On Gravitational Waves and GPS
On October 27, Brannon Kamahana Kealoha cross-examined Günter Hasinger, director of the University of Hawai`i’s Institute for Astronomy, for nearly two hours, covering a vast range of subjects. In addition to excerpts published in the December issue, we offer this discussion on the benefits of scientific research.
Brannon Kealoha: You speak of the Hubble telescope in your written testimony as well. And you say that, um, more about scientific publications being more in number because of the Mauna Kea telescopes. And you already stated earlier that it’s a result of the current telescopes that are up there now. What is the big deal about the most publications? Are you referring to quantity or quality?
Tim Lui-Kwan [counsel for the University of Hawai`i-Hilo]: Objection. Cumulative. Many of these questions have already been asked and answered previously regarding publications and the Hubble telescope.
Judge Amano: I agree.
Kealoha: Why is the number of publications some kind of presumed accolade? I don’t understand the justification.
Lui-Kwan: Same objection.
Amano: I’m going to allow the answer to this one.
Günther Hasinger: I’ve already said before that it is not the number of the publications but the quality and the discoveries. And the focus is the new knowledge that we generate. The number of publications is in principle a kind of record to the rest of the world who are not easily knowledgeable about the significance of the individual observations.
Kealoha: So each of those publications, do they proclaim some kind of undiscovered and newly discovered feature?
Hasinger: They have to, not just features but also new theories, new interpretations. It is all together.
Kealoha: So, more theories.
Hasinger: So, confirmation of theories, disproval of theories. It’s the scientific process. I think you cannot break it down into individual parcels.
Kealoha: This year alone, could you maybe name a couple of these publications that would have such a huge impact on the science world that I might not know about.
Hasinger: This year?
Kealoha: This last 12 months
Hasinger: The last 12 months. The discovery of gravitational waves, for instance.
Kealoha: How does that affect me?
Ian Sandison [attorney for the University of Hawai`i]: Objection. Argumentative. The witness could not possibly know how it would affect the cross examiner.
Amano: I sustain the objection.
Kealoha: How would it benefit people, that first discovery you listed?
Hasinger: I have already mentioned that the benefits will come and have come later. In this particular case it was the final confirmation of the Einstein theory of relativity, which was the basis of the GPS system. So now we know there is no other physics out there and that we don’t have to correct our understanding of the GPS system, for instance – which is in your iPhone.
Kealoha: And it’s a benefit because?
Sandison: Objection. Argumentative.
Amano: He just answered the question
Kealoha: I still don’t understand what I use it for and how it benefits me or anybody.
Amano: He just told you why. You’re talking about the articles, right? You asked him about —
Kealoha: I’m talking about publications.
Amano: — publications in the last 12 months, right?
Kealoha: And that one discovery he’s speaking of.
Amano: And how does that benefit people, right?
Amano: And he just explained why he thinks that –
Kealoha: What was that benefit again? I did not hear it.
Amano: The GPS in your phone
Kealoha: So I would not have GPS before 12 months ago, is that what you’re saying?
Amano: Now you’re arguing with him. He’s answered your question. You need –
Kealoha: So, let me get this straight, my GPS would not work –
Hasinger: Without the theory of relativity.
Kealoha: And this is discovered in the last 12 months?
Hasinger: This was the last coffin nail, so to speak, that proved the theory of relativity so we now know that forever your GPS will work.
Kealoha: Was it working before this discovery?
Hasinger: To a certain degree, yes.
Kealoha: Serious. It’s not a thing that makes sense to me.
Sandison: Objection. This is argument.
Kealoha: I think it’s very valid. If this is a benefit to me and I understand, or to people, then I understand what that benefit is. And he’s telling me that GPS would – what are you telling me?
Amano: Sir, you asked him a question and he’s now answered you. Why are you arguing with him?
Kealoha: Because I had GPS 13 months ago and 12 years ago–
Amano: He’s not saying you wouldn’t have it. You asked him about publications and an example of how it benefits people. He just gave you that. Whether you like your GPS or use it is not the issue
Kealoha: It doesn’t sound like a benefit when I can’t even understand it. I’ll move on. It seems like my GPS worked the same way 13 months ago as it did 12. Is that not true?
Amano: Sir, he’s already explained it. If you don’t understand it –
Kealoha: I think I understand perfectly that my GPS was working 13 months ago.
