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  1. Default seismologist convicted manslaughter



    They didn't communicate or acknowledge the threat in the most profficient way. At face value I just find this silly, all things considered.

  2. Interdimensional Rift Straight Male
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    Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    This is so ridiculous that it is hilarious.

  3. Nuclear testing facility Straight Male
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    Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    Just when you think humanity is getting past the whole Inquisition thing... Now scientists are properly damned if they do and damned if they don't.

  4. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    So let me get this straight, they are being sent to jail because they didn't foresee the damage a major earthquake would have had on the city a few days before one happen to hit?

    Not sure but seeing as one quake was on the 15th century and the other was on the 18th century, shouldn't said city had to prepare for the next one from some time ago? like from a few decades ago?

    I really don't get why cities in seismically active areas have to wait for a strong quake before passing on laws to prevent as much damage as possible.

  5. ~Thrust Into It~ Straight Male
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    Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    They are dumb.

  6. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    That's like sending a doctor to jail for giving a wrong diagnosis based on probabilities. Guess the law doesn't really understand what a probability is.

  7. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    LOLOLOL we discussed this a few years ago in my geology class. It's so ridiculously stupid. They're basically asking the seismologist to do the impossible. Right now, our technology can give a city a grand total of maybe 1-2 seconds heads up before an earthquake hits, how the hell are seismologists supposed to do the (basically) impossible?

  8. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    If I'm reading correctly, they were not asked to predict earthquakes. They were asked/tasked with providing damage assessment which is possible by studying/researching the geologic/seismic record and the infrastructure of the area.

    I don't agree with convicting the scientists with manslaughter. But there might have been some sort of negligence from one part or the other.

  9. Nuclear testing facility Straight Male
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    Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    The difficulty with this idea is how is it possible to bring them to trial without undue bias? ANY criminal charges brought against the seismologists would go through a jury full of rather angry people who would perceive it as the responsibility of the scientists to prevent/protect against such things.

    Realistically criminal charges are NOT the answer. As the article alludes, it will be very counterproductive and reward scientists who make no predictions or only the most dire predictions about possible future quakes. It would be much more productive to create legislation requiring better building codes to prevent earthquake damage.

    A law to prevent politicians from lying their asses off to try and score political points could be handy too, but predicting future earthquakes sounds more likely

  10. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    What jury? Do you even know why they were charged?

  11. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    So apparently it's better to drive people into a frenzy by declaring that every tremor could kill you and you wouldn't be responsible for all of the economic losses and potential deaths caused by people scrambling to escape. Oh, the more one knows. /sarcasm

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the exact opposite of this happen when a scientist was alerted to the possibility of a super tsunami but was shut up by the Thailand government because they didn't want to suffer the loss from decrease in tourist visits? As the city is in an earthquake-prone area that has had three major earthquakes, I agree that they should be held liable if they withheld a lot of information on purpose but the general populace needs to learn that scientists have a duty to not mislead, and when you're getting tons of seismic readings in an area that has had just two major earthquakes a long time ago it is imperative that they don't send the crowds flying into a panic. Certainly, throwing them into jail instead of addressing the issue that this is a city that needs better planning for earthquakes is beyond stupid because it doesn't do anything to prevent more of these scenarios from happening.
    Last edited by Curtiss; 2012-10-23 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Fixing a sentence to make more sense.

  12. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    It's called neglillence, if you check houses here in peru you would be surprised because LOTS of them could just fall whit a earthquake of 5 grades right now. Personally i know that if an earthquake of 7 grades or higher(in richter scale) happens right now while i am in my department, i am probably dead, but seriously, 3 decades? That's not sismological active i think, at least not at all if you see eartjquakes here or in japan.

  13. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    The funniest part I see about this case is that they encourage scientists to cry wolf on any circumstance that could cause death. That city will be in constant panic

  14. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    I'm going through the article in Science right now. Even if it's true that the citizens are less angry over the scientists not predicting the earthquake and more that proper information was not given, the very fact that they admit that area has a lot of tremors shows how silly it'd be for scientists to drop their instruments every time one slightly larger than usual happened.

    According to the case, it seems like the scientists are being charged mostly because the series of tremors prior to this earthquake was not addressed appropriately and citizens were not given enough information to decide if they should escape or not. This is a very bad precedent to have if it results in scientists always throwing up alarms even if it's only possible as this is already one of those places where the scientists would be pulling the bell strings then. And then there's this quote:

    It would definitely be troubling if the scientists really did insist that there was absolutely no need to make buildings with stronger structures but let's be realistic, they don't get to decide all of that on their own (And we don't know the whole story, what else was said?). Furthermore, the article also notes that L'Aquilla is a medieval city and the task of strengthening the buildings while maintaining the buildings itself doesn't seem like it'd be too easy and would likely have been met with objections.

    Those scientists don't deserve to be convicted of a charge like manslaughter but assessing the work required to strengthen buildings in the area should definitely be done (And is far more important than giving the angry public something to shoot IMO). There's also a need to evaluate how much risk is too risky for a disaster; should we consider a 2% probability as being too risky; should there be a threshold for scientists to base their reports depending on the area's earthquake history?

