China will displace 9,000 villagers to build $184 million telescope for alien life search

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I have mixed feelings about this.

Will the displaced persons be considered aliens displaced by possible aliens?

Or am I just having too much fun with these words right now?

Latter. :wink:


Paging Liu Cixin…


Sorry, but this has nothing to do with detecting extraterrestrial life. That pursuit rests within the scope of deep space telescopes. This is about keeping up the frenetic pace of unnecessary construction that lines the pockets of Party-connected development barons, maintains the facade of an impossible level of economic growth, and postures towards the rest of the world. This telescope isn’t a bigger better SETI. It’s pointed squarely at Earth so the oligarchs running China can display their economic might.


In other news: using the demeaning and belittling word “villagers” makes scientists feel better about stealing homes from 9,000 people.


First, you have a creative definition of scientist. Second, perhaps you’ve never been to the rural areas of southern China, but village is most definitely as accurate as it would be in rural Scotland or France. I suppose the NYT and Xeni could say 乡村 instead, but I suspect this would be lost of most readers. Third, what the hell is wrong with living in a village?



Arecibo is at 67 degrees west. Guizhou is about 106 degrees east. Very nearly 180 degrees apart. They would be nearly on opposite sides of the earth. Except that Arecibo is 18 degrees north and Guizhou at 26 degrees north. If only it had been on North Cape in Western Australia …


They will not find any aliens. I do hope the villagers are treated well, but that’s not what China is famous for, is it?


One is reminded of the National Radio Quiet Zone in the US.

Not unlike western funding models of most/all major academic endeavours then?

But there are, just as in western models, some long-range thinkers involved from the basis of academic advancement. So I’ll take the investment in a tremendous radio telescope over many other options for investment dollars/yuan.

Also, ground based radio telescopes do collect data for the SETI project, don’t they? Maybe this one will or won’t or will collect data that could be used thus but only for the NAOC’s use or not, but whatever the telescope does, astronomical knowledge will be advanced by it.

I agree there’s nothing wrong with villagers, and will add that they get displaced for far shittier pursuits no matter the base funding.


I feel ya, dog. But the term “villager” has a belittling implication, as if they are running around in loincloths and worshipping chunks of blue ice that fell from the sky from jet latrines. Now, if they called them Village People, then YMCA, ya know?

I’m sure this construction serves many scientific, social and economic purposes, because that’s the only way to get this kind of thing done. You can’t build vast infrastructure without teamwork.

It’s worth mentioning that China has been willing to displace more people than this for political reasons, without creating valuable scientific instruments, so they’ve got considerable experience with doing it, and they’ve got splendid* empty cities, waiting for the displaced.


* if you like cities, that is. I think cities are vile and dehumanizing, and that calling someone an urbanite has a belittling implication - as if they are running around in loincloths worshiping chunks of blue ice that fell from the sky from jet latrines. (mad props to @awjt for that).


LOL. Gee, they displaced 1.3 MILLION building the 3 Gorges Dam, and in the last 100 years MILLIONS have died from various communist purges and “reforms”, not not mention the millions aborted due to the 1 child policy.

This is like bitching the Gestapo gave someone a parking ticket.


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Ok, sore subject for me. Very many poor people are displaced daily in America for economical and political reasons. I am being currently, and have been, displaced for both. I, and all my neighbors in my building were just told two weeks ago we will have to leave, because our building is being purchased with federal money to turn into housing for disabled vets. This means I will also have to leave the neighborhood in which I’ve lived for 20 years, since over that time, the neighborhood became trendy, all the minorities and creatives that made the neighborhood interesting to begin with were displaced by absurd rent hikes, and now rentals are only for the wealthy who want to live in a curated environment of trendy restaurants and stilted breweries. I would waaay rather have to leave my home for a telescope than because a bunch of rich (mostly) white brats priced me out. The fact that someone finds this post noteworthy tells me more about them and their experience in America than it does about some relatively minor injustice in China that happens just as much here, for asinine reasons. Hey, at least they get a consolation check.


So you’re upset with the housing for disabled vets? Or the people who are building said housing? Or the people who moved into that area, purchased homes, and invested in them?

I’d ask if you’re disappointed with BB, but I already know the answer.

乡村人 (农村人, I’m still trying to figure out the difference in meaning) might actually be more belittling than the English word “villager”.

It makes sense: in the West, in “old” industrialized countries, the difference between city people and country people is smaller. All their life, “villagers” have had access to the same modern convenience as people in the city. China’s villages have not yet “caught up” to China’s cities.

An anectode: My grandmother (Austrian, not Chinese) told me that “back when she was young”, she (city person) was able to recognize country folk by their faces when they came to the city. She claimed that they shared a certain “country bumpkin” expression on their face. She also said that this distinction disappeared during her lifetime.


Red Coast 3 is coming along nicely.

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“With land in your hand, you’ll be happy on earth; then invest in the Church for your heaven…”

Get 'em Out by Friday!

(If this post seems callous, I apologize; I am very sympathetic to your situation and I think Peter Gabriel probably is too).

@zathras, I can tell city people from country people by their bOINGbOING posts. :wink:

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