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Geologists Might Be Charged For Not Predicting Quake

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the google-will-no-doubt-be-found-at-fault dept.

Crime 375

mmmscience writes "In 2009, a series of small earthquakes shook the region of L'Aquila, Italy. Seismologists investigated the tremors, but concluded that there was no direct indication of a big quake on the horizon. Less than a month later, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake killed more than 300 people. Now, the chief prosecutor of L'Aquila is looking to charge the scientists with gross negligent manslaughter for not predicting the quake."

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375 comments

way to drive (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595166)

science out of your country.

No indications means they didn't detect any indication. That could be due to poor technology, or perhaps because there were no indications.

Re:way to drive (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595190)

Hey if they aren't sure about what they say then they shouldn't say it. Calling it science is questionable...

Re:way to drive (5, Insightful)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595342)

Nothing in the article really suggests that they were wrong given the evidence they had at the time. They're Geologists, not soothsayers.

Re:way to drive (4, Interesting)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595656)

Nothing in the article really suggests that they were wrong given the evidence they had at the time. They're Geologists, not soothsayers.

Predictability is a continuum, not a binary scale. Earthquakes fall much further on the "hard to predict" side of things, but there is no arbitrary point at which you can draw a line. If a home inspector incorrectly claims a house has no sign of termites, a forester claims that a fire poses no danger to settled areas, or BP engineer claims that the methods used at Deepwater posed no danger to the environment, you aren't always going to be comfortable saying "oops, shit happens"

Were these geologists negligent? Given our current understanding of earthquakes, we can off-handedly state, "probably not", but we aren't sure. Is it unreasonable for somebody to want a court to investigate further, given the scale and scope of the damage? Not really.

Re:way to drive (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595748)

I agree, but I was responding to the AC, who was essentially putting forth that it was be a binary ("if they aren't sure about what they say then they shouldn't say it"), and then being a random flamebaiting asshole ("calling it science is questionable...").

Re:way to drive (4, Informative)

yariv (1107831) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595344)

This is science, you never know for sure. In science you never have a complete answer, just a series of partial, half wrong answers. Hopefully you get better answers over time, but you never know the exact, complete answer. In this case we have a complicated system, one we have very little success in predicting its behavior. And they didn't say there will be no earthquake, just that the minor ones don't imply an imminent major one. I see no problem with this claim (as long as it is reasonable by modern seismology).

"It's hard to make predictions - especially about the future." --Robert Storm Petersen

Re:way to drive (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595640)

The science of predicing earthquakes has so far bordered on Phernology. I don't mind a learning curve, even a 100 year one. But if they led people to believe that something was going to happen, and there were negative consequences because of it, they should be hung out to dry like the rest of us. Not for being wrong, but for basing a strong conclusion on incredibly flimsy ground.

Re:way to drive (3, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595978)

The science of predicing earthquakes has so far bordered on Phernology. I don't mind a learning curve, even a 100 year one. But if they led people to believe that something was going to happen, and there were negative consequences because of it, they should be hung out to dry like the rest of us. Not for being wrong, but for basing a strong conclusion on incredibly flimsy ground.

/. - spreading natural disasters puns since 1997.

Re:way to drive (0, Flamebait)

stevew (4845) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595826)

You mean like - Climate prediction?

I'm just saying - maybe we should prosecute the weatherman for the tornado that killed some many people.

Re:way to drive (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595966)

But they probably were sure of what they were saying: That there are no direct indications for a big earthquake. Now, if they had claimed that there will not be a big earthquake, things would be different. Just as "I didn't smell something unusual" doesn't mean "the air doesn't contain anything unusual" - there could be something unusual in the air that you cannot smell. If that unusual stuff happened to be poisonous, you cannot blame someone for not having smelled it.

Re:way to drive (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595262)

"But, but, I'm so so sorry boss. I couldn't predict the big quake because my crystal ball fell off the work bench when the little tremors hit."

im gay! for you! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595282)

Your idea intrigues me. I would like to pee in your ass

Re:way to drive (3, Funny)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595286)

I think that this is another case of Corporate Greed. But personally I blame the Obama Administration.