Amano: No, if you don’t understand his answer, then that’s a problem for you and I’m sorry but he –
Kealoha: Is that a benefit?
Amano: He’s already answered and you’re arguing with him, I’m going to ask you to move on, please.
Kealoha: How is that a benefit?
* * *
‘When You See Her for the First Time’
Mehana Kihoi, one of the telescope opponents admitted to the contested case proceeding, cross-examined celestial navigator Chad Kalepa Babayan.
Mehana Kihoi: Are you familiar with the song The Beauty of Mauna Kea, by Keola Beamer?
Chad Babayan: I believe so.
Kihoi: There’s a verse that says, “if I should be forgotten and a thousand miles away, still I would recall the beauty of Mauna Kea.” Are you familiar with that verse?
Babayan: Yes, I am.
Kihoi: So when you’re on your voyages and away at sea for days and weeks at a time, what do you look forward to seeing when you return home to Hawai`i island?
Babayan: I’ve sailed back from the South Pacific to Hawai`i five times and I always have expectations because it’s always been the same arrival for me, that I will see the summits of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa as I approach the island. So, that’s kind of like my beacon, but understanding that I use other visual clues to actually turn the canoe into the Big Island.
Kihoi: Okay. But she is one of the first things you see when you return home, that welcomes you home?
Babayan: Yeah, but I know where the island is.
Kihoi: Can you describe the feeling that you feel when you see her for the first time?
Babayan: Well. Yeah, there’s different roles and different perspectives. One is as a crew member and assistant to the principal navigator. And then there’s – the time that stands out in my mind is was the first time when I was the principal navigator and the responsibility for bringing that crew back to Hawai`i fell on my shoulders. I had already measured the Southern Cross to its height because I had studied at Ka Lae so I knew when I was passing by the southern boundary of the islands, and all I needed to do was turn the canoe downwind and let the wind blow me into the Big Island.
As we approached, we were moving really really slowly, not very quickly at all, and I went to the bow of the canoe. And I turned around. And all the crew was doing what they do, eating sardines and onions, playing cards, and having a conversation.
And I stood on the bow, and I was listening to All Hawai`i Stand Together. I had my headset on. And the horizon was cloudy. And in the middle of the verse, the clouds parted and I could see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and the saddle that connected the both of them. And I immediately turned around behind to tell the guys, ‘Eh, the island’s right here.’
As I turned around and I looked at ‘em, I said, ‘No, this is not for you guys. This is for me. This is my time. This is my time.’
And so I stood on the bow, I watched the island emerge, and then the clouds came and covered the island and hid it.
And that night, when we had the crew meeting, I told them, I told the crew, that the navigation was over, because I’ve already seen the island. All you need to do is steer the same course and the island is going to appear.
And as soon as the sun set, the lights of Hilo illuminated the island. I was lying down and resting. And I heard Nainoa tell the crew, that island is exactly where Kalepa said it would be. So, that’s the most powerful moment in my life as a navigator.
Kihoi: Was seeing Mauna Kea as you approached home.
Babayan: Seeing the Big Island, seeing Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and the saddle between—
Kihoi: Okay, mahalo. Thank you. And this feeling that you felt, as you approached home, was it a comforting feeling to see this mountain?
Babayan: It was a feeling of immense pride.
Kihoi: Pride and comfort. Was there like a mothering feeling?
Babayan: It was a welcoming feeling.
Kihoi: A welcoming feeling. Thank you.
Kihoi: Do you have a degree in astrology, Mr. Babayan?
Babayan: Astro – ?
Kihoi: A degree in astrology
Babayan: No, I don’t.
Kihoi: How did you obtain your knowledge of the stars?
Babayan: I studied on my own personal time and my own endeavors. I worked with collaborating navigators.
* * *
Mauna Kea and Standing Rock (Extended Version)
Clarence M. Kaho`okahi Kanuha, one of the leaders of the 2015 protests against the TMT, questioned navigator Chad Kalepa Babayan about the ways in which the proposed telescope might benefit native Hawaiians. His rapid speech caused many questions to have to be repeated.
C.M. Kaho`okahi Kanuha: In the history, I guess, of telescopes on Mauna Kea – and I’ll get to the TMT questions specifically, but – just in the history of telescopes being on top of Mauna Kea, what legitimate participation have Hawaiians had in this field of science other than the giving of their sacred mauna for desecration in the name of astronomy and giant telescopes?
