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Italy arrests quake scientists, shakes scientific world

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Christmahanikwanzikah
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Italy arrests quake scientists, shakes scientific world

Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:47 am

CNN wrote:Seven people went on trial for manslaughter Tuesday in Italy, accused of failing to predict an earthquake that killed more than 300 people in L'Aquila in April 2009.

The seven -- six scientists from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology and a member of the Civil Protection Agency -- were members of a governmental panel that prosecutors accuse of giving a "rough, generic and ineffective assessment of the seismic risk."

The seven, members of a so-called "major risks" panel, published "inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory information about the dangers of seismic activity undermining the protection of the population," prosecutors said.

The first hearing Tuesday morning in L'Aquila's tribunal was devoted to technical matters and claims by injured parties.

The city of L'Aquila has requested 50 million euros ($68 million) in compensation.

Only one defendant was in court, the vice president of the panel, Bernardo De Bernardinis. "I thought it was important to be here, not only because this is my turf but also to underline the professionalism ... of the other public officers," De Bernardinis told reporters.


http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/20/world/eur ... =allsearch

According to other tidbits in the article, the apparent basis of the trial is that these scientists didn't give warning of an impending earthquake, which would've prevented an unnecessary loss of life.

... which, if you know anything about the subject, is utter bullshit. Not even the best minds in California can even come up with a way to "predict" the onset of a major earthquake. Hell, their best attempt at evaluating seismic risk is essentially a conglomeration of previous evaluation work from companies that were "close enough" in their evaluation of site seismic hazards.

What say you? Does this trial do an injustice to the scientific community? As a bonus, do you believe that scientists will be able to predict - with accuracy - a seismic event with enough time to evacuate the public?

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Postby The Parkus Empire » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:51 am

Dammit, I was hoping this about scientists causing a quake. I was all, "Supervillains FTW!" and then I had another drink and then I saw this thread and then I cried like a real man.
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Postby SD_Film Artists » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:51 am

Injustice. Scientists aren't obliged to protect the public, unless of course they knew that an earthquake was highly probable at that time and place.
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Barringtonia
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Postby Barringtonia » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:51 am

See they should really charge teh gays for actually causing it with their sinful ways but the Vatican protects its own alas, hence go after the scientists as always..
Last edited by Barringtonia on Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Rambhutan
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Postby Rambhutan » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:38 am

For once the cliche 'why don't they go after the real criminals' seems right. Not enough organised crime figures or corrupt politicians to go after?
Last edited by Rambhutan on Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nanatsu no Tsuki » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:45 am

The Italian government needs to get it collective head out of it's ass. There is no way in fuck to accurately predict an earthquake. This trial is a load of shit.
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Stauffieland
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Postby Stauffieland » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:46 am

Injustice.

Show where in their contract it says they have this responsibility.
(If there were stupid enough to sign such a contract, by all means lock them up)

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Postby Wiztopia » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:51 am

Its all their fault for not believing in the power of God and asking Him where the next quake would hit.

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-Acadia
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Postby -Acadia » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:54 am

Seriously? This is like something from the Onion...
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An Intelligent Man
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Postby An Intelligent Man » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:56 am

Fair enough.
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Postby Volnotova » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:02 am

Incompetence or bad luck is illegal?


Please arrest the Italian parliament and haul their asses off to jail.
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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:09 am

The folks on trial are part of a group that is charged with geological risk assessment.

There were signs (increased seismic activity), that fortold the possiblity of a potential quake.

These guys deliberately downplayed the risk by joking about it.

folks did not take measures to protect themselves because of joking about potential risk by the expert committee.

Quake happened, people died.

They look pretty guilty to me.
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Wiztopia
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Postby Wiztopia » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:13 am

Ethel mermania wrote:The folks on trial are part of a group that is charged with geological risk assessment.

There were signs (increased seismic activity), that fortold the possiblity of a potential quake.

These guys deliberately downplayed the risk by joking about it.

folks did not take measures to protect themselves because of joking about potential risk by the expert committee.

Quake happened, people died.

They look pretty guilty to me.


Just like how a person who watches a car accident is guilty of murder.

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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:16 am

Wiztopia wrote:
Ethel mermania wrote:The folks on trial are part of a group that is charged with geological risk assessment.

There were signs (increased seismic activity), that fortold the possiblity of a potential quake.

These guys deliberately downplayed the risk by joking about it.

folks did not take measures to protect themselves because of joking about potential risk by the expert committee.

Quake happened, people died.

They look pretty guilty to me.


Just like how a person who watches a car accident is guilty of murder.