Re:way to drive (0, Offtopic)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595644)

Mods, give it a rest.

Learn to recognize sarcasm when you see it. You modded a sarcastic comment making fun of both sides of the political aisle as flamebait. He made fun of the socialists and the conservatives in just two sentences. That's hard to do. He ought to be modded +5 funny, not flamebait, on his ability to use sarcasm alone....

Re:way to drive (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595924)

Except it's not funny. It's an unnecessary political comment about politics in a country not related to the story. If it was funny, or related, then you might be right. Until then, shut the fuck up.

Re:way to drive (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595322)

Or that there are indications all the time, but 99.99% of them are false alarms.

Re:way to drive (3, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595402)

If an event is present "all the time", and "99.99%" of the time it is a "false alarm", then it isn't an indicator at all.

Re:way to drive (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595448)

Way to drive FALSE PREDICTIONS INTO your country.

"Uh... to avoid being charged with manslaughter... er... i mean... the data shows that.... there will be an earthquake today... and every other day this year too. Be ready for an earthquake at any moment, because our uhm... data... shows that it could happen!"

Re:way to drive (4, Insightful)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595504)

I hope they'll also be suing the mathematicians who developed the statistical analysis tools the geologist used. And the engineers who helped develop the equipment. And me. I did absolutely nothing to help, and am therefore either more to blame than the geologists, or maybe less. It's difficult to tell when it's a bunch of lawyers trying to line their pockets from the deaths of innocents.

Re:way to drive (0, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595660)

It's difficult to tell when it's a bunch of lawyers trying to line their pockets from the deaths of innocents.

Last time I checked, no one was able to "line their pockets" from a criminal trial.

Re:way to drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595756)

It's difficult to tell when it's a bunch of lawyers trying to line their pockets from the deaths of innocents.

Last time I checked, no one was able to "line their pockets" from a criminal trial.

Except the lawyers, you mean?

CAPTCHA: labors, oh the irony

Re:way to drive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595976)

Politicians

Re:way to drive (4, Insightful)

horatio (127595) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595984)

We should hold responsible this prosecutor for every criminal he didn't successfully convict or even bother to charge for lack of evidence - especially any who went on to later kill someone.

Re:way to drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595514)

I'd like to see the day where Greenspan, Bernanke, Paulson, banks, mortgage and house salesmen are charged for not only not predicting housing bubble, but acting to cause it.

Vice Versa (5, Insightful)

broggyr (924379) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595186)

Of course if the scientist predicted a huge quake and none occurred, then he would be targeted for that as well.

Re:Vice Versa (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595376)

Quite, they never seem to be able to make their minds up. The slightest bit of evidence and it's all change. One moment it's Newtonian mechanics, and then Einstein comes along and it's all wrong.

P.S. 6,000 years.

 

Re:Vice Versa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595474)

You realize, of course, that the ability to change your mind based on new evidence is a good thing, right? But it doesn't surprise me that a bible-thumper such as you (are simply purporting to be I hope) would think being stubbornly stuck in one's beliefs in how the universe works, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is the good thing.

Re:Vice Versa (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595620)

I'm not sure what to search for to find it, but that actually already happened. Fairly certain it was in Italy, too. Dude predicts a quake on a certain day, it doesn't come to pass, the city sued him or some shit? Then the quake hit a few days later? I think this happened last year. Sketchy details, yes, but it's out there waiting for someone to dig up who recalls a few more details than I do.

Long story short: Italian bureaucracy is on par with French hygiene and English cuisine.. these are stereotypical jokes with reason behind 'em.

