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Comment Not like the other ELTs. (Score 1) 105

GMT's approach of using a small number of very large round mirrors, instead of a large number of small hexagonal ones, is very different from the path chosen by E-ELT and TMT (and GTC, and SALT, and HET, and Keck I and II)... in fact, other than possibly the original design of the MMT, I'm unsure whether anyone's done this before. (And of course the original design of the MMT was chosen because nobody knew how to make a 6.5-meter mirror at that point in time.) It will be very interesting to see how well it works, particular in comparison to the (by now well-established) practice of using lots of small hexagons.

Comment Extreme views on all sides. (Score 1) 286

Congratulations, fellow Slashdotters, for (predictably?) hewing to the opposite end of the spectrum from the people in the articles.

If their side says, "Hawaiian culture and spirituality is of paramount importance, your science has no place on our sacred mountain," calling them extreme and then saying that science is of paramount importance and their culture and spirituality should be given no weight whatsoever... doesn't make you look like the good guys. In fact, it only gives them more evidence that supporters of science are every bit as extreme and closed-minded.

I work full-time at a big telescope on Maunakea, and have a further part-time job using one of the smaller telescopes on Maunakea, as well as other jobs outside astronomy. I go to Maunakea in person, and interact with TMT's opponents in person. The situation is a lot more nuanced to me than a bunch of Internet Tough Guys could hope to begin to understand, but I just wanted to let you know that no, you're actually not helping.

Comment Re:I read some of the comments to her (Score 1) 467

Are you comfortable with angry people walking around with no money, nothing to do, and completely desperate?

Well, we have that already, yes? Except now, when you see some bum panhandling, there's so much uncertainty over whether he wound up there because he was a jerk, or because of circumstances beyond his control.

Comment Reasonably prepared in Hawaii (Score 1) 191

I live on an active volcano (Mauna Loa), work on a dormant volcano (Mauna Kea) and am maybe 20 miles from a town (Pahoa) that might be in the crosshairs of an even more active, currently erupting volcano (Kilauea) right now. We have earthquakes all the time; I rarely even notice anything under a magnitude 4 to 5. Oh, and we also get hurricanes like AC mentioned, and tsunamis, and of course the sharks and poisonous sea urchins... Kinda funny, having grown up back on the east coast, where people will freak out over the smallest tremor. Someday I'll move back there and be all serene because nothing will seem exciting.

Comment Re:pfft, 3.5% overrun (Score 1) 132

if the 400 million is really the only overrun that's an astonishing record for the federal goverment

This. Compared to the James Webb Space Telescope - a ten-year, $500 million project that has turned into a 21-year, $8.8 billion project so far, that's chickenscratch.

(But I still want them to finish JWST and launch it.)

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The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of space and time. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge