Thirty Meter Telescope: The Poll

Aaron Stene wrote a piece yesterday on his blog about the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

This morning, he asked if I would run a poll on my blog.

I don’t have as much vested interest in this as he does.  I pretty much am divided on a few issues.

So here is the Poll and you can only vote once:

[polldaddy poll=”899229″]

2 Responses

  1. Mahalo Damon for posting this poll, it is very much appreciated.

  2. I think few people understand what a positive force astronomy is on this island. It is the least polluting major economic activity (less polluting than tourism and most forms of agriculture) and has a tiny physical footprint on the island. It brings huge amounts of other taxpayer’s money to be spent right here. Some jobs go to locals. Sure, many are filled by scientists and high-tech experts from around the world, but they tend to be socially aware people – they love the mountain, they recycle, they don’t rip their land, they contribute to the community, they support local produce and businesses, they buy fuel-efficient cars, they have disposable income to spend in local restaurants. And you know, it’s not like they are building bombs up there – they are furthering human knowledge in a completely non-profit way.

    Like the digital camera you have in your house, telescopes become obsolete. If you allowed no new telescopes to be built, the funding will decline rapidly as better facilities are built elsewhere.

    Now I am sympathetic to some of the objections coming from Native Hawaiians, but I am also confused as to their essence. There was a letter in the paper that simultaneously complained about the presence of the telescopes being desecration, and also complaining about the amount of money UH does not give to the Hawaiians. Surely if it is desecration, it is wrong at any price? And also, if it is desecration, how come every facility is blessed by Hawaiian priests?

    I hear the most incredible rumors. That astronomers want to bar Hawaiians from going up to worship (wrong, astronomers welcome anybody who doesn’t shine bright lights at night; it is the Sierra Club that wishes to the number of people with access to the mountain). That the TMT is backed by the military (wrong, though there is another telescope project that is partly funded by the Air Force, the asteroid hunter project Pan-Starrs). That astronomy takes away money and/or local jobs (wrong, exactly the opposite). That telescopes threaten the wekiu bug (this has not been shown).

    That’s not to say that UH has not handled things badly. They have lost the respect of both the locals and the telescopes – an impressive feat.

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