[The court reporter asks him, not for the first time, to speak more slowly.]
Kanuha: What legitimate participation have Hawaiians had in this field of science through telescopes being on Mauna Kea other than the giving of their sacred mauna for desecration in the name of astronomy and giant telescopes?
Amano: The witness has requested that the court reporter read back the question. Go ahead, please.
Court reporter: In the history of telescopes on top of Mauna Kea what is the participation that Hawaiians have in this field of science other than the giving of this – he started again. What significant participation have Hawaiians had in this field of science through telescopes being on Mauna Kea other than the giving of their sacred mauna for desecration in the name of astronomy and giant telescopes?
Kanuha: Can I go ahead and say that again ‘cause that’s not what I have written on my paper?
Amano: I’m sorry?
Kanuha: That’s not exactly what I have written on my paper, so can I go ahead and try and say it one more time, ask the question one more time?
Amano: Yes, but if you can ask it slowly, then –
Kanuha: I’ll try my best, I’ll try my best, I know.
Amano: I know, I know you are. But we want to really be sure we get everything accurately.
Kanuha: Hiki no.
Amano: All right. Go ahead.
Kanuha: Okay. What legitimate participation have Hawaiians had in this field of science through telescopes being on Mauna Kea other than the giving of their sacred mauna for desecration in the name of astronomy and giant telescopes?
Babayan: The question is what legitimate –
Kanuha: Participation. Other than giving the mauna.
Babayan: Well, I know of an astronomer, Dr. Paul Coleman, who has conducted research, so that’s a Hawaiian contributing to the field of astronomy.
Kanuha: Are you aware of any other Hawaiians?
Babayan: No, I’m not.
Kanuha: So it’s fair to say that less than zero point zero zero zero one percent of the Hawaiian population has had direct participation in science on Mauna Kea since it began with telescopes.
Babayan: That’s not true.
Kanuha: You just know of that only one.
Babayan: Because participation in telescopes doesn’t require that someone directly be an observer. It means that they can process information, analyze the information, they can work as technicians. So I’m not exactly sure that that’s a true statement, that less than point zero zero zero one actually participates in the science of astronomy.
Kanuha: Should Hawaiian participation compromise and ultimately trump Hawaiian culture and practices?
Babayan: Absolutely not. They should be able to collaborate.
Kanuha: Are you aware of the historical events that took place on Mauna Kea between March and December of 2015?
Babayan: Yes, I was following it on the internet.
Kanuha: Can you just briefly explain what these events were?
Amano: Sorry, I didn’t hear that.
Kanuha: Sorry, Can you briefly explain what these events were?
Babayan: Well, it was just one event. It was a protest.
Kanuha: and that’s all you wish to say about it – it was a protest?
Babayan: My evaluation of it, it was a protest. I know that people were raising different issues within the context of a protest, but basically it was a protest.
Kanuha: Would you call these events a time of unity?
Babayan: I’m not sure it was a time of unity. I know that there was much discourse about the content of the protests.
Kanuha: Would you consider this point in time to be a reawakening, I guess, culturally, spiritually, for many Hawaiian people?
Babayan: I believe so
Kanuha: Can you recall a point in time in Hawaiian history where perhaps such a cultural awakening or spiritual reawakening took place?
Babayan: Oh, yes, I believe in the 1970s, there was a trifecta of events, historically, that garnered a lot of Hawaiian attention.
Kanuha: What were some of those events?
Babayan: Kaho`olawe. I was a young teen at that time. The initiative to protect and grow the Hawaiian language. Kalama Valley. And the Hokule`a.
Kanuha: Is it – would you say that you’ve been positively impacted by that time and those events?
Babayan: it shaped my awareness.
Kanuha: Would you agree it shaped the awareness of not just yourself and the Hawaiian community at large? I don’t mean every single person, but the Hawaiian community at large.
Babayan: In my `ohana, it created a large debate. My grandfather was a retired military, he was in charge of the National Guard and he was head of administration for the military reserve on Maui. So, I used to talk to him a lot about the need to bomb Kaho`olawe. Just to be clear, even though he was a military person, he was against the bombing of Kaho`olawe.
Kanuha: Mahalo. Do you believe that the events of March through December of 2015, maybe not – at this point in time, could we classify it as being similar to the events and having similar impacts to the impacts of events of 1970 that you refer to would have had or have had.
