Thursday, October 20, 2011

Scientists Being Tried for What?

In L'aquila, Italy, six seismologists and a government official are being tried in court for manslaughter from failing to predict and warn the city of an earthquake in 2009.  (What the fuck did I just read?!)  In case you don't know, NOBODY can exactly predict earthquakes in a scientific way.  (there is one instance but that is for another day).  The earthquake in dispute here is the earthquake of 2009, where a 6.3 magnitude earthquake killed more than 300 people and caused millions of dollars in damage.  Here is a picture of some of the damage.
There was one factor that might have contributed to this situation.  Leading up to the big earthquake there were a lot of very small ones.  Much more than usual.  A local man who was not a scientist started predicting a big earthquake using techniques that are not exactly scientific.  His predictions of a big earthquake began to make the town grow very impatient and almost into a panic. So the government sent a bunch of seismologists to the area to predict more accurately when the quake would happen.  And of course, since earthquakes are not predictable they couldn't tell when it would happen.
These scientist are basically being charged for not warning the city that it was going to happen eventhough there is no way to tell when an earthquake will happen.  Each scientist faces up to 12 years in prison.  This is absolutely fucking ridiculous.  They should prosecute the local fortune tellers for not warning locals of bad things either.  This is obviously an attempt to calm the masses and hold a few individuals responsible.  The whole earthquake killing people is a tragedy by itself, and the government of Italy does not want to be outdone so they are putting science on trial here.  An obvious better alternative to this witch-trial would be to fix buildings and update them to withstand earthquakes.  Leave your thoughts


  1. 12 years in prison? there's a valuable use of resources :)
    What a joke

  2. Yeah, the Italian legal system is really stupid like that.

    Don't even get me started.