No, just like how a cop who watches a murder is guilty of neglience.
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Cosmopoles
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Postby Cosmopoles » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:35 am

Its absolutely ridiculous. They basically told people that small tremors do not mean that large earthquake will occur, but that it is impossible to predict. How could they possibly have given a more accurate warning with the information they had at the time?

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Bottle
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Postby Bottle » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:41 am

The fact that it is Italy doing this, when they've got the Vatican right in their midst, makes it even funnier. I'm sure that any minute they'll be arresting the Pope for all the dire predictions of God's Wrath being called down upon those who dare to treat gay people and women like humans.
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Ethel mermania
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Postby Ethel mermania » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:44 am

Cosmopoles wrote:Its absolutely ridiculous. They basically told people that small tremors do not mean that large earthquake will occur, but that it is impossible to predict. How could they possibly have given a more accurate warning with the information they had at the time?


No, they told people, "do not worry about it, have a glass of wine"

Big difference between, we do not know; and, go have a drink.
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Cosmopoles
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Postby Cosmopoles » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:00 am

Ethel mermania wrote:No, they told people, "do not worry about it, have a glass of wine"

Big difference between, we do not know; and, go have a drink.


Actually, there isn't much difference. What would you advise someone to do when you don't know whether an earthquake is coming and never will?

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Yaltabaoth
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Postby Yaltabaoth » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:08 am

Ethel mermania wrote:No, just like how a cop who watches a murder is guilty of neglience.


No. If the cop had magically pre-cognised a murder and watched it happen, then your analogy would be accurate. Minority Report is fiction, doncha know.

It is absolutely impossible to accurately predict earthquakes.

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Rambhutan
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Postby Rambhutan » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:10 am

Let's hope no Italian politicians have foolishly failed to accurately predict the country's looming economic problems.
Are we there yet?

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Fionnuala_Saoirse
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Postby Fionnuala_Saoirse » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:20 am

Can someone show me some sort of official report saying they're being charged with 'not predicting the quake' or something to that effect. All I can see at the moment is a bit of media sensationalising.
The view from L'Aquila, however, is quite different. Prosecutors and the families of victims alike say that the trial has nothing to do with the ability to predict earthquakes, and everything to do with the failure of government-appointed scientists serving on an advisory panel to adequately evaluate, and then communicate, the potential risk to the local population. The charges, detailed in a 224-page document filed by Picuti, allege that members of the National Commission for Forecasting and Predicting Great Risks, who held a special meeting in L'Aquila the week before the earthquake, provided "incomplete, imprecise, and contradictory information" to a public that had been unnerved by months of persistent, low-level tremors. Picuti says that the commission was more interested in pacifying the local population than in giving clear advice about earthquake preparedness.

"I'm not crazy," Picuti says. "I know they can't predict earthquakes. The basis of the charges is not that they didn't predict the earthquake. As functionaries of the state, they had certain duties imposed by law: to evaluate and characterize the risks that were present in L'Aquila." Part of that risk assessment, he says, should have included the density of the urban population and the known fragility of many ancient buildings in the city centre. "They were obligated to evaluate the degree of risk given all these factors," he says, "and they did not."


http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110914/ ... 7264a.html

If the above is the case then the trial seems a fair one to hold
Last edited by Fionnuala_Saoirse on Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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GeneralHaNor
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Postby GeneralHaNor » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:39 am

Regardless of the outcome, the real world effect here is that geologists will refuse to work in Italy because of the precedent set. Which will lead to more loss of life because scientists wont' even bother to give you warning of an impending quake if possible.
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Donkeyphants
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Postby Donkeyphants » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:07 am

They should say sorry for maeking an earthquake, and put every thing back how it was.
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Postby Genivaria » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:14 am

Volnotova wrote:Incompetence or bad luck is illegal?


Please arrest the Italian parliament and haul their asses off to jail.

:lol2:
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Der Teutoniker
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Postby Der Teutoniker » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:14 am

SD_Film Artists wrote:Injustice. Scientists aren't obliged to protect the public, unless of course they knew that an earthquake was highly probable at that time and place.


Is there any reason that these scientists could have reasonably been expected to know the exact details of the forthcoming earthquake? Even if they were expected to know, where they obligated by (the government? science? God? Robot Lincoln?) to know this? I mean, even if we assume that such forknowledge in this case is entirely possible, is it reasonable to expect that they necessarily know it?

Ok, and even if we meet these two conditions (they were for sure able to know about the quake in advance, and they had an obligation to know) is it reasonably to assume they had the legal duty to report their findings necessarily?

Basically nothing about this case makes any sense. We can't know if they could have accurately predicted this beforehand (with reasonable certainty), they are not obligated to have known about the quake, even if such knowledge were possible. Moreover I don't think they should have been legally obligated to necessarily divulge this information that they were supposed to have had.

Ridiculous.
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