Monday, April 06, 2009

We can't have panic in the streets!

Better to have citizens horribly squished in their homes?

An Italian scientist told to shut up by the authorities after predicting a major earthquake around L'Aquila has demanded an official apology after dozens of people were killed in a devastating temblor this morning.

The first tremors in the Abruzzo region were felt in mid-January and have continued until today's events in the medieval city, in the Appennine mountains northeast of Rome.

One month ago, vans with loudspeakers drove around L'Aquila telling residents to evacuate their houses after Giampaolo Giuliani, a researcher at a nuclear physics institute at nearby Gran Sassow, predicted a large quake was on its way.

Mr Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for “spreading alarm” and was forced to remove his findings from the internet, although a video interview with him remains on YouTube.

I know there is yet no scientific way of predicting an earthquake and people could have fled their homes only to create a logistical nightmare for the city, and in the end have no earthquake show up. But I bet there will be jobs lost and heads rolling because of this.

Sono così spiacente, Italia.

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