Seismologists Face Manslaughter Charges Over Earthquake

CommanderFrank

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This certainly could be a deal breaker for future study of seismology in Italy. Seven seismologists, who held a press conference prior to an earthquake reassuring the populace that no danger was imminent, have been charged with manslaughter. The group’s assurance of no pending quake slowed the effort to evacuate the town. In the ensuing earthquake, 308 residents died as a result.

The prospect of scientists' words being parsed in a court of law, though, is one that might make large brains all over the world shudder with trepidation.
 

DeathPrincess

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If they were actually "large brains" wouldn't they get it right to start with? Didn't einstein or someone have a small brain...also doesn't the size of the brain have nothing to do with intellegence...
 

Fnmeng

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I can see a scolding being appropriate, but manslaughter charges because something nature did? That's just retarded.

::tries to figure out how to tie in something about Harold Camping::
 

wtiger

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How ignorant is this. How about you just end the attempted study and prediction of earthquakes. Who will want to do it when if you get it wrong you're sued.
 

Methadras

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I can see a scolding being appropriate, but manslaughter charges because something nature did? That's just retarded.

::tries to figure out how to tie in something about Harold Camping::

I understand the logic, just not it's application as a function of criminality. However, you know that US lawyers are going to jump all over this in this country and they are going to watch this carefully. Can you sue a meteorologist if he/she gets the weather wrong? It's been tried http://www.atmos.pccu.edu.tw/file/english1.pdf. So seismologists will now bear the brunt of their predictions and maybe next time they will be more prudent in what they say, but certainly the specter of being sued or prosecution will now play a part in their lives. This is sad in the long run.
 

Ashbringer

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Why didn't they evacuate the people anyway? Seriously, if the weather man says Florida doesn't have to worry about hurricanes this year, are they really going to listen to him? Does the phrase, "better safe then sorry" ring a bell? You evacuate the people regardless of what the egg heads say.

I think they're trying to put the blame on the eggheads instead of themselves. Cause it wasn't the eggheads responsibility to determine the situation. They asked their opinion, and they go it. If they didn't know this yet, nobody has found a way to effectively predict earthquakes by 100%. We can't even predict the weather that efficiently.
 

Fnmeng

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Why didn't they evacuate the people anyway? Seriously, if the weather man says Florida doesn't have to worry about hurricanes this year, are they really going to listen to him? Does the phrase, "better safe then sorry" ring a bell? You evacuate the people regardless of what the egg heads say.

That's a little over the top. Hurricane's are vastly more predictable and give an infinite amount more warning by forming away from land and moving in whereas earthquakes give little to no warning.
 

TheCapulet

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If they were actually "large brains" wouldn't they get it right to start with? Didn't einstein or someone have a small brain...also doesn't the size of the brain have nothing to do with intellegence...

Einstein's brain was actually slightly larger than average and while missing a specific part that average brains have and having slightly smaller portions that deal with speech, he had much larger parts that deal with numbers and critical thinking.
 

bucket

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Putting aside the idea that it is even remotely possible to accurately predict an earthquake in the first place, you have a situation where people are either going to A : freak out, panic and cause accidents and deaths on the way out of town or B : what happened here.

These scientists are just scapegoats. The populace is pissed at the governments handling of the evacuation and the weak Italian government is pulling out all the stops trying to blame someone other than themselves.

Ridiculous.
 

pxc

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It's about time someone started paying for natural disasters.
 

srangara

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Putting aside the idea that it is even remotely possible to accurately predict an earthquake in the first place, you have a situation where people are either going to A : freak out, panic and cause accidents and deaths on the way out of town or B : what happened here.
Except that A only ever happens in movies.
 

Enduring_Warrior

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If they were actually "large brains" wouldn't they get it right to start with? Didn't einstein or someone have a small brain...also doesn't the size of the brain have nothing to do with intellegence...

It took Einstein 20 years to get it right for accelerated movement objects after his first equation E=M^C2 and for that another scientist, a mathematician got it right before him.
Who knows what took him to get E=M^C2.
 

Enduring_Warrior

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Einstein's brain was actually slightly larger than average and while missing a specific part that average brains have and having slightly smaller portions that deal with speech, he had much larger parts that deal with numbers and critical thinking.

