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Italian Scientists Convicted of Manslaughter in Earthquake Deaths Options · View
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 5:11:54 PM

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Natural disasters on trial Prosecutors charged that the researchers were too blasé about the risk and asked for four years' jail time for manslaughter for each. Today (Oct. 22), Judge Marco Billi took about four hours to find the defendants guilty, sentencing them to six years apiece. An appeal is likely.

Should seismologists be responsible for earthquake deaths? Can an earthquake be predicted? What standard of reliability do their forecasts need to achieve before they are liable? (If you don't believe we've already reached it)
Posted: Monday, October 22, 2012 6:31:16 PM

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This is a read facepalm/headdesk for me. No, we are not at the point where earthquake predictions are even as reliable as weather predictions and we certainly don't jail meteorologists when a hurricane takes an unexpected course change or they can't say exactly where a tornado will touch down. This is a probabilisitic science we're dealing with here and no one can say with 100% certainty when something is going to happen, only that there is a high probability it will happen within certain parameters. You can't put people in jail for being wrong when the predication had a stated chance of being wrong to begin with.

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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 7:05:34 AM

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I saw a quick clip about this last night. What a ridiculous fucking trial! And they were convicted, wtf? Kinda sheds more light on the Italian judicial system and mindset more than anything else. No wonder Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito got railroaded. The Italian court system seems to be more about emotion than about fact and law.

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Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:41:08 AM

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It would be like me bringing up a lawsuit against a company that provides statistical analysis of the weather and they say that if I go to Florida in June I'll get so and so many days with rain. I then go to Florida and get a lot of rain, a lot more than average, and I blame them.

But the Italian court system is tremendeously fucked up. It's corrupt as hell unless they're convicting a high ranking member of Cosa Nostra. I'm guessing Silvio has a greasy finger or two in this, just so he can put some of the blame of the tragedy on them and not on his own government's inability to handle things.
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