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Those scientists in Italy are NOT  being sent to jail for failing to predict an earthquake, despite what is being reported on many websites.  Here's what Nature News (which I assume has its facts straight) reported about the trial:

"The prosecution’s closing arguments lasted from Monday morning until Tuesday afternoon, and were shared between two prosecutors, Fabio Picuti and his assistant