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Crime Science

Seismologists Tried For Manslaughter For Not Predicting Earthquake 154

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 killfixx ( 148785 ) * on Friday May 27, 2011 @12:24PM (#36264256) Journal

    Shenanigans!! Double shenanigans!

    This is why I hate gambling!

    What is the penalty if they had erred on the side of caution and had been wrong? Loss of job? Loss of reputation?

    It would have cost millions to plan, evacuate, etc...

    Holding people liable for an act of nature is a dangerous precedent.


  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @01:02PM (#36264712)

    Or we could skip all of your crappy options and picked the one that a proper scientist would say in a case where they don't know for sure either way: "we don't know" but told people to be alert in case something did happen.

  • Re:More Details (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Savantissimo ( 893682 ) on Friday May 27, 2011 @01:26PM (#36265026) Journal

    Actually the earthquake was predicted and the warnings were ignored. Italy 'Dismissed Expert's Quake Warning [] Sky News / 9:06pm UK, Monday April 06, 2009 / Nick Pisa in Rome :

    Seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani had warned "a big one" was on the way and even toured the region in a van with loudspeakers warning people, as late as last week.

    But he was reported to the police by authorities for "needlessly spreading panic" and also dismissed by L'Aquila's mayor and other civic officials.

    Dr Giuliani based his theory on increasingly high levels of radon gas that had been noted in the area and even posted his findings on his website.

    However, he was forced to take them down and the site has not been working.

    Dr Giuliani, who works at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at nearby Gran Sasso, said: "There are people who need to apologise to me. These people will have these deaths on their conscience."

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton