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Richard Ha
malihini

USA
86 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  19:50:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What If We All Benefit From the TMT?

The world is changing and we must start thinking about changing, too, because we are vulnerable out here on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Demand on the world oil supply is increasingly outstripping supply, and prices continue to go up. Here in Hawai‘i, tourism – the economic backbone of our state – is starting to decline because of it, and may never recover.

It’s not about us anymore. What about our children, and the generations after that? What will they do? Are we wise enough to start laying groundwork for future generations, so they will be able to live sustainable lives here?

There was just an article about the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) board evaluating Mauna Kea as a possible site. There is always controversy over development on the mountain – but what if, this time, we on the Big Island substantially benefited from it? What if we were able to use this opportunity to prepare ourselves, and our children, for the future?

On my blog at www.hamakuasprings.com, I’ve written extensively about how this project, unlike previous telescopes, is being discussed. I’m on the board of the Hawai‘i Island Economic Development Board, and we’ve made it clear that this can only happen if, unlike with previous telescopes, our people clearly benefit from it. Some of the benefits being very seriously discussed:

• What if the TMT coming here meant disadvantaged Hawaiian (and other race) students can attend Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo for free?

• What if we develop a pathway for local people to fill jobs during the extensive construction and operating of the telescope?

• What if we collect all the funds attributable to astronomy and have that money administered by a group of wise people who are chosen specifically to allocate it to the education of this island’s keiki?

• And what if these credible people fund education programs about the Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian language, and about traditional ways of sustainability, the sciences, job skills and other subjects that prepare our children for a new world where we, living on the island of Hawai‘i, might have to survive on what exists here on our island?

• And what if this organization exists far into the future and benefits many generations to come?

What if, not at the summit though on Mauna Kea, the world’s finest and most powerful telescope looks back in time to the beginning, seeking the answer to the question, “Are we alone?”…

…While on the ground, the people have learned how to restore the ancient fishponds, and are supplementing that with modern aquaculture methods that don't require oil? And the people on the island’s windward side are using their abundant water to again grow kalo, and growing food with hydroponics, and as in pre-Western times they are able to feed everybody without depending on foreign oil?

It would be the best of the future and the best of the past. What if?

--------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a very important issue that will affect your children and their childrens children. Go here to comment and make your feelings known. http://www.tmt-hawaiieis.org/participate/.







Edited by - Richard Ha on 09/25/2008 21:27:00

Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  20:11:11  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This Report says "Space exploration key to mankind's survival: NASA chief"

I asked Andrew Cooper why telescopes should be on Mauna Kea where it's not on the Equator and Honolulu City lights might harm night time readings...this was his reponse:

Astronomers rate observing conditions based on several criteria, Mauna Kea scores well on all of them. I have observed from some of the “best” and MK is certainly near the top of the list, if not the top.

Light pollution is only one rating, here MK scores very well, the presence of badly light polluted Honolulu 300 miles away is negligible in its impact. Light pollution needs atmospheric aerosols to reflect on, not a problem it if the air is very clean. This is true of the high altitude air over MK, another place where the very high altitude helps.

Astronomers call the cleanliness of the air “Transparency”, or how clean the air is and how much light is absorbed by crud or vapor in the air. Hazy or dusty places are poor for transparency and our view of distant stars and galaxies is dimmed.

“Seeing” is another rating, here Mauna Kea scores as well or better than anyplace in the world. As light passes through the air it can be distorted or bent, this distorts the image formed in the telescope and can affect small or large telescopes. Turbulent air of different temperatures is the primary culprit here. Ever look across a hot road in the sun and see the shimmer of distorted light? A high, isolated mountain peak is the best situation here, the undisturbed air moves smoothly past with little turbulence.

A position on the equator does not help all that much, moving the telescope north or south just changes what parts of the sky can be seen. There are no world class sites located on the equator that I am aware of. If you want to move south to see southern skies, you lose a good view of the northern skies. While there are a number of interesting things in the south such as the Megallanic Clouds (two nearby dwarf galaxies) by moving south you lose visibility of M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) and M33 (Triangulum Galaxy), the two other members of our local group of galaxies and the best nearby large galaxies. As long as the telescope is situated sufficiently south, and Hawai’i is, you have good access to the core of our own galaxy towards Sagittarius.

