Put on your serious hats, folks. Today’s story has a moral.
In April 2009, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the city of L’Aquila in central Italy. With over 300 dead, hundreds more injured, and thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed, it was the worst earthquake to strike Italy in decades. And now a group of scientists are being blamed for it.
|The L'Aquila earthquake devastated |
several towns in 2009
For several months before the quake, the region had been experiencing small tremors, and a meeting was held to discuss whether or not there was cause for alarm. A panel of seven earthquake experts decided that these tremors were not unusual for the region, and stated that it was unlikely that a major quake was coming. The disaster occurred a week later, and now, Judge Giuseppe Romano Gargarella is ordering that the seven scientists be tried for manslaughter. The judge claims that the experts’ information was faulty and misleading, and that, had the scientists done a better job predicting the earthquake, an evacuation could have been planned, and lives could have been saved.
But there’s a problem with that argument: You cannot predict an earthquake.