There are two types of stories about major astronomical observatories. There are stories about new discoveries and observation technologies and then there are stories about how batshit crazy people are! Lately a rash of batshit crazy has broken out over the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. The ignorant press is casting the story as another tale of wanton destruction of sacred pristine aboriginal environments by “big astronomy.” On most days I ignore the moron maelstrom but I’m in bad mood today. I couldn’t resist venting on The Register. The following is a slightly edited version of my contribution to the conversation bitches!
Trigger Warning: searing contempt for tools and fools!
You are making way too much sense. As a long-standing amateur astronomer and aficionado of major observatories I can state with absolute certainty that if you want to preserve the environment around a mountain one of the best ways to do it is to place a major observatory on it. Large telescopes require large dark zones. If people would turn their damn lights off at night development in dark zones might be permissible but as you are well aware people will not turn their fucking lights off and will look at you like you’ve just beamed down from starship Looney Tunes if you try to tell them that light pollution is a real thing. The only way to insure a dark environment is to restrict development and, as you point out, that limits how much money certain cretins can extract. What’s happening on Mauna Kea happened before on Mount Graham in Arizona. So called environmentalists fought for decades to block the Large Binocular Telescope because it might stress some squirrels. Well the scope got built and the squirrels are doing just fine and will continue to thrive because their habitat will not be sodomized by condo developers and other invasive lower life forms.
Mixed in with all this phony eco-warrior nonsense is even more phony religious nonsense. I realize it is horribly judgmental and privileged white male of me to say that sky fairies of all types, even “protected class” aboriginal brown people sky fairies, are complete and utter rubbish! Jesus did not rise from the dead, Mohammed did not ascend to heaven, and Pele is not stomping around on Mauna Kea regardless of what native Hawaiians believe. If this offends you demonstrate why your sky fairy is any less imaginary than The Flying Spaghetti Monster. “Belief” is a bullshit word. It will be a pathetic day if the construction of a major 21st century observatory is stopped to placate scientific illiterates and religious primitives.