The way you present it sounds unbelievable. That would have to be a myth since any serious neuroscientist knows that the brain is pretty plastic and can adapt to different conditions. I think you mean he gave up speech and such for critical thinking.
 

Stone Cold

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Watching SyFy channel, I know the way the world really works. Something in nature is about to go crazy. The scientist tries to warn the town, but the town's leaders suffer from a financial conflict of interest so they ignore the scientist. The scientist then has to desperately try to saved his loved ones when the disaster hits.

So, it's not credible that the scientists said nothing was going to happen. Someone's not a scientist unless they're discovering dangers.
 

Enduring_Warrior

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Letting Mr. Albert aside. Italians are not to be taken too seriously when it comes to making sense. And to whoever might get offended by this statement, well that's what they're showing here.
 

Spewn

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The way you present it sounds unbelievable. That would have to be a myth since any serious neuroscientist knows that the brain is pretty plastic and can adapt to different conditions. I think you mean he gave up speech and such for critical thinking.

I read the same thing, so I don't know how unbelievable it is. Are you a neuroscientist? If so, I'll leave commenting on this issue up to you.
 

MrGuvernment

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isnt it always better safe than sorry?

i wouldnt say "no your fine:" cause they don't know....

look back in history at how many times someone said "your fine, dont worry" and then see the after result...
 

skinnydaddy

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Now, they only have to arrest every religious figure in the country. For God not warning the people that an earth quake was about to happen. That makes about as much since as arresting seismologists. I would also like to use the article as proof. That no mater how stupid you think someone is on the internet. Someone in a government position somewhere will find a way to surpass it and do so in a way that makes weep for humanities future.
 

geok1ng

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http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20066779-71.html

Judge Giuseppe Romano Gargarella reportedly offered that the seven had held a televised press conference six days before the quake and offered "imprecise, incomplete, and contradictory information."

Some might wonder whether this is what scientists regularly do, however certain their words might sometimes seem. However, Garagarella reportedly further accuses Franco Barberi, the vice chairman of the committee, of specifically stating that no quake was to be immediately expected in the area.

This reassurance, Gargarella reportedly claimed to Corriere Della Serra, "thwarted the activities designed to protect the public."

Science did manage to speak to Boschi's lawyer, Marcello Melandri, who reportedly stated that his client is extremely unhappy at the prospect of this lawsuit. Indeed, Melandri reportedly claimed that Boschi did state that a major earthquake was entirely probable in the region.


Unfortunately, it is not just in Italy that this kind of stuff happens.

And yes, it is the principle of the end for earthquake prediction.

Welcome to modern medical practice.

And good luck finding a doctor you can afford, i gave up 2 years go, and actively warn all of my friends to stop helping people with their medical expertise. people simply are not worth it, as news such as these demonstrate.
 

Elf_Boy

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It took Einstein 20 years to get it right for accelerated movement objects after his first equation E=M^C2 and for that another scientist, a mathematician got it right before him.
Who knows what took him to get E=M^C2.

Isnt that e=mc^2?
 

jiminator

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This is the exact same problem with healthcare. doctors are so afraid of getting sued that they abuse tests and procedures. as a result healthcare costs continue to skyrocket while not improving the state of healthcare.
 

RE III - Frankie

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What has this got to do with medicine?

Also the article doesn't say why they were charged this story signifies that they were accountable being that they knew it would happen, but said nothing meaning it was their fault for not trying to share life saving info.
 
M

MantisIT

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Letting Mr. Albert aside. Italians are not to be taken too seriously when it comes to making sense. And to whoever might get offended by this statement, well that's what they're showing here.

I'm Italian and I laughed my ass off at this, thanks. I wouldn't listen to them either in all honesty.
 

Tsumi

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What has this got to do with medicine?

Also the article doesn't say why they were charged this story signifies that they were accountable being that they knew it would happen, but said nothing meaning it was their fault for not trying to share life saving info.

The situation is similar to the situation in medicine. Everyone's looking to sue everyone, and those that play by the rules and make a mistake end up being murdered by huge legal fees. Mistakes happen, and there's no way anyone can be 100% perfect. Especially when it comes to predicting something as unpredictable as earthquakes.

