsible" add-on which they hope will grease the wheels or is demanded by the planning authority. This is just the locals trying to jump on the same gravy train, especially the "downtrodden native peoples". The religion bit is just extra leverage.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

        Native Hawaiian politics is a bit of a minefield. Quite a few of them still believe the island is under unlawful US occupation, on the grounds that the prior government never actually signed it over officially - American ships just turned up and took over by virtue of superior weaponry, as they didn't believe the native tribes qualified as a government and thus the land was unclaimed. Even on the mainland US most of the takeover was recognised by agreed upon treaties, though they tended to be signed under threat of genocide or by scamming some native who had no concept of a contractual agreement.

        The majority just want to get on with their jobs and don't care what happened to their great-great-great-great-great grandfather any more, but it only takes a few of them to kick up a fuss.

        1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

          There something about the a vote in Hawaii being declared unconstitutional recently by the US Federal Courts. I wonder if there may a be a federal angle to this because of Hawaiian government itself playing loose with due process.

        2. Bleu

          Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

          I am sure that all want to get on with their lives.

          Fact is, annexation by the USA was a very nasty move, the Queen of Hawaii was still in power when it was a British protectorate.

          Rotten behaviour, I cannot see how the Monroe doctrine extends to the mid-Pacific, frankly. I cannot see how how it was ever valid at all.

          1. PaulFrederick

            Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

            Hawaii was never a British colony. 3 businessmen from the States were somehow running the place, I think by bribing the local royalty? Then they got deposed by US Marines. The British had a ship on the way, to attempt to grab the island for themselves. But the USA annexed it as a territory before they could arrive. The bottom line is Hawaii was already grabbed by the time US forces arrived, and was surely going to be grabbed by some other foreign power if the USA did not grab it first. Then the US went on to protect, and defend Hawaii for many years before making it a state. I'm thinking something like 76? I can't be bothered looking it up right now. Things really could not have gone any better for the natives there. No, just leaving them alone would not have been better. That was not going to happen anyways.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Shooting themselves in the foot

        Granting of planning permission always ends up with "bribes", eg a supermarket wants permission to build so they promise to build a school too, or improve the road junction into the store

        Conditioning a developer to contribute to upgrades/maintenance of the local transport infrastructure so that it can cope with the increased demand generated by the development is perfectly sensible and civilised.

        And you'd think the "user pays" crowd would be all for it too.

  9. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Native Nimbys

    I seem to going be against the trend of commenters here. I think it's fair enough if the natives don't want building there. Would you want to see some giant construction on top of Mt. Fuji? Or would you show a bit of sensitivity?

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Native Nimbys

      Given that the location is already occupied by several telescopes, it seems a bit late in the day to protest. Mind you, since I'm a native of England, i presume you would support any campaign I launched to have the Jodrell Bank telescope demolished because it's on a site sacred to at least three of my ancestors when they dyed their skins with woad. Or do you think I should set my sights on the Houses of Parliament? I'm sure my ancestors wouldn't have approved of that cultural monstrosity. Democracy? Bring back the Big Chiefs and droigt de cuissage I say...

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Native Nimbys

        I wouldn't expect a lot of resistance to any plan to replace the Houses of Parliament with something useful, like - well, anything at all really.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        HoP -I'm sure my ancestors wouldn't have approved of that cultural monstrosity.

        Your ancestors? I don't approve of it. It's a completely fake pseudo-Gothic construction intended to awe visiting colonials and trying to suggest that it's as old as really old buildings. Smoke and mirrors, a suitable enclosure for what goes on there.

        Telescopes and their buildings are functional and add to human knowledge. No problems with them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Native Nimbys

      It's just that it isn't "the natives," its only a small minority of the natives, plus some greenies drunk on self-importance. Most of the folks there don't care very much.

      As for Fuji, as a big strato-volcano it's a lot more photogenic than Mauna Loa, which is much less steep, being a shield volcano. It's hard to even notice its peak against the skyline from most of the island.

    3. Bleu

      Re: Native Nimbys

      There are two observatories on Mt. Fuji, one weather, one military radar.

