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TMT consortium applies for Canary Islands building permit

The coming dark age: The consortium that wants to build the Thirty Meter Telescope has applied for a building permit to build the telescope in the Canary Islands, Spain, thus preparing to abandon their years-long effort to put the telescope in Hawaii.

Thirty Meter Telescope Executive Director Ed Stone said in a statement Monday that the group still wants to break ground on Mauna Kea, but they need to have a backup plan. “We continue to follow the process to allow for TMT to be constructed at the ‘plan B’ site in (Spain) should it not be possible to build in Hawaii,” Stone said. “Mauna Kea remains the preferred site.”

But Native Hawaiian activists say they will not budge until the project moves elsewhere. Protest leaders, who say they are not against science or astronomy, told The Associated Press that the Spain permit is a positive development, but it’s not enough for them to end their blockade of Mauna Kea’s access road, where more than 2,000 people have gathered at times. “There’s lots of good science to be done from the Canary Islands,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, who has helped organize the protest on Mauna Kea. It would “be a win for everyone.” [emphasis mine]

Do not expect the protests to end when TMT officially abandons Mauna Kea. I fully expect the protesters to increase their demands, calling for the closing of more telescopes on the mountain.

It appears that the United States is no longer ruled by law. The TMT consortium spent years following the law, negotiating deals with everyone, including local native Hawaiian religious groups, and finally obtained their permits, twice. This wasn’t good enough for the protesters and their leaders, who wish to rule by fiat and mob power. Those protesters have likely won, mostly because the Democratic Party that runs Hawaii is on their side.

It also appears that the United States is becoming a nation that no longer gives priority to obtaining new knowledge about the universe. If TMT moves to Spain, its loss will be somewhat equivalent to the Catholic Church’s attack on Galileo in Italy. That action in the 1600s essentially killed the Italian Renaissance, with the growth of the scientific method and new knowledge shifting to Great Britain and France, the wealth and prosperity that new knowledge brought going with that shift.

Posted from the airport on the way to Denver.


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  • Edward

    From the article: “Protest leaders, who say they are not against science or astronomy …

    They aren’t against science or astronomy, per se, they just don’t want it in their back yard. However, it is OK with them for the science to move to desecrate someone else’s mountain. They are perfectly happy to use the technologies that develop from science; they just don’t want to pay their fair share of the price to obtain these benefits.

    From the article: “‘I thought this could be a good thing for Hawaii if done the right way,’ [Mayor] Kim said. But the mayor also acknowledged that injustices against the Native Hawaiian community need to be addressed. ‘Part of the right way is a recognition of wrongs of past,’ he said.

    So, following the laws, regulations, and rules is not the right way, but someone must recognize some, most, or all of the “wrongs of past,” whatever than means. Do the astronomers have to do this recognition, or is this the responsibility of Hawaiian leadership, such as the mayor and governor? What specific wrongs must be recognized and what is the right way to recognize them? How are the right way to build this telescope to be followed if that right way is kept secret and is only revealed a little at a time?

    Why do I think that the mayor is as disingenuous as the governor and as BtB commenter Shannon Rudolph:

    I suspect that the only “right way” to do it is not to follow the law and court rulings, as the astronomers have done, but to recognize that, as Shannon said, “It’s time for TMT to throw in the towel.

    From the article: “But [protest organizer Kealoha Pisciotta] said there is no trust between the activists, who call themselves protectors of the mountain, and telescope officials.

    The untrustworthy ones are the “protectors.” They are the ones who try to rule by mob, not by laws. How trustworthy is a mob that ignores the law and the court’s rulings? All previous dealings with the mob have resulted in the mob negotiating in bad faith.

    How surprising that it is only now, in the 21st century, that the mountain has become sacred, but in the previous century science and astronomy were welcomed on the mountain. We certainly are moving back into a dark age.

  • David K

    Sounds like a good case for a bunch of commodity space based telescopes sent up on commercial rockets. It may not be clear the best way to do that today, but if this drags out for years, I suspect that there will be good options.

  • David K:

    It occurs to me that as the space-based economy and infrastructure grows, a lot of grievance-based political leverage is going to be bypassed. Assuming humanity wins the current horse race between gaining a solid foothold in space, and descending once again to barbarism, those groups are going to become more agitated as power slips away. They can have their mountain; we want the stars.

  • wayne

    Dawg, the hall way monitor
    South Park

  • Col Beausabre

    1) This puts to the lie, the Left’s claims that they are “Driven by the Science” when it comes to their policies (Climate Change, I’m looking at you). No it’s “We believe in science when it fits our political agenda”
    2) This isn’t about religion, belief, superstition, whatever you want to call it. It’s about power. The power to run (and ruin) other peoples’ lives, to make them live the way you want, not the way they want. The power to run your life they want it. George Orwell put it something like this, “Picture a booted foot smashing a human face. Forever”
    3) You’re on their list, they just haven’t gotten to you yet. Have the lessons of the Twentieth Century been forgotten so soon? Every time these sorts of people win, it’s never enough. They’ll be back for more. And eventually it’ll be your turn.
    4) The rule of law is dead in this country when the government sides with the violators of it and refuses to enforce what it’s own Supreme Court declares to be the law – twice
    5) The state government could have ended this on the first day by telling the protestors, “you can demonstrate over here all you want, but the minute you step beyond the limits and/or attempt to block construction, you WILL be arrested and jailed.” Then deploy the state police and start enforcing the law. That they did not demonstrates #4 above
    6) The TMT people should sue the state government for not enforcing the law. I think the “equal protection” clause would be grounds for such a suit. Of course, they won’t a) many of them are Leftists b) they hope if they play nice with the government, it will protect them. Fat chance
    7) The threat of the Canary Islands is classic negotiating strategy designed to bring the government to its senses. Do you really want to lose all those construction jobs, the income the TMT will bring in and all that nice juicy tax revenue
    8) This is an example of the Tragedy of the Commons and how the public discourse and democracy get highjacked. While most Hawaiians support the TMT, the support is like the Rio Grande River, “a mile wide and inch deep”. They have plenty else to worry about in their daily lives. Contrast this with the militants. This is the most important thing in their lives (until the next cause). The noisy minority scares The Powers That Be – they might influence my election! – and overpowers the majority.

  • wayne

    Col Beausabre
    -Most excellent.

    Jordan Peterson.
    “You don’t possess ideas, ideas possess you…”
    excerpted from University of Wisconsin 2017

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