Re:Vice Versa (2, Informative)

dageyra (1246952) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595896)

I recall that as well, quick Google search turned up these two hits, none that I had read at the time, but same story, different vendor: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/04/06/seismologist-was-forced-to-remove-italy-earthquake-warning-from-the-internet/ [wsj.com] http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/04/06/scientist-smackdown-did-a-seismologist-accurately-predict-the-italian-quake/ [discovermagazine.com]

Fine... as long as... (5, Insightful)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595212)

I'll go along with that argument, as long as we can throw politicians in jail any time there is some economic disturbance that impacts the population. After all, they should be able to accurately predict and prevent such things.

Re:Fine... as long as... (5, Insightful)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595460)

More to the point, throw prosecutors in jail any time they convict someone who is later exonerated.

Re:Fine... as long as... (1)

jordan982 (1735846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595586)

jurors, maybe? prosecutors don't convict anyone.

Re:Fine... as long as... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595816)

jurors, maybe? prosecutors don't convict anyone.

Prosecutors will sure as hell take the credit when they win because it was obviously their hard work that secured the conviction.

And, not all things are tried in front of a jury, some are purely in front of a judge.

Re:Fine... as long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595856)

Also, all psychics should be in jail for not predicting every harm done to anyone ever.

All joking aside, they should be in jail anyway for preying on gullible idiots. Who should also be in jail for criminal stupidity.

Re:Fine... as long as... (1)

stevew (4845) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595858)

You weren't expecting anyone to argue with you here where you???

This reminds me of one of the best lines in all of movie making.... "They killed Congress" followed by a menacing laugh ;-) Gotta Love Mars Attacks!

Re:Fine... as long as... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595968)

Wait, now I'm conflicted.

On one hand, arresting/prosecuting the scientists is stupid. On the other hand, we'd get rid of all the politicians. Am I willing to sacrifice the scientists to get rid of the politicians?

Yes. Yes I am.

Italy? (4, Funny)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595222)

I thought the USA was the sue-happy country. Don't we have a patent on it or something? Italy better start preparing for a lawsuit from the U.S.

Re:Italy? (1)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595334)

These "I have a patent/copyright" threads tend to become a recursive hierarchy of users having a copyright on the above poster's comment. But, as with any base case... I have a patent on joking about having patents on suing people and am now sueing you for infinity billion yen.

Re:Italy? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595690)

These "I have a patent/copyright" threads tend to become a recursive hierarchy of users having a copyright on the above poster's comment. But, as with any base case... I have a patent on joking about having patents on suing people and am now sueing you for infinity billion yen.

It just so happens that I have an infinity billion yen creating machine and I will give one infinity billion yen to you... but it is only licensed to you and there is no guarantee it will work after you log in for an update.

Re:Italy? (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595750)

"ue-happy country"

A myth spread by insurance companies.

While there are issues, and always will be, it's a reasonable system overall.

conclusion: always say there will be a quake (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595226)

That way you can never be charged for failing to predict it. Of course everyone will start ignoring your predictions, even if you really do have evidence a big quake is about to hit, and lots of people may die, but your ass will be covered.

Why do you keep electing them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595264)

If they are complete a$$hats then why do you keep electing these jokers to office?!?!

Get the figureheads out; get the wiser, council-seeking, in-depth folks in.

Until then, civilization will continue its slide to self-destruction.

Re:Why do you keep electing them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595306)

If they are complete a$$hats then why do you keep electing these jokers to office?!?!

because the larger portion of the populace does not read (or know about) slashdot or reasonable news?

Sounds about right (1)

bsane (148894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595268)

Given their stellar investigation and handling of the Knox trial- I'd expect a conviction with a 20-30 year sentence.

Re:Sounds about right (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595312)

Yeah, there's the Knox case. This is also the country that convicted Google for a video that was posted to Youtube (even though Google took it down within hours of being notified).

Oh wouldn't *that* be nice! (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595280)

I worked this one job where the boss would routinely ignore my planning advice, get some outside incompetent guy to do things, get me to clean it up when things went horribly wrong, and then complain to me that I wasn't getting enough progress on my own initiatives. What I'm getting at here is that I would *love* to be able to hold people accountable for ignoring good, substantiated advice and planning.

