An anonymous reader writes "On 31/3, Italian scientist Giampaolo Giuliani forecasted that a big earthquake was expected in the zone between L'Aquila and Sulmona (central Italy) and warned Italian authorities on that. The prevision was based on a network of radon sensors; Giuliani (who is not a geologist, but instead works for the "Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica dei Laboratori nazionali del Gran Sasso") observed in the past that an increase of radon gas emission from the ground means that the soil is fracturing and an earthquake is going to happen (some news pages, in Italian language). The head of the "Protezione Civile" (disaster handling agency) Guido Bertolaso promptly declared that "there are idiots raising panic, we all know earthquakes are unpredictable" and Giuliani has so been sued for "procurato allarme" (intent to cause panic).
On 6/4, 3:32 CEST an earthquake of 6.3 Richter magnitude happened near the city of L'Aquila: dozens of victims are currently reported. The media now talk about the prevision (Il Giornale, Corriere della Sera, sometimes mentioning the "randon" (sigh) gas), but no sign of apologies has come from Italian authorities, which often declare the intention to avoid the "fuga di cervelli" phenomenon (brain emigration, i.e. smart scientists moving abroad), without apparently realizing what could be causing that."
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