What Were They Thinking?
The news that Italian seismologists have been charged with manslaughter for failing to have precognition has been going around the blogosphere. I'd like to know what, if anything, the prosecutors were thinking. Did they imagine that Dr. Evil and his henchmen sat around a table laughing at their ability to kill innocents with a false forecast? (Is that why it's called man's laughter?) Or did they think the seismologists were paid off by real-estate interests in less quake-prone areas? Or what? Remember “motive, means, and opportunity”? They don't have a good motive.
On the other hand, this might have been pushed by the local construction industry to distract attention. Magnitude 6.3 earthquakes should not be that deadly in an area where people can afford reinforced concrete.