Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth quakes

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Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth quakes

Postby PeterCai » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

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Spoiler:
Seven scientists and experts on trial for manslaughter linked to an earthquake in Italy that killed more than 300 people have been convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, a court has ruled.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:49 pm UTC

That seems...terrible. I know if I were a bright young scientist in Italy now, I'd be LESS likely to get into such a career. So, probably not going to help solve anything in the long term.

People love finding someone to blame, tho.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby darkwombat » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:34 pm UTC

Lunacy. Complete and utter lunacy. If Italy wants someone to hold accountable for not warning them of natural disasters, they should arrest practitioners from a psychic hotline, because they at least CLAIM to be able to predict the future.

If I was a seismologist in Italy, I'd be giving my country's legal system a hearty "vaffanculo" and emigrating to a country that has managed to move past the "Inquisition" mindset that clearly is prevalent there.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Negated » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:35 pm UTC

There were minor quakes happening for months before the major earthquake. I don't know what the scientists could have done differently. They couldn't tell people to move away at the slightest hint of earthquake because of the economic cost and the "cry wolf" effect. They couldn't remain silent because their job was to advice people. Now they cannot tell people to stay because, if this case is to become a precedent, they are responsible for any life loss. Any decision from this point on will be based on minimizing the risk of becoming responsible for the damage, rather than minimizing the risk to the public in general.

It is a silly decision, but then, it's Italy.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby elasto » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:00 pm UTC

Any decision from this point on will be based on minimizing the risk of becoming responsible for the damage, rather than minimizing the risk to the public in general.

It is a silly decision, but then, it's Italy.

I hear that's one of the factor's behind spiraling health costs in the US: The over-precautionary nature of expensive testing and medication for fear of professional liability.

Mind you, that's only financial liability. These scientists are being held personally liable - which is doubly crazy...

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby sardia » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
Any decision from this point on will be based on minimizing the risk of becoming responsible for the damage, rather than minimizing the risk to the public in general.

It is a silly decision, but then, it's Italy.

I hear that's one of the factor's behind spiraling health costs in the US: The over-precautionary nature of expensive testing and medication for fear of professional liability.

Mind you, that's only financial liability. These scientists are being held personally liable - which is doubly crazy...

It has more to do with financial incentives that pay out only if you do something, aka test, instead of doing a test just once. But that's OT.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:28 pm UTC

Yeah, If we started imprisoning doctors for having a patient die...crap, everything would go straight in the crapper.

I imagine that's about what's gonna happen to Italy's seismologist community. Finding someone to blame is an easy political fix in a bad situation, since it takes the spotlight off the politician, but it's pretty damned bad as any sort of rational cure.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby poxic » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:41 pm UTC

I'm guessing that it's driven by public outrage (from the idiots) about losses due to the quake, and politicians want to find a scapegoat so they don't get arsekicked themselves. In a very short time, the seismologists are probably going to be sprung/have their sentences commuted or rescinded.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Adam H » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:02 pm UTC

This is pathetic. It isn't even a case of scientists being wrong. From what I can tell, the scientists did not say that a major earthquake would not occur - they said that a major earthquake was not more likely to occur because of recent increased seismic activity. So their findings can't even be proven wrong.

The ONLY thing they did wrong (indeed, it seems like this is the only thing the prosecution is accusing them of) is that they disclosed their findings to complete morons.

There's a lesson to be learned here, and it's really depressing: the public is too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted with science.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:10 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:There's a lesson to be learned here, and it's really depressing: the public is too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted with science.


Too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted to pick who to jail, at any rate.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Derek » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:26 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Adam H wrote:There's a lesson to be learned here, and it's really depressing: the public is too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted with science.

Too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted to pick who to jail, at any rate.

Actually the verdict was reached by a judge, not a jury. Which is perhaps even more sad.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby folkhero » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:10 pm UTC

Derek wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Too stupid and irresponsible to be trusted to pick who to jail, at any rate.

Actually the verdict was reached by a judge, not a jury. Which is perhaps even more sad.

If this really is all about political point scoring and scapegoating, then the seismologists probably would have had better luck with an anonymous jury determining their guilt rather than a prominent government official.
To all law enforcement entities, this is not an admission of guilt...

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby yurell » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:17 pm UTC

Multiple manslaughter? Did they cause the bloody earthquake, then?
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby poxic » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:If this really is all about political point scoring and scapegoating, then the seismologists probably would have had better luck with an anonymous jury determining their guilt rather than a prominent government official.