In general, you're only able to predict when an earthquake will happen in the few minutes before it happens: by observing the behavior of the animals in the area. Realistically, you're only able to offer % chances of something happening based on a certain set of conditions. If scientists were actually able to accurately predict earthquakes, then the events in the Indian Ocean and the recent Japan earthquake disasters would not have happened. The only protection we have against earthquakes is that they're rare, and if they happen off-shore, we have buoys that tell us of impending tsunami waves.

I.E. You predict place xyz has a 1 out of 1000 chance of experiencing a major earthquake in the next month, so you say there will be no earthquake, so that people don't get displaced and business don't get disrupted for months at a time. 999 times you'll be right and there is no earthquake, but one time you will be wrong, a bunch of people at xyz get hurt and killed, and if you get caught in a situation like these seismologists, you get sued.

Is it worth it in this case to put out recommendations for the greater good? No, it's not, and it's things like this that discourage people from entering certain professions, or if they do, they do certain things to protect themselves financially. You're not certainly getting paid enough to deal with the fees of getting sued if you're a seismologist. Same thing with medicine; why do something that will definitely help the patient and take a chance at getting sued, when you can do something that may or may not correctly help the patient, but prevents you from getting sued? Would you take the risk of losing potentially hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars, in addition to possibly losing your medical license, reputation, home, and/or family just because you tried to help a patient or two that you don't know?
 

Acer_Sheep

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What I'm curious about this topic is what it has to do with technology or computers.
 

Cannydog

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<snip>... So seismologists will now bear the brunt of their predictions and maybe next time they will be more prudent in what they say, but certainly the specter of being sued or prosecution will now play a part in their lives. This is sad in the long run.

I don't think its sad in the least! And the point is that people in these positions should be "more prudent". They should feel a strong motivation to "check their facts", then "check them again"... Simply because they are being trusted by others to be accurate in their predictions.

On the other hand, if they don't want to bear the responsibility, then they should at least be prudent enough not to make some poorly supported prognostication. In other words, they should admit that they "don't know". Or they could couch their predictions, the way many MDs do, by giving you a "worst case scenario". In which case people would be far more likely to accept the way things work out. Realizing that the "experts" really cannot accurately predict the future.
 
D

Deleted member 214115

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Any judge capable of rational thought will throw this out and any lawyer would realize this case has no substance. You cannot pin point any act of nature/God. You might as well hang every meteorologist for not predicting correctly too.

They could have been absolutely correct-within their paradigm-to say that there would not be any activity. The unfortunate consequence is that it does not work that way, and people place to much faith in that fact that it might be as someone "says." Fucking retards......
 

satsunada

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I wonder if they're trying to hunt down the relatives of the guys that didn't predict Pompeii on charges of mass murder and monetary damages. This is just a government unwilling to accept fault or a people wanting a scapegoat. I agree with an above poster though, Galileo all over again.
 

Stoly

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This certainly could be a deal breaker for future study of seismology in Italy. Seven seismologists, who held a press conference prior to an earthquake reassuring the populace that no danger was imminent, have been charged with manslaughter. The group’s assurance of no pending quake slowed the effort to evacuate the town. In the ensuing earthquake, 308 residents died as a result.

And that's why you should watch "Dante's Peak"
 

Enduring_Warrior

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I read the same thing, so I don't know how unbelievable it is. Are you a neuroscientist? If so, I'll leave commenting on this issue up to you.

I have worked with neuroscience long enough to know so. The end effect is the same. I'm simply adding that the Brian's power is not fixed. The Brain is and it isn't at the same time. It has zones and it hasn't at the same time.

Example: A man that becomes blind at his early age starts using the Visual Cortex for other functions. For example: hearing. That would be the case of Stevie Wonder.

A man that had a trauma, lost his hand could still feel his hand because his Brian "locked" the sensation of pain (he was closing his hand tightly when lost) when it was cut off. He could literally still feel his hand in pain as his nails cut through his skin. He needed mirror therapy with his other hand to cheat his brain into thinking he was opening his lost hand to release the pain.
All this kind of weird stuff happens on the neuroscience world. I'm simply saying the way he stated his claim, implicating Albert's Brain was "fixed" into certain position is not compatible with what I've stated above. Given these changes take time, I've never heard someone actually ran tests on Albert while he was alive. And it's pretty hard to determine how well distributed these areas are on a dead brain. I'm just saying that because in all my time working on neuroscience I've never heard of it.
 
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