Babayan: This is a discussion. Let me say that it had tremendous impacts, not because it stopped TMT, but because it shook the confidence of the 13 other telescopes. That’s for me the real issue.
Again, like I said, it had in my opinion, it had a major impact not because of the fact that it stopped the TMT, but rather that it shook the confidence of the 13 other telescopes on the mountain.
Kanuha: Would you agree – and I apologize if this has been answered already – would you agree that the TMT issue, again, looking at the events between March and December 2015, created – okay, you’ve already stated that those events created a cultural and spiritual awakening of some kind.
Babayan: I agree.
Kanuha: Do you believe – and again, this spiritual and cultural awakening came about through the issue of building or not building TMT on Mauna Kea.
Babayan: It brought focus to the building of the TMT.
Kanuha: Do you – do you believe that the building of the TMT would have any impact on those who have opposing opinions and also those –
[The court reporter asks him to speak more slowly.]
Kanuha: Kala mai. Do you believe that the building of the TMT would impact those who have opposed the building of the TMT from the beginning as well as those who have been culturally and spiritually reawakened during that time. Do you believe they will be negatively impacted by the building of the TMT if indeed it is to be built?
Babayan: No, I don’t feel they will be negatively impacted.
Kanuha: Are you aware of the arrests that took place on Mauna Kea between March and December of 2015?
Babayan: Yes, I am.
Kanuha: And are you aware that these arrests occurred due to the fact that TMT and its affiliates were attempting to build on Mauna Kea?
Babayan: Yeah, I believe it’s a process of civil disobedience.
Kanuha: Do you believe that the building of the TMT on Mauna Kea is worth – and I won’t throw a number there because again that calls for speculation, I guess – so do you believe that the building of the TMT is worth many Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike getting arrested to protect their sacred mauna.
Babayan: I believe that people have to stand up for what they believe in. So I believe that if they are arrested, it’s part of the process.
Kanuha: Are you aware of the situation taking place in Standing Rock, North Dakota, at this time?
Pete Manaut [attorney for UH]: Objection. Irrelevant, your honor.
Amano: I’m going to overrule. Go ahead.
Kanuha: Are you aware of the situation –
Amano: But I’m going to ask you to kind of –
Kanuha: Slow down.
Amano: Slow down.
Kanuha: Kala mai.
Amano: But wind up. Slow down and wind up your questioning.
Kanuha: Are you aware of the events and the situation taking place as we speak at Standing Rock, North Dakota?
Babayan: Yes, I am aware of the protests –
Kanuha: Taking place there.
Babayan: — against building the pipeline on private land because it’s going to affect adjacent Indian lands and their waters.
Kanuha: Mahalo. Do you believe the building of the TMT is worth bringing a Standing Rock-like situation here to Hawai`i?
Babayan: Are you asking me to compare Standing Rock to TMT?
Kanuha: I’m just asking if building the TMT is worth bringing a situation like what’s taking place at Standing Rock to Hawai`i?
Babayan: I don’t know how to compare. Standing Rock is a separate issue.
Kanuha: Whatever you know of that’s taking place at Standing Rock at this point in time, is the building of TMT in Hawai`i worth bringing whatever knowledge it is that you have of that place and that situation here to Hawai`i?
Babayan: Yes, I think it is.
Kanuha: Think it is worth it. Do you think the people of Hawai`i will simply stand to the side because the BLNR grants a CDUP one more time?
Babayan: I believe there will be opposition to it, and I believe there will be proponents for it.
Kanuha: Do you believe all people have a right to determine for themselves their sacred sites?
Kanuha: Hawaiians included?
Babayan: Oh, absolutely.
Kanuha: Do you believe all people have a right to determine for themselves the treatment of their sacred sites?
Kanuha: Hawaiians included?
Kanuha: Do you believe Hawaiians have a right to protect their sacred sites from –
Court reporter: Slow down.
Kanuha: Do you believe Hawaiians have a right to protect their sacred sites from foreign multinational corporations who wish to desecrate it in exchange for corporate profit?
Babayan: I cannot answer that question. It calls for me to conclude that foreign national corporations are going to desecrate some place.
Kanuha: Do you believe Hawaiians have a right to protect their sacred sites?
Babayan: Yes, I do.