My thoughts also. "No jury" sounds a lot like "railroaded", though IANAL.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby buddy431 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:46 am UTC

The perception among at least some Italians seems to be that there was deliberate misinformation on the scientists, and more so the public officials' part. Something about getting a recording of the official basically saying that it's a publicity stunt to reassure the town, or something. It still sounds stupid, but it's certainly possible that this is more than just an honest prediction that was unfortunately wrong.

http://inchieste.repubblica.it/it/repubblica/rep-it/2012/01/18/news/processo_maddalena_g8_terremoto_l_aquila-28302134/

Anyways, my prediction is that this trial was largely to appease the townsfolk who lost loved ones in the quake, and that these guys will be let off upon appeal. Of course I'm only willing to say that because I live in a country that doesn't typically throw people in jail for making wrong predictions...
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby lutzj » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:54 am UTC

poxic wrote:"No jury" sounds a lot like "railroaded", though IANAL.


Law works differently outside of the common-law-dominated Anglosphere. For better or worse, juries are simply not a thing in Italy.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby yurell » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:12 am UTC

Hopefully it gets thrown out on appeal.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:43 am UTC

So what's next, throwing all the CEOs in jail for 6 years for failing to make the Italian economy work?

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Dauric » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:23 am UTC

The really nasty tragedy here is that it will put a damper on seismic and geological research in Italy, from foreign researchers as well as Italians, -combined with- Italy's active geological makeup and history.

Previous thread on the topic. I assume these are the same scientists, which would mean they've been in legal limbo for two years.

Definitely -not- a shining moment for Italy, in almost every facet.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:24 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
poxic wrote:"No jury" sounds a lot like "railroaded", though IANAL.


Law works differently outside of the common-law-dominated Anglosphere. For better or worse, juries are simply not a thing in Italy.


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say "worse" in this case.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Arrian » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:47 pm UTC

buddy431 wrote:Anyways, my prediction is that this trial was largely to appease the townsfolk who lost loved ones in the quake, and that these guys will be let off upon appeal. Of course I'm only willing to say that because I live in a country that doesn't typically throw people in jail for making wrong predictions...


At this point, I'm not confident about that. When I heard the scientists had been charged, I figured it was an overzealous prosecutor looking to do some demagoguery, and they would be cleared in trial. But now that they've been convicted, I don't know. Either the Italian legal system is stacked against them in some way, they got an incompetent judge, or there's something else that we're not hearing about which is a legitimate (ish?) reason to convict them. Only one of those three situations will give them a chance to be set free on appeal, so I'm a lot more bearish on their future now than I was initially.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby induction » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:02 pm UTC

I don't know if this is well known outside the geophysical community, but seismologists do not and can not predict earthquakes. Unlike weather forecasts, earthquake risks don't change from day to day or even year to year. The best anyone can do is analyze the historical data and make general statistical statements about it, like 'there is a x% probability that this area will experience a magnitude y earthquake in the next z years or decades.' It has nothing to do with what happened yesterday or last week or even last year. The standard reply to all media inquiries about whether an earthquake is coming is 'probably not tomorrow, but sooner or later, so retrofit your buildings.' In the field of seismology, claims of earthquake prediction are given roughly the same weight as those by astrologers.

In this case, the committee truthfully said that the recent tremors do not mean that a big quake was coming, but then went out on a limb and told people not to worry about earthquakes:

the article wrote:In one now-infamous interview included in the prosecutors' case, commission member Bernardo De Bernardis of the national civil protection department responded to a question about whether residents should just sit back and relax with a glass of wine.

"Absolutely, absolutely a Montepulciano doc," he responded, referring to a high-end red. "This seems important."

Such a reassuring verdict by commission members "persuaded the victims to stay at home," La Repubblica newspaper quoted the indictment as saying.


This makes them easily scapegoatable in a fiddling-while-Rome-burns kind of way. In reality, you can't just shut down a society if you think an earthquake is coming. From the first link:
giving a warning — crying "wolf!" — of an earthquake that does not occur also incurs a cost. Not just of the emergency measures themselves, but of major civil and economic disruption. Geller[27] describes the arrangements made in Japan:

... if ‘anomalous data’ are recorded, an ‘Earthquake Assessment Committee’ (EAC) will be convened within two hours. Within 30 min the EAC must make a black (alarm) or white (no alarm) recommendation. The former would cause the Prime Minister to issue the alarm, which would shut down all expressways, bullet trains, schools, factories, etc., in an area covering seven prefectures. Tokyo would also be effectively shut down.