      The latter may no longer be there, but I cannot recall.

      The lower slopes feature golf courses, an amusement park, army training grounds, the only poetic thing is the forest on the south-eastern slopes which is very popular for suicide.

      Whole point of 'UNESCO world national treasure' in Japan is to increase internal tourism, and spray much concrete about, Mt. Fuji is already popular, and has too much concrete about, it is a matter of national pride to the pollies (hard-right).

      The last time they tried, the UNESCO inspectors were too disgusted by the amount of rubbish, stench of human excreta, and erosion to go along. Ten or so years ago.

      This time, they managed to ignore all of that (I am sure that the govt at least organised a rubbish clean-up), but I am equally sure of diplomatic bribery.

      So they got it (UNESCO international treasure status).

      We don't preserve our past well at all, but if you look at the UNESCO list, Japan is grossly over-represented. Mainly for internal tourism, as I say above.

  10. John Savard Silver badge

    Bad Old Days

    After all, in the bad old days, since the beliefs of the Hawai'ians weren't Christian beliefs, they would just be ignored. And it isn't just a question of religious belief, since the mountain is owned by Hawai'ians, and the telescopes are being built there under an agreement with them, so property rights are involved.

    Respect for indigenous people is a good thing, although it is regrettable when they are letting religious beliefs get in the way of important scientific research projects.

    Of course, it's high time we started building really big telescopes - on the Moon. This would combine the advantages of a location in the vacuum of space with a steady platform.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Bad Old Days

      Perhaps re-locating the protest lobby to the moon would be a better idea.

      And without spacesuits either

      "The moon is a scared obj obj obj a arrghghghg hghh "

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Bad Old Days

        "The moon is a scared obj obj obj a arrghghghg hghh "

        Oh diddums... what is it this time, the Vogons or Galactus? Din't I warn you to stop telling it scary bed time stories?!?

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Bad Old Days

      Sorry, but the Moon is a deity in many religions, and usually a very important one, you can't litter it with telescopes. While returning to sacrifice idiots to volcano gods may be a way to solve such issues, guess they should be proud to be thrown into a volcano.

      BTW, while I may agree with good ecological worries, I can't really see how a telescope, not a nuclear plant, at 4000m in an arid environment (where there is usually close to no life) can be seen as a risk. Also, unlike for example the Everest, where tourists expeditions litter the mountains for no reason but 'I was there', observatories are well kept and also usually host weather and climate stations.

      I also read recently about astronomers at the La Silla observatory in Chile documenting and studying ancient petroglyphs found nearby the site, in their free time. Telling the story of those who would be otherwise forgotten.

      1. Gary Bickford

        Re: Bad Old Days

        Your point about the 'sacred Moon' is actually something I, as an advocate of space development (see http://thespaceplan.com), am worried about. There is already a small but vocal cadre who say either that all of space should be left 'pure' for scientific research, or that it should be off limits to the 'evil humans who pollute everything". I am fairly confident that a significant attempt will be made to block all attempts at commercial or other non-governmental space activity, including habitation. I could see this both on the US and Euro stages, and in the UN.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Bad Old Days

          Like China will give a fuck.

  11. Grease Monkey

    Permission was granted then withdrawn? Somebody is going to end up paying out some serious compensation here. The problem is that it will be the public purse that pays rather than the idiot who decided to grant permission without following due process.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Reading between the lines that statement is just willy wanging by the judge - the point being a senior court challenge isn't part of the 'normal' planning process. Is all planning meant to be paused just inncase there is a successful legal challenge?

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    "ecocide"

    I put it in my dishwasher every day!

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: "ecocide"

      Surprised this hasn't been upvoted, so have one on me :-)

      1. IanTP
        Pint

        Re: "ecocide"

        Have an upvote for suggesting an upvote :)

  13. John Geek

    I've been following this quite a long time, since the TMT was first proposed (I'm a bit of an amateur astronomer).

