Burn in Hell, Seismologists….No Wine for You!

Our man in the stars tipped me off to this one….

The short version: Some Nut Case(not his real name) was predicting a major earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy(the real town) after a series of temors. He was so convincing that local officials contacted siesmologists for an educated and scientific opinion. Expert seismologists attempted to point out to an uneducated public that earthquakes can NOT be predicted. They explained that you should build for the worst and “relax with a glass of wine” since there is nothing more you can do. If it happens, it happens…….It happened……On April 6, 2009 a 6.3 quake hit the town….A town of ancient buildings NOT constructed according to modern codes.  300 people died.

Compare: On August 11, 2012  a 6.4 magnitude quake hit a town in Iran. According to an Iranian Seismologist,  “With over 300 dead and more than 4,500 injured….a 6.4 magnitude is still just a “tremor”. The deaths and injuries are the result of ‘shoddy construction and poor oversight…. Nowhere in the world would a 6 magnitude quake kill so many people.’ “….ouch.(Irish Times)

Now back to Italy…….So, what does a small group of  uneducated and grieving people do? They charge the seismologists with manslaughter for not clearly warning of the potential risk. The verdict?…..They were found guilty, of course!…..There will naturally be an appeal and the Italians will hopefully realize that they are the laughing stock of the scientific and educated world.

Time and space does not allow for a history of examples where scientists were held accountable for events that are totally random. How sad that we have come so far, yet learned so little.

Have a look.

http://www.cleveland.com/newsflash/index.ssf/story/7-experts-convicted-for-not-warning-of/611ba63473cb4f03ace62eedc6e98848

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/22/163400917/italy-finds-scientists-guilty-of-manslaughter-for-2009-earthquake-forecast

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-six-italian-scientists-convicted-of-manslaughter-20121022,0,1288680.story

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0812/breaking32.html

As for me? I am sipping wine as I type. If it happens, it happens.

Thanks, Joseph!

-MZH

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About Mike

Retired science teacher that is learning to blog...

3 thoughts on “Burn in Hell, Seismologists….No Wine for You!

  1. Mike says:

    I did some fact checking on my blog above. Along with a few uneducated errors, I also could not find the original site to support some of my stats. Corrections have been made. Sorry for the confusion.
    No wine for me. 😦
    MZH

  2. emilyrhsmith says:

    Thanks for the link to the PD!

  3. Mike says:

    No problem…Send me a science story any time and I’ll look into it…This one was fun but I see know how hard it is to confirm the facts. I have learned from other blogs that it is better to check first and type later.

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