Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What Science Has Done for Hawaii

With the current debate about the Thirty Meter Telescope raging on in and out of the real and digital world, a coworker and myself sat down to refute a sign that he saw located at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  Located near the library is a sign that simply reads: "What has science done for Hawaii?"

This has to be one of the most infuriating statements made during this debate about the telescope.  While I realize that people are entitled to their own opinions about the placement of the new telescope, the only reason that we have such a high standard of living in this state is due to the impact of science.

Odds are, many people reading this list are only alive today thanks to the impact of science on their lives. Did you ever catch a cold? Take antibiotics? Have blood-sugar issues? Etc. Science has quite literally saved you.

I realize that not all of the protestors are against science, but we have to drop this black and white polar-opposite bullshit. You can be for the telescope and still respect Hawaiian history just as much as you can be for Hawaiian history and still love science and exploration.  The world is full of grey areas and we are sliding back to a time where we have to choose sides. This is beyond rediculuous. 

We may never live to see a time where the knowledge that we learn from such an impressive scientific instrument as the Thirty Meter Telescope is useful to our everyday lives, but how dare we not think of our children and advance science for them?

All this being said, my coworker and I sat down and came up with a quick list of what science has done for Hawaii. In no order of importance, here goes:

Diabetes Medication
Hanson's Disease - Cured
Birth Control
Better Agricultural Methods
Electricity
Plumbing
Sailing Technology
Nails
Sewer Systems
Architecture
Epidemiology
Subsidized Healthcare
Tsunami Warning Programs
Volcanology
Earthquake Safety Measures
Animal-transferred disease control
Sterilization - milk
Sterilization - medical (surgery/hospital)
Refrigeration
Travel/transit
End of life care
Cancer treatments
Internet
Lowered infant mortality rates
STI prevention and treatment
Engines and Generators
Alternative Energy
Buoys and Water Systems
Water treatment plants
Desalinization
Firefighting
Polio - Cured
Vaccines
Crop Rotation
Trash Incinerators
Bio-diesel
Weather Reports
Weather Proofing and Rust Proofing
Endangered Species Act
Diet Diversification
Telecommunications
Wire Transfers
Employment
Geology
Invasive Species Control
Hot Water
Soap
Dentistry
Mixed fabrics
Genetic Diversity 
Gunpowder
Literacy and Education
Environmental Protection
Economic Diversity
Radar and Sonar
Global Positioning System
Cartography
Printing 
Social Media
Television
Theater and Diversified Entertainment

Feel free to let me know if I missed something.

There are plenty of places on this earth and in the pacific in particular where the light of science has not reached. Visit one of those places, see how people live. I for one am quite glad that I have many things on the list from above. 

For all of you out there who are protesting the telescope, please find better arguments than the aformentioned "what has science done for hawaii" method. The only reason that the protest has gained any support outside of Hilo is soley due to science, and the only reason that many people will live to tell their grandkids about the time they protested to protect what they held dear is due solely to science.

Don't mistake your enemy, because you will lose support because of rediculuous claims. You don't want to be labeled as just anti-science protestors and thus dismissed as anti-establishment disenfranchised wash-outs of the system.