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In his effort to appease the protesters hostile to building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s Democratic governor has thrown out the decades-old agreement that had guided telescope construction there and has instead imposed a new deal, which will allow for TMT but will force astronomers to remove one quarter of the other telescopes on the mountain.
Astronomers have always honored the original agreement, allowing the construction of no more than 13 telescopes on the mountain. For example, to build TMT the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory was to be removed this year. Now they will have to remove some additional telescopes that had been built with the understanding that they could remain there, based on the original agreement.
The governor’s plan will also limit access to the mountain by non-natives, and require visitors to receive “cultural training”, likely a session explaining the sacredness of the native religion and how it must be obeyed at all times.
To my mind this new deal is another indication of the slow retreat of western civilization in the U.S. Once again our ability to push the unknown will be limited in favor of fostering the superiority of one ethnic group over another.