It was predicted! (5, Interesting)

tobiah (308208) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595298)

I forget the specifics, but a local technically minded person had predicted this earthquake, largely based on gas venting. He gave a date and it didn't happen, so the local politicians went about prosecuting him for the equivalent of yelling "fire!". But then the earthquake hit the next day. I assume this is a continuing effort on the part of the local politicians and prosecutor to lay the blame anywhere but on themselves.

Re:It was predicted! (5, Interesting)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595420)

Article on slashdot about this is found here:

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/04/06/1935246 [slashdot.org]

Italian scientist Giampaolo Giuliani, a researcher at the National Physical Laboratory of Gran Sasso, recently gave warning about an earthquake that was to happen on March 29th of this year near L'Aquilla. Based on radon gas emissions and a series of observed tremors he tried to convince residents to evacuate, drawing much criticism from the city's mayor and others. Giuliani was forced to take down warnings he had posted on the internet. The researcher had said that a 'disastrous' earthquake would strike on March 29, but when it didn't, Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency, last week officially denounced Giuliani in court for false alarm. 'These imbeciles enjoy spreading false news,' Bertalaso was quoted as saying. 'Everyone knows that you can't predict earthquakes.' Giuliani, it turns out, was partially right. A much smaller seismic shift struck on the day he said it would, with the truly disastrous one arriving just one week later. 'Someone owes me an apology,' said Giuliani, who is also a resident of L'Aquila. 'The situation here is dramatic. I am devastated, but also angry.'"

Oh, Italy, please don't ever change.

High-Impact Hypothesis Testing (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595842)

So basically anyone on the losing side of a hypothesis test now gets prosecuted.

If P > 0.10, go directly to jail. Awesome!

Re:It was predicted! (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595434)

Hard to believe.. but true!

http://politifi.com/news/Can-radon-gas-leaks-predict-earthquakes--416169.html [politifi.com]

Giampaolo Giuliani, a researcher at Italy's Gran Sasso laboratory, alerted authorities in the region of Abruzzo that a quake was imminent " and was condemned for raising a false...

Re:It was predicted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595704)

well, you know, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

Science to English (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595316)

It appears the statement that the precursor data did not indicate a following quake was taken to mean that there would be no following quake.

This appears to be a science to english translation problem on the nature of causality and dependency.

Re:Science to English (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595604)

This appears to be a science to english translation problem

oh, no wonder then - should have translated to Italian!

In 2009, a series of small earthquakes shook the region of L'Aquila, Italy

hope they get a good defense team.... (1, Flamebait)

thephydes (727739) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595324)

who actually know something about earthquakes as opposed to the fuckwits who want to sue. Earthquake intensity is notoriously hard to predict - in fact if my memory serves me correctly it has only happened a couple of times in the last couple of decades despite billions being spent on research and monitoring.

Re:hope they get a good defense team.... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595950)

who actually know something about earthquakes as opposed to the fuckwits who want to sue.

This is not suing someone, this is criminal prosecution. They're very different things.

Basically, they're saying that, due to incompetence, the scientists caused the deaths of those people by not giving sufficient warning -- which, as you point out, so far can't be accurately predicted with any reliability.

Criminal charges for this demonstrates that the prosecutor doesn't understand science, and is looking for a scapegoat.

Although, from the linked article on The Independent [independent.co.uk] , this seem to be coming from pressure from citizens. I'm sure if the warning had been raised, and it didn't happen, they'd be looking to sue for that too.

Finally! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595360)

This is fantastic news! It is WELL past time to start holding scientists to account for their actions, and I hope this kind of thing becomes far more prevalent in the USA too. James Infohoe's attempt to hold scientists criminally responsible for the global warming hoax [pajamasmedia.com] is a good beginning, but we need criminal charges for scientists involved in other areas to be held lible for their junk science. Things like evolution, smoking-causes-cancer, etc. Scientists need to be taught a hard lesson that when they make outrageous claims, they will be held to account for the results of those claims. Too many people have been bilked out of their life's savings or their very lives, due to the gross negligence and regular hoaxes perpetrated by the elitest liberal scientific establishment. Congratulations Italy on once again showing the rest of us the right way forward on how to treat modern "science".

