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Seismologists Tried For Manslaughter For Not Predicting Earthquake 154

Posted by Roblimo
from the next-time-the-scientists-might-not-say-anything-at-all dept.
mcgrew writes "From LiveScience: 'Earthquake prediction can be a grave, and faulty science, and in the case of Italian seismologists who are being tried for the manslaughter of the people who died in the 2009 L'Aquila quake, it can have legal consequences.' A group of seven, including six seismologists and a government official, reportedly didn't alert the public ahead of time of the risk of the L'Aquila earthquake, which occurred on April 6 of that year, killing around 300 people, according to the US Geological Survey."
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Seismologists Tried For Manslaughter For Not Predicting Earthquake

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  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday May 27, 2011 @12:35PM (#36264386)

    Except if you actually found out what really happened:

    Following a committee meeting just a week before the quake, some members of the group assured the public that they were in no danger.

    Providing such a strong affirmative statement that they were in no danger, despite the fact that it was probably a sincere statement, was not a correct thing to say and they should have realized that if something did happen it was going to open them up to issues. It's like the inspector for a bridge telling people that they are in no danger driving over it yet it collapses days later. Shouldn't they be held responsible for their statements turning out to be untrue?

  • Re:Who can we sue? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday May 27, 2011 @12:37PM (#36264416)

    Yes but members of the committee specifically said that the people were "in no danger". That's a rather bold statement to make and I see no reason why they shouldn't be held accountable for it. It's no different from a drug company telling people a drug is safe that isn't or a bridge inspector telling people a bridge is safe and it collapses days later.

  • Psychics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Friday May 27, 2011 @12:55PM (#36264642)
    This is my idea for Psychics: whenever some sort of disaster happens and a Psychic comes along claiming to have predicted it, unless he can produce any evidence showing that he tried to warn people beforehand with specific warnings, he should be thrown into prison as responsible for those lives.
  • Re:More Details (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pk001i (649678) on Friday May 27, 2011 @05:05PM (#36267466)

    Actually the earthquake was predicted

    If by predicted an earthquake, you mean he predicted the wrong time and the wrong place, then yes, he predicted an earthquake. And this is not the first time he has predicted an earthquake, this is just the first time his prediction was within a week of an earthquake actually occurring.

    Giuliani uses radon as a measure of earths movement, and tries to use increased radon levels as a sign of an impending earthquake. This method has never been found to predict earthquakes, but even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

    Scientists respond... [reuters.com]

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