Kanuha: Do you believe that Hawaiians have a right to protect their sacred sites in the manner which they see fit?
Kanuha: Okay, last question. Would the TMT, if built, finally be able to locate a treaty of annexation legally and lawfully ceding the kingdom of Hawai`i to the United States of America?
Amano: Could you repeat the question please, slowly?
Kanuha: I’m all pau. Mahalo.
[laughter and applause in the hearing room]
Amano: I’m going to request that we keep this down to a civil proceeding. I have been hearing comments, during questions. This is not a circus, folks. We’re trying to give respect to everybody. I’m going to ask that that please be in place. I’m directing my attention particularly to the observers.
* * *
‘Every Pohaku … Is My `Ohana’
On November 16, Cindy Freitas cross-examined Robert McLaren, associate director of the University of Hawai`i Institute for Astronomy. McLaren testified on the university’s general plans for decommissioning telescopes.
Cindy Freitas: If the TMT is not permitted would the UH be free to propose a new facility at a later time?
Judge Amano: Your question is –
Freitas: Would the UH be free to propose a new facility at a later time?
Robert McLaren: Yes
Freitas: Thank you. Exhibit A 13, page 25, pdf file 33 [sic]
McLaren: A 13, page 35.
Freitas: Yes. Oh, page 25, sorry. “In the complete infrastructure removal – sentence, the second sentence — questions to consider related to – questions to consider relating to filling this holes – hold on, filling this holes includes – includes what type of material and where would it come from and will it be stable.” Is that correct?
McLaren: Yes, um-hm, yes.
Freitas: The material. which is my kupuna, every pohaku [stone] that is on earth is my kupuna. The proposed site of TMT, will it leave the mountain down somewhere else, the material that you unearth, which is my kupuna, every rock unturned up there, is it going to be trucked down somewhere else?
McLaren: I’m not – some of it will be removed. But not off the mountain.
Freitas: So isn’t it true to say, question in this second sentence, questions to consider relating to filling the holes that you unearth up there of my kupuna, including the type of material, it will – where would it come from and will it be stable?
McLaren: I don’t know at that level of detail.
Freitas: OK, don’t know. So, the proposed TMT site, you going to unearth 6,000 square foot underground to put in three 5,000 tanks, of water, tank wastewater, tank hazardous, tank material, and two 25,000 tanks of free suppression waterline for fire. Is that correct?
McLaren: I can’t – I don’t know that part. If you’re reading from a document –
* * *
‘Who Do You Work For?’
The following exchange occurred during the cross-examination of Perry White by William Freitas on October 20:
William Freitas: I don’t want to be too repetitive, but for my own foundation … who hired you to do this conservation district use permit?
Perry White: The Carlsmith law firm. The University of Hawai`i was the ultimate client.
Freitas: How long did it take this CDUP to be completed?
White: The CDUP isn’t completed. The application took several months.
Freitas: Isn’t this about the CDUP?
White: We prepared the application. I’m testifying as to the application. The permit is something the board will issue. We requested it through a permit application.
Freitas: Did you get compensated for this work you done?
White: … Yes.
Freitas: Do you work for them still?
White: I work for Planning Solutions, yes.
Freitas: Do you work for Carlsmith, the one who hired you?
White: I work for Planning Solutions.
Freitas: Is that your company?
White: It was at one time.
Freitas: Do you work for Carlsmith, yes or no?
White: I don’t work for Carlsmith, I work for Planning Solutions.
Freitas: Carlsmith hired you, but you don’t work for Carlsmith?
White: Carlsmisth hired Planning Solutions, Carlsmith did not hire me.
Freitas: You’re the author of this CDUP.
White: Yes, I was working for Planning Solutions at the time I prepared this CDUA.
Freitas: C-D-U-A. And you don’t work for them now.
White: I still work for Planning Solutions.
Freitas: I don’t know if I’m getting confused, but I just wanna know. You’re Planning Solutions. You don’t work for them anymore.
White: I am Perry White. I work for a company called Planning Solutions. Planning Solutions works for Carlsmith and the University.
Ian Sandison [attorney for the University of Hawai`i]: Objection, repetitive.
Judge Amano: Can we move on?
Freitas: I just wanted to get that clear, if he still works for them.
Amano: He still works for Planning Solutions.
Freitas: So that’s a yes, right?
— Patricia Tummons