Yes.... (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595380)

the world has gone insane and has been for a good long while. But to even consider the notion to file legal charges against the fellas for failing to predict an "Act of ", well that about tops it all.

Send the weatherman to where the sun don't shine (3, Interesting)

nalidog (1682910) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595408)

Does this mean that we can send meteorologists to jail for getting the 5-day forecast wrong?

Re:Send the weatherman to where the sun don't shin (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595486)

jail shit, they're to be drawn and quartered at dawn, we got crops to consider!!!

Maybe this will be a good thing? (1, Interesting)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595410)

Science is generally in a much more nascent stage than most scientists are willing to admit. Perhaps with very real repercussions from providing analyses that cannot reveal useful predictions they may alter their conclusions to reflect the true state of their knowledge.

Re:Maybe this will be a good thing? (2, Informative)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595634)

Human intelligence is generally in a much more nascent stage than most people are willing to admit.

FTFY

Re:Maybe this will be a good thing? (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595744)

Science is generally in a much more nascent stage than most scientists are willing to admit

If you actually bother to talk to any scientists, they will freely and enthusiastically discuss the limits of their field of study. Knowing what you don't know is the most important part of being a scientist.

Re:Maybe this will be a good thing? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595838)

WTF does that even mean? Science is moving along quite nicely. Of course it's just a method for determining events in nature. A pretty good one at that.
IS there a lot of stuff we don't know? sure. Every scientist know that and doesn't say otherwise. There are also specific fields that we know a lot about because of the use of science.

Your post is gibbering nonsense that can only lead me to assume you have no idea what science actually is.

There is more to know, and the unknown isn't unknowable.

Seems straightforward (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595446)

... seismologists and senior members of Italy’s Civil Protection Department and the National Geophysics and Vulcanology Institute — are being investigated based on their statements to the Major Risks Committee on March 31, 2009, that a series of small earthquakes (none over magnitude 4.0) over the previous six months did not mean that a large earthquake was imminent.

So the question is if a series of small earthquakes is a definitive indicator of an upcoming large earthquake. According to the seismologists it wasn't.

So, is it? I don't know. Probably not.

But, assuming it is, can you realistically charge someone with manslaughter for deaths caused by a natural disaster?

Re:Seems straightforward (1)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595664)

But, assuming it is, can you realistically charge someone with manslaughter for deaths caused by a natural disaster?

Sure, under some circumstances, if the disaster was predictable (flood, earthquake, landslide, hurricane) and someone didn't take normal or minimum non-neglegent steps to avoid putting others in danger, or lied about being ready.

Lying about your building being seismically upgraded, for example, and then having it fall down.

The scientists' correct response is "There's a 100% chance of multiple earthquakes in this location over the next 1000 years. We have no way of knowing when or how many at this time. Live in unreinforced masonry buildings at your own risk."

Re:Seems straightforward (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595668)

If you are a grandstanding chief prosecutor in a mob-riddled hellhole where all the people you really should be leveling charges against could have you wearing cement shoes in short order, it would appear that the answer is "yes"...

Weather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595496)

Next Headline: Family of man killed in accident sues weatherman for failing to predict a heavy snowstorm.

What were they planning on doing? (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595526)

Even if the scientists correctly predicted a quake, what were they planning on doing about it?

Old kind of strategy (2, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595534)

The Chinese did this thousands of years ago with their astronomers. If they failed to predict a solar or lunar eclipse, they'd be executed.

Citation [cwru.edu]

Lawyers always know best! (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595616)

Good to see the chief prosecuter's extensive geological research has established earthquake prediction to such a finely tuned science that not acting on it is tantamount to murder.