    They spent 10 or 15 years in the planning stage, they got all the native groups to agree, its not just the $1M/year rent for the land, they agreed to pay $millions more towards native cultural groups, donate time for U of H undergrads to use the scope (undergrads NEVER get time on major research observatories, its just too valuable), etc etc etc. the people behind the rabble rousers decided it wasn't enough, they saw the cost of the scope and want a much bigger piece of the pie.

    this scope is being built by a consortium of US Universities along with Canada, Japan, and now China donating significant money towards the construction. I believe the Packard foundation (of HP fame) donated a big chunk of the design money already spent to get to where they could break ground.

    Sometimes I think all the Haoles (thats native slang for us white folk) should just pull up and leave the islands, taking all our infrastructure and technologies with us, and let them revert to the stone age they came from. Maybe then they'd be happy, they can use dugouts to get from island to island...

  14. thexfile
    Facepalm

    Greed knows no bounds.

  15. Florida1920 Silver badge
    FAIL

    Is there anything religion can't ruin?

    That is all.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. x 7

    build it on Ascension, that way there's some rent money coming in to help pay the costs of the RAF base we've had to maintain ever since the ugliness with Argentina

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Ascension

      I think it's too flat?

      Certainly no very high mountains, so too much atmosphere.

    2. Andrew Passano

      Green Mountain on Ascension is too low in the atmosphere and is where the island gets water.

      Further, it is a truly lovely spot on an island that is mostly volcanic craters and so its protection would be justified for a multitude of reasons.

      As an example the old NASA tracking station was in a location know as the Devils Ashpit.

      Plenty of cash is already coming in from the remaining US facilities there and the RAF base dates back to WWII at least.

  17. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Land rights

    Hawaiians are familiar with land being taken away in the name of progress. Assurances that natives will remain welcome guests could help. (I'm in California, which is no stranger to municipalities and wealthy individuals fencing off large areas of public land.)

  18. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Idiots.

    That is all.

  19. Ru'

    Surely they should just build the thing, and if the deity doesn't like it then the deity can remove it themselves. Supposedly all-powerful but need puny humans to speak for them? Doesn't sound right.

  20. BobRocket

    How many telescopes do they need ?

    There are already a dozen or more telescopes on top of that hill, why don't they just knock down an old one and rebuild it with the new one ?

    To prove their environmental credentials, once the new scope is built the astronomers should cut steps to the top and remove the roadway.

    Who says only artists should suffer for their work, walk you techy geeks, the exercise will do you good (some coca leaves and lime juice might help with the thin air climb).

    1. BoldMan

      Re: How many telescopes do they need ?

      Because this one is expected to do a different job than the ones already there?

      Who says artists suffer for their work? Don't see Damien Hirst and his ilk suffering much, its the rest of us who have to suffer their crap!

    2. nono

      Re: How many telescopes do they need ?

      Telescopes operate in different wavelengths for optical, infrared, uv and radio emissions. In that sense many telescopes are needed, 12 would not begin to cover it. Other telescope 'parks', such as the one in the canary islands on La Palma or on Teneriffe usually contain 20-40 telescopes each.

      More to the point though, it has already been agreed that 25% of the existing telescopes will be removed before TMT starts operating on Mauna Kea, which goes far beyond the idea of "swapping one out'. The first is already being dismantled.

      http://www.nature.com/news/hawaii-prunes-mauna-kea-telescope-hub-1.17688

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical

    Religion has been putting the kibosh on science since it started.

    Sacred my arse.

  22. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    I will found a new reglion....

    The goddess Knollij commands me to find out everything I can about the universe, at scales above my lowly self as well as below and also commands the relentlessly pursuit of the construction of machines exhibiting higher levels of intelligence. She also orders me to expand throughout space and time and exploit stuff at my heart's content as well as to fill the galaxy with life so that it eventually looks like a fucking punk industrial neon-lit night club from Andromeda. All other religions and gods are apostasy and need to be eventually assimilated by evangelical persuasion - or else! Parliaments, ecodudes and political bodies that stand in the way of Knollij shall be squashed like bugs and cleansed by fire. Otherwise, however, peace shall reign and no life, creature or system shall be harmed unless its opposition to Knollij is irredeemable.

    KNOLLIJIAN JIHAD SOON!