There are other advantages, but those are the top of the list.

Andrew


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Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  21:48:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Question for Richard...

If you respect the Cultural and "Religious" aspects of the GMO issue with Taro as you said earlier on Punaweb...

Do you not respect the same cultural and religious implications of Mauna Kea upon the Hawaiian People? I think you know that many Hawaiians don't give a rip about money...or education for that matter.

I'm still up in the air on this project... I don't see it helping the islands as much as others may. I have been keeping up with your blog and I appreciate you keeping us informed of your direct work with the TMT Big Wigs.

I did find it interesting that a few of our candidates didn't even know what the TMT project was until I asked them whether they were for or against it at a forum down in Kalapana.

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Edited by - Damon on 09/25/2008 21:49:58
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Richard Ha
malihini

USA
86 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  22:47:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Damon:

I arranged for some of the Kanaka council to meet with Dr Henry Yang, the president of /the Thirty Meter telescope several weeks ago.

The people on the Kanaka council were very eloquent. They made clear that if the total benefit to the community was the discovery of stars etc. then it could just as easily be seen from Chile. And, they would be happy if the TMT just went to Chile.


The were emphatic in their feeling that the benefits of the TMT must extend to future generations or it would be irrelevant. They said that they could not live with themselves if this was not the case.
I just sat their listening to them. And, I realized that what they were saying is exactly what I belived in. If the benefits do not extend to future generations then it does not need to be located on Mauna Kea.

I talk to Dr Yang quite often and I find him to be a people person. He realizes that the issues that are most important are 90% people issues and 10% astronomy issues. This is quite different from previous leaders of telescope projects.

For me, Dr Yang is someone who I can do business with with a handshake. We all know how that works. And, we know that whether or not this project works the right way depends on the leaders vision. Dr Yang is a leader that I can depend on to do the right thing.

Right now negotiations are going on about decommissisioning telescopes. It is not easy. But, everyone knows that telescopes must come down. Or, there must be some sort of plan to show how the decommissioning will take place--even if it takes many years.

We are forming a way for benefits to flow into a fund from astronomy and other sources that is transparent and accountable to the people.
And, we are working on the mechanism where by we choose people respected in the community to direct where the money is spent for education.

We want to insure that funds are placed into this fund annually so there is a secure source of funding for education.

There is a lot going on in the background. But, these things take strong leadership so that the end result is what we want it to be. If I was not convinced that the outcome was going to be beneficial to our community--for future generations, I would not be involved. Certainly it is not because I want to sell more tomatoes.

And, this process must be done right. Following the process is the only way that people will trust the results. I am determiend to see that it is done right.

I suggested that the scoping take place within the communities, with community leaders welcoming people to testify. For Keaukaha it's Patrick Kahawaiiola'a; for Puna it's Kale Gumapac. This is the local style. The question came up should we have security. I said flat-No!!
When you are a guest in the community you show respect!!

But, the bottom line is there must be a commitment to fund education for the keiki of Hawaii. And, the effects must benefit our keiki far into the future. It is not about us anymore--it is about the future generation. If it were not for this commitment--I would not back the TMT.










Edited by - Richard Ha on 09/26/2008 05:49:09
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Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  22:53:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Ha


...For me, Dr Yang is someone who I can do business with with a handshake. We all know how that works. And, we know that whether or not this project works the right way depends on the leaders vision. Dr Yang is a leader that I can depend on to do the right thing...



You know I respect and trust everything you do for our islands.

I hope Dr. Yang isn't smooth talking you... I don't know him, but I know that he has financial motivations to get this thing up and running here in Hawaii.

*edit* Richard...as you know... I need to quit posting so much here on Punaweb due to the limits.

I have continued this on my blog where I posted a small jab at you

I truly wish we could go back and forth on this important message here on Punaweb...however with the 5 post limit... I think me and you would be talking all day on this!

Look forward to Malama Aina!

You have one of the best blogs in the state... so if you feel like it... we can just take it to the blog world... I'm sure you get more then the 400 - 500 hits I get. I know this could and should be an important issue here on Punaweb... but between the two of us... we could just sit here and go back and forth on certain issues all day.

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Edited by - Damon on 09/26/2008 00:13:20
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