Next up, doctors will be arrested for not predicting your cancer.

This news is not correct (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595684)

The italian translation is uncorrect. Geologists said that "the risk is zero", that is very different from "we don't know, it could happen or not".

but had they predicted it... (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595696)

in Italy, they may have been burned as witches.

all this is nonsense, everyone now knows earthquakes are caused by women dressing indecently.

It's a matter of extreme negligence. (5, Interesting)

tHeNeXuS (1835132) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595708)

Ok, maybe you need to know something about the Italian judiciary system. In Italy there is something called "obligatory penal action", which means that if there is even the simple suspect of a crime being committed, then an investigation must be started.

In the quake case, the investigation started because the people responsible for monitoring the situation explicitly reassured the population by telling them that there would be no big quake. Any responsible scientist, given the continuous small shakes that were ongoing, would have at least said something on the line "We believe there will be no major quake, but please do not lower your guard".

And that is why there was an investigation that ended with them being charged for negligence.

Counter argument (1)

Wireless Joe (604314) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595736)

The scientists' counter argument should be that the prosecutor is responsible for the earthquake because he did not walk around with a banana in his ear [youtube.com] . It's just as sound as the argument being used against them; he failed to keep the earthquakes away.

Whose the real criminal here? (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595740)

If they had modern building codes, a 6.3 wouldn't have done nearly so much damage and loss of life would be minimal(the random heart attack and whatnot).

Someone toss that goddamn politician and his colleagues in jail for negligence.

this is Goat4sex (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595770)

Is dying and i7s bunch of retarded a dead man walking.

Prognostication in the scientific disciplines. (1)

Myst R.E. (1835126) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595796)

I'm preaching to the choir here I know. But honestly, if they investigated and didn't see any signs that is one thing. If however they investigated, found possible signs and didn't report them for fear of a mass panic, then that is a whole other story. This reminds me of the whole, "We're overdue for the big one!", that we keep seeing in the media. It seems everyday the news reports some "big one" we're overdue for, when the fact is nothing on earth is truly cyclical. We're overdue for a large meteor/comet strike! Oh really? Is there someone out there lobbing these things at us? If there is, is it possible, maybe he/she ran out of ammo? We're overdue for Yellowstone to blow, sending us all to kingdom come! Truly, yes that is a hot spot, but we really, don't know the exact depth & composition of that part of the earths crust. If it's identical to previous eruptions, which is doubtful then yes, we should see something / should have seen something by now. We also have no clue whats causing that portion of the earths mantle to be a hot spot, maybe it's cooling off a bit, maybe it's getting hotter. The fact is we don't know, and there are too many variables. Anyone working in a field of analysis needs to be careful to make predictions. The future is not certain and frankly, we aren't even that sure of the past. I work in Systems Analysis, I'm supposed to find root cause for failure and take steps to prevent failures in the future. I've come to the conclusion that people read what they want to read & hear what they want to hear. As people of the scientific disciplines, it is not our job at all, to be prognosticators. Our job is only to gather data, analyze it and present it in a form that is understandable to our intended audience. We should never be chicken littles, claiming that the sky is falling, and we should never try to hide the fact that the sky is in fact falling, but that should only be if it's a fact, not an opinion. We can only say we have observed current conditions and determined the statistical probably that certain similar events, were preceded by certain similar circumstances. We cannot predict the future, therefore we should never incite anything whether fear or calm by attempting to.

Galileo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32595882)

Things haven't changed much since Galileo, have they? Are they going to throw meteorologists off of buildings or burn them at the stake now?

What absolute ignorance.

Isn't the Prosecutor liable? (1)

sonciwind (970454) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595904)

For the fact that there is still crime in his area? I mean after he took office wasn't it his responsibility to lock up all crime committing people thereby leaving the area crime free?

It's obvious. (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32595926)

Someone forgot to leave the briefcase behind the billboard, and Guido the Prosecutor, he don't like being dissed, capice, Paisan?
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