The cost of such measures has been estimated at US$7 billion per day. False alarms (including alarms that are cancelled) also undermine the credibility, and thereby the effectiveness, of future warnings.[5]

The quandry is that even when increased seismicity suggests that an earthquake is imminent in a given area, there is no way of getting definite knowledge of whether there will be a larger quake of any given magnitude, or when.[28] If scientists and the civil authorities knew that (for instance) in some area there was an 80% chance of a large (M > 6) earthquake in a matter of a day or two, they would see a clear benefit in issuing an alarm. But is it worth the cost of civil and economic disruption and possible panic, and the corrosive effect a false alarm has on future alarms, if the chance is only 5%?

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby johnny_7713 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

yurell wrote:Multiple manslaughter? Did they cause the bloody earthquake, then?


If they had caused the earthquake wouldn't it be murder? IANAL, but I think Italy may not have an equivalent to 'negligent homicide' separate from manslaughter, or even if they do, might go to manslaughter in larger cases. IIRC in Italy several pilots who were blamed for causing fatal accidents (through pilot error) have been charged with manslaughter in the past. Basically in Italy manslaughter, or the equivalent thereof, also covers 'causing a death due to (gross) negligence'.

None of which should be taken to imply that I agree with the verdict however.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

If they were able to cause earthquakes all willy-nilly, I wouldn't call them murderers. I'd call them "sir", in very polite tones.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby kiklion » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:27 pm UTC

I read elsewhere that they were not being sentenced for being wrong, but because they were hired to do a job and didn't do it, and if they had properly done their job they would have came out with different findings. Like if they had followed a standard set of tests and interpretations of the data then they would have said there is probably going to be an earthquake, but instead the scientists did their own thing and came out with what they did.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby induction » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

kiklion wrote:I read elsewhere that they were not being sentenced for being wrong, but because they were hired to do a job and didn't do it, and if they had properly done their job they would have came out with different findings. Like if they had followed a standard set of tests and interpretations of the data then they would have said there is probably going to be an earthquake, but instead the scientists did their own thing and came out with what they did.


Their 'findings' were 'it's not possible to predict earthquakes.' This is unquestionably true. They didn't even need to have a meeting. The scientists did not make any public statements about the meeting, politicians did.

Nature wrote:On 20 January the Italian newspaper La Repubblica revealed a taped telephone conversation between Guido Bertolaso, then head of the Civil Protection, and Daniela Stati, an officer of the L’Aquila Provincial Administration, recorded the day before the meeting. Bertolaso can be heard saying, of the seismologists now on trial: “I will send them there mostly as a media move. They are the best experts in Italy, and they will say that it is better to have a hundred shocks at 4 Richter than silence, because a hundred shocks release energy, so that there will never be the big one.”


Scientific American wrote:The experts met for several hours, discounted the radon-based prediction, and agreed that the tremors could not help predict whether there would be a major quake. The scientists then left town without speaking at all. A local civil defense official who ran the meeting was asked about it by a reporter and casually and inaccurately described the discussions. “The scientific community tells us there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy. The situation looks favourable.” Dr. Bernardo De Bernardinis, deputy chief of Italy’s Civil Protection Department, added laconically that local citizens should go have a glass of wine. A little over a week later 309 of them were dead.


Bernardinis made the statements. He was convicted along with six scientists, who made no statements of any kind about their meeting.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Adam H » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:38 pm UTC

The experts met for several hours, discounted the radon-based prediction, and agreed that the tremors could not help predict whether there would be a major quake.

This is the only part that might warrant an investigation. Was discounting the radon-based prediction gross negligence? If so, then the case would be at least debatable.

It seems like there should have been expert witnesses testifying for the prosecution. That's something I'd be interested in hearing about...
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby induction » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:Was discounting the radon-based prediction gross negligence?


No. There are currently no successful earthquake prediction techniques. From Geophysical Journal International:

Robert J. Geller wrote:Earthquake prediction research has been conducted for over 100 years with no obvious successes. Claims of breakthroughs have failed to withstand scrutiny. Extensive searches have failed to find reliable precursors. Theoretical work suggests that faulting is a non-linear process which is highly sensitive to unmeasurably fine details of the state of the Earth in a large volume, not just in the immediate vicinity of the hypocentre. Any small earthquake thus has some probability of cascading into a large event. Reliable issuing of alarms of imminent large earthquakes appears to be effectively impossible.