  23. Andrew Passano

    We are the fragile ones - definitely not the Earth

    Our planet has existed for billions of years before us and will continue on for billions more after. It has survived the genesis of the moon, massive impacts from asteroids and comets and multiple mass extinctions.

    While working on Kauai for several years at the Kokee tracking station I saw pictures of the island clear cut for the sandalwood trade. It looked very much like a WWI battlefield - mostly mud and devastation. By the time I arrived you would not have been able to guess such a catastrophe had ever occurred.

    Bigger and better telescopes will grant us a chance of detecting an approaching cataclysm with sufficient lead time to actually preserve some human life even if we can't forestall the impact. A glass belly button should be awarded to those who would risk global annihilation to preserve a place they seldom, if ever visit. The pristine environment at the top is about as close to that of Mars as you can get without actually going there. Many locals do go up the mountain to get a pickup truck load of snow for Christmas to take back down to Hilo. Will the "Snow Thieves" be the next targeted group?'

  24. Greg J Preece

    Oh hey, look at that, religion and superstition getting in the way of scientific progress. That's never happened before.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Motives

    How much money do they want to pacify the spirits?

    1. Herby Silver badge

      Re: Motives

      "How much money do they want to pacify the spirits?"

      Probably enough to meet the "green people's" budget needs for a year or so (or until they come up with another excuse to bribe a perfectly good project).

      1. nijam

        Re: Motives

        > ... another excuse to bribe a perfectly good project

        I think the word you need is "extort", not "bribe", but still a good point, the whole thing comes across as a protection racket, pure and simple.

  26. moonrakin

    Toxic idiot ecotwerps - and then some

    This has the paw prints of Deep Green Reistance all over it....... and if you want to see / read some exceptionally unhinged ecoloons spouting toxic gibberish - Google Deep Green Resistance + Hawaii for some truly epic toxic tosspottery.

  27. cray74

    Re: Bad Old Days

    BTW, while I may agree with good ecological worries, I can't really see how a telescope, not a nuclear plant, at 4000m in an arid environment (where there is usually close to no life) can be seen as a risk.

    Previous observatories on the peak have spilled mercury, hydraulic oil, and sewage into the ground, and there are some endemic, fragile species on the mountain top. The anti-telescope crowd is naturally making much of this.

    To address those prior mistakes, this telescope plans to include a drain system where all points lead to a 2500-gallon underground tank that will be emptied and carted away by truck. Amusingly - and you can see this in the comments in the last article The Register had on this legal debate - the anti-telescope groups have portrayed that telescope as "having a 2500-gallon tank of toxic chemicals," as if this was a dangerous feature rather than a vast improvement over other observatories on the peak.

    In addition, the observatories' light pollution requirements justify and help maintain a huge nature preserve that covers most of the mountain. There is substantial recovery of the native Hawai'ian ecology around the mountain (otherwise consumed by cattle ranches) because of this nature preserve.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad Old Days

      "Amusingly - and you can see this in the comments in the last article The Register had on this legal debate - the anti-telescope groups have portrayed that telescope as "having a 2500-gallon tank of toxic chemicals," as if this was a dangerous feature rather than a vast improvement over other observatories on the peak."

      Because in their minds, a tank just delays the inevitable. Now the toxic chemicals will have time to stew and react to each other before some seismic event (and remember what Mauna Kea is--a volcano, meaning Hawaii is in a seismically active area) causes the tank to fail and spill everything all at once instead of in a toxic trickle. The only thing they'll accept is a facility that doesn't produce toxic byproducts at all.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to get a few palms 'greased' in the time honoured way, with some 'filthy' lucre.

    Come to think of it,if memory serves me correctly,it's been done before with Hawai.

    If a South African judge can sentence a murderer of a yong woman to 6 months in a holiday camp then it must be even cheaper in Hawai,especially when all the 'neighbours' have the same thing in common.

    1. x 7

      "If a South African judge can sentence a murderer of a yong woman to 6 months in a holiday camp then it must be even cheaper in Hawai,especially when all the 'neighbours' have the same thing in common."

      I read that as you stating all Hawaiians living near the telescope like murdering young women. Is that what you meant?

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