Witch Hunt

A 6.3 strength earthquake struck L’Aquila, in Italy’s Abruzzo region at 3.32 a.m. on April 6, 2009, wrecking tens of thousands of buildings, injuring more than 1,000 people and killing hundreds of others in their sleep…

..An Italian court convicted six scientists and a government official of manslaughter…Monday and sentenced them to six years in prison for failing to give adequate warning of (the) deadly earthquake

At the heart of the case was whether the government-appointed experts gave an overly reassuring picture of the risks facing the town, which contained many ancient and fragile buildings and which had been partially destroyed three times by earthquakes over the centuries.

The prosecution had asked for a sentence of four years.

We know profs at CU who know scientists at the NEIC. When appraised of the Italian scientists’ situation the NEIC scientists responded with disbelief and horror.

“Those tremors, the previous ones, would in no way quantitatively indicate, much less ‘forecast’, a major quake. In any time period. It’s like playing the lottery; the odds remain the same for any given earthquake prone area from day to day. You could have had a significant temblor the day before and nothing for 5 years – the odds remain the same each day.”

So…witch hunt.Because, let’s face it, no civilized country would go after scientists for interpreting technology that at best gives up to a minute’s warning of a quake.

But we keep forgetting that Italy is full of superstitious people who believe in an imaginary being that will protect them – in their mud and stone hovels – from all manner of calamity. And when that doesn’t happen – witches! 1


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Show 1 footnote

  1. Fortunately not a single centrifuge was damaged.

5 thoughts on “Witch Hunt”

  1. my favorite story is about a weather forecaster in Brazil going to prison for screwing up some flood predictions. while I don’t want to see anyone go to prison I wouldn’t mind some local weatherpeople lightly tasered when schools close based on their incorrect forecasts.

    1. The locals do tend toward irrational exuberance, don’t they? Like we’ve never seen rain or snow or clear skies…

      Puts me in mind of Steve Martin in L.A. Story.

  2. @Maria…why don’t you send her an email if you’re so quick to point fingers. Bet you don’t have the balls to say anything to her face. Better to be a bully on the web and do it anonymously. Good for you, Superstar!

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