Radon, like most other possible precursors, has far too many false positives (radon spikes with no earthquake) and false negatives (earthquakes with no radon spike) to be useful:

Wikipedia wrote:Most rock contains small amount of gases that can be isotopically distinguished from the normal atmospheric gases. There are reports of spikes in the concentrations of such gases prior to a major earthquake; this has been attributed to release due to pre-seismic stress or fracturing of the rock. One of these gases is composed of radon, an element produced by radioactive decay of the trace amounts of uranium present in most rock.[59]

Radon is attractive as a potential earthquake predictor because being radioactive it is easily detected),[60] and its short half-life (3.8 days) makes it sensitive to short-term fluctuations. A 2009 review[61] found 125 reports of changes in radon emissions prior to 86 earthquakes since 1966. But as the ICEF found in its review, the earthquakes with which these changes are supposedly linked were up to a thousand kilometers away, months later, and at all magnitudes. In some cases the anomalies were observed at a distant site, but not at closer sites.The ICEF found "no significant correlation".[62] Another review concluded that in some cases changes in radon levels preceded an earthquake, but a correlation is not yet firmly established.[63]


(emphasis mine)

Scientific American wrote:According to John Rundle, director of the California Institute for Hazard Research, a joint program between different University of California (U.C.) schools, the frequent release of that gas results in far too many false alarms to make the system trustworthy. Radon has been associated with seismic events, and earthquakes can cause the release of radon and other ground gases. The problem is, he says, many phenomena other than large earthquakes also result in radon release, including rainfall and atmospheric pressure changes.

"It has too many false positives to be useful," says Rundle, a professor of physics, geology and engineering at U.C. Davis. ""We actually do forecasting but we do that using probabilities. We can't say that an earthquake is going to happen at this point in time and space."

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby yurell » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

Why isn't whoever was in charge of enforcing the building code not in prison, anyway? Seems to me they were orders of magnitude more responsible for deaths than the scientists.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby snow5379 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:14 am UTC

Holy fuck. Isn't that a bit uncivilized? It's a natural disaster. No one's at fault.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby dudiobugtron » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:38 am UTC

As I read it, they're not blaming them for the earthquake, they're blaming them for telling the public that they shouldn't worry about a possible earthquake. According to the other posters in this thread, they had no sound basis for doing so. I think if they're going to tell people there's no cause for concern, they should have more to go on than "we can't tell if there is any cause for concern or not".

Here are some illustrative examples:

Reporter: So, official Government Earthquake peeps, should we worry about the Earthquake?
Scientists: No, definitely not. You'll be fine. *Cross fingers*.

Reporter: So, official Government Earthquake peeps, should we worry about the Earthquake?
Scientists: Yes, definitely. It's time to panic.

Reporter: So, official Government Earthquake peeps, should we worry about the Earthquake?
Scientists: We're not overly worried, but you never can tell with earthquakes. We don't think there's a big chance of an earthquake, but we could be wrong. All we can do is give you as much information as we can, and let you decide whether you ought to worry or not.


Don't forget that everyday people don't necessarily know whether you can predict earthquakes accurately or not, and are also likely to trust an official telling them they don't need to worry. If instead of making the decision for them, the government scientists had tried to educate the people, then IMO they wouldn't have done anything wrong.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby yurell » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:42 am UTC

dudiobugtron wrote:If instead of making the decision for them, the government scientists had tried to educate the people, then IMO they wouldn't have done anything wrong.


Do you have any idea how difficult that is, how unwilling people are to learn, how much information is available that the already choose to ignore, how unwilling reporters are willing to put their 'short' news story as an educational piece etc.?
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby dudiobugtron » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:46 am UTC

yurell wrote:
dudiobugtron wrote:If instead of making the decision for them, the government scientists had tried to educate the people, then IMO they wouldn't have done anything wrong.


Do you have any idea how difficult that is, how unwilling people are to learn, how much information is available that the already choose to ignore, how unwilling reporters are willing to put their 'short' news story as an educational piece etc.?

Yes. I agree that ignorance is intrenched in the system, and that people don't do try to do anything about it. I wish that they did, though.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby induction » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:40 am UTC

dudiobugtron wrote:As I read it, they're not blaming them for the earthquake, they're blaming them for telling the public that they shouldn't worry about a possible earthquake. According to the other posters in this thread, they had no sound basis for doing so. I think if they're going to tell people there's no cause for concern, they should have more to go on than "we can't tell if there is any cause for concern or not".

Here are some illustrative examples:

Reporter: So, official Government Earthquake peeps, should we worry about the Earthquake?
Scientists: No, definitely not. You'll be fine. *Cross fingers*.

Reporter: So, official Government Earthquake peeps, should we worry about the Earthquake?
Scientists: Yes, definitely. It's time to panic.

Reporter: So, official Government Earthquake peeps, should we worry about the Earthquake?
Scientists: We're not overly worried, but you never can tell with earthquakes. We don't think there's a big chance of an earthquake, but we could be wrong. All we can do is give you as much information as we can, and let you decide whether you ought to worry or not.