    What I personally feel about this after combing through both articles is that either one is not good: Too little warnings and too many reassurances lead to another L'Aquilla, too many warnings lead to residents not caring, which in turn leads to another L'Aquilla. I simply do not think it's fair for the scientists to be prosecuted as the increasing series of tremors prior to this may have terrified the residents but 1) It was still a far cry from the actual earthquake that killed 600+ people and 2) There's no concrete evidence that it would have become an earthquake (As according to the scientists. That an earthquake did in fact happen this time is secondary considering that they were pretty much hired to conclude based on their findings if people ought to pack up or stay put). We're not talking about something like a 9.0 scale earthquake happening underwater that will definitely trigger a tsunami; something like this appears to be fairly common to the seismologists.

  15. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    @ DarkForge: Puerto Rico is 100 years overdue for an 8 and we rarely get anything above 5. Doesn't mean the area is not active. Plus geologically speaking, 60 years is not even a grain of sand in the time scale.

    And keep in mind that Japan and S.America sits next to the "ring of fire", the most tectonically active boundaries on Earth. Any other plate in comparison to that will seem like child's play. Heck, I bet Japan laughs at 5 pointers while we on the Caribbean behave like it's the end of the world every time we get anything close to a 5.

    @ KhainiWest: That's pretty much what they are tasked to do. The population here is on a constant silent "panic mode" due to the agencies constant reminder of major earthquake potential. Not saying it's a bad thing though. If on an instant of panic the people are able to instinctively "duck-cover-hold", the odds of having more people surviving are better than if you just leave them do their standard "pomegranate-pray-run". And if it does not work, at least the scientists here will not be charged with manslaughter.

  16. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    But at what point would the warnings be too many? I don't blame the residents for being terrified but it's pretty much a given that the seismologists encounter things like this all the time so their understanding of the situation is based more on whether this reading actually says "Oh pineapple, better start moving out!" than working on what people are feeling they should say (It's implied that they were somewhat pressured to give a definite yes or no answer when they couldn't). You also have to consider the impact on economy and human lives every time people are told to evacuate so it's really not so simple as to say one more warning is better than none as the Earth on the whole is actually very active, we just don't notice it in our daily lives.

  17. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    I know that but i am refering to the part where he says that italy is a seismic zone, in theory all the earth is a seismic zone but, as you said, the ones in the ring of fire are actually the more actives...

  18. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    This is not about warnings. Earthquakes are not like hurricanes or volcanoes that you can warn and propose evacuations. It's about educating/preparing the populace to deal with the event whenever it comes and helping the government prepare for such events to ~prevent~ as many causalities as possible (this is where tsunami areas, building codes and the reinforcement/demolition of weak/dangerous structures etc comes into play). The potential danger is part of the area in which you live in, and as grim as it may sound, the populace should learn to live with that potential danger looming over their head. The government and related agencies haves the duty of informing/educating that populace, so constant exposure to information regarding to a possible major seismic event is never "too much".

    And the scientist haves the duty to provide facts to the populace (as annoyingly probabilistic/uncertain those answers may be). If he breaks and misinforms the public in an attempt to "appease the populace" then part of the blame should fall to him. Though of course, I'm not with charging them with manslaughter. Additionally, that this city was so unprepared to face such an event couldn't possibly be the fault of these scientists alone.

    Sadly though, it seems that this whole thing is about scientists being played and used as scapegoats. The tittle should be changed to "seismologists used as scapegoats for the sake of irresponsible government officials". No wonder meteorologists are such alarmists. Poor them.

    Edit: Also, clusters are not precursors to major seismic events. The opposite; that a lot of minor quakes dissipate energy reducing the chances of major earthquakes occurring is not true either. In short, there's no way to predict major earthquakes period. Seismology is a branch of science that is pretty much just starting, it's on a research period if you will. So a seismologist can't go "Oh pineapple, better start moving out!" because their readings don't tell them anything of the sort. Sadly.

  19. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    Like Alex said, Earthquakes are highly unpredictable. Hell, earthquakes can happen in non-seismic regions or places where you would not expect to have an earthquake (see the East Coast U.S. earthquake a year or two ago). That East Coast region pretty much would never have an earthquake solely based on what we know on tectonic plates- we expect earthquakes on Subduction zones and not in the middle of plates. Essentially what this trial is asking of seismologist is to know exactly when and where earthquakes are going to happen, tell them that they are completely responsible for an Act of God, and that they should have known better. The only warning that they could have given was basically "This region has a history of large earthquakes- we predict that an earthquake will happen at X% chance within the next half a century- maybe. Sure Earthquakes appear to happen in cycles, but even that isn't accurate to the dot- by that logic, San Francisco should have been hit by a 8.9 earthquake by now. What the country should be worried about (instead of blaming the scientists and researchers) would be to use this as a teaching opportunity to educate the populace about the dangers of earthquakes. You can't exactly order an evacuation for something that you won't know will hit. It's like suing the police for not stopping a random murder. They should be accountable for not having been more careful with the assessment of buildings as it is their fault for assessing the buildings as "appropriate for a strong earthquake", but manslaughter seems to be to extreme of a punishment for what basically amounts to doing their job. A terrible job, but a job nonetheless.

    The reason other countries are more prepared is because their earthquakes happen much more frequently- Japan for example. Because they have had many earthquakes in recent years, their building code is up to the geological standard. If anything, the Italians should now rebuild their buildings to standard. And also get some better fricken scientists that will do their jobs correctly.

  20. Default Re: seismologist convicted manslaughter

    They were charged for pocketing money instead of doing proper research and work needed to prevent the death of 19 people.



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