Don't forget that everyday people don't necessarily know whether you can predict earthquakes accurately or not, and are also likely to trust an official telling them they don't need to worry. If instead of making the decision for them, the government scientists had tried to educate the people, then IMO they wouldn't have done anything wrong.


None of your illustrations reflect what happened though. Your confusing the statements of a government official (Bernardo De Bernardinis, of the Civil Protection Agency) with those of the scientists. It was more like this:

Guido Bertolaso (behind closed doors): Bernardo, the media keeps bugging me about the recent small earthquakes. They're getting people upset. Get the scientists to say that these earthquakes are releasing energy slowly and preventing a large earthquake.
Bernardinis: Ok. (To scientists) What do you think about these recent earthquakes?
Scientists: We can't predict earthquakes. The recent small earthquakes don't change that. We've been telling you for years that this place is seismically active and you should be retrofitting your buildings, that hasn't changed either. Why are we here?
Bernardinis: What about the radon?
Scientists: Doesn't mean shit.
(Scientists go home.)
Bernardinis: (To press) The scientists said that the small earthquakes are releasing energy slowly and preventing a large earthquake. Relax. Have some wine.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Adacore » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:17 am UTC

You've got to strike a tricky balance too - if you don't tell people not to worry then they will worry, and the negative effects of that on both health and general productivity could be greater than those of reduced precautions taken if an earthquake were to hit. There's a fatal earthquake about once every other year in Italy (from Wikipedia, there have been 29 in the last 50 years, with a median of 3 deaths per event, and a mean of 128 deaths per year). I have no idea if telling everyone in Italy that they could be at risk of an earthquake would increase mortality/morbidity by more than 128 deaths per year (that's 0.00021% of Italy's population, or 0.021% of the deaths in Italy), but it may well, so the responsible thing from a public health perspective might be to tell them not to worry. Of course, at least some (probably most) of those earthquake deaths are going to happen even if you tell people they should be worried, so you're probably talking increased mortality from earthquakes an order of magnitude lower than that. I'd guess the 'you should worry' message would have a larger impact than the less than 0.002% reduction in death rate the warning would give.

It's similar to the way screening for certain cancers is thought by many doctors to be counterproductive as, while it can significantly reduce the mortality from that cancer in the tiny proportion of the population that has it, it also slightly increases the mortality of the whole population who are worried by the screening process itself, and this increase outweighs the benefit.
Last edited by Adacore on Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:00 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby dudiobugtron » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:30 pm UTC

induction wrote:None of your illustrations reflect what happened though. Your confusing the statements of a government official (Bernardo De Bernardinis, of the Civil Protection Agency) with those of the scientists. It was more like this:

Guido Bertolaso (behind closed doors): Bernardo, the media keeps bugging me about the recent small earthquakes. They're getting people upset. Get the scientists to say that these earthquakes are releasing energy slowly and preventing a large earthquake.
Bernardinis: Ok. (To scientists) What do you think about these recent earthquakes?
Scientists: We can't predict earthquakes. The recent small earthquakes don't change that. We've been telling you for years that this place is seismically active and you should be retrofitting your buildings, that hasn't changed either. Why are we here?
Bernardinis: What about the radon?
Scientists: Doesn't mean shit.
(Scientists go home.)
Bernardinis: (To press) The scientists said that the small earthquakes are releasing energy slowly and preventing a large earthquake. Relax. Have some wine.


I stand corrected! I thought the scientists were more involved in the spurious press release.

Here's a link I found which explains it the way you have as well:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... earthquake
Image

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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Technical Ben » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:35 am UTC

So it's one group shifting blame to another. Sad. :(
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:00 pm UTC

yurell wrote:Why isn't whoever was in charge of enforcing the building code not in prison, anyway? Seems to me they were orders of magnitude more responsible for deaths than the scientists.
Shaking things up with a pun, eh?
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby lutzj » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:17 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
yurell wrote:Why isn't whoever was in charge of enforcing the building code not in prison, anyway? Seems to me they were orders of magnitude more responsible for deaths than the scientists.
Shaking things up with a pun, eh?


Let's be serious. This is a moving issue for a lot of people and it threatens to open a major social chasm.
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Re: Italian seismologists sentenced to 6 years for earth qua

Postby induction » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:
yurell wrote:Why isn't whoever was in charge of enforcing the building code not in prison, anyway? Seems to me they were orders of magnitude more responsible for deaths than the scientists.
Shaking things up with a pun, eh?


Let's be serious. This is a moving issue for a lot of people and it threatens to open a major social chasm.


There's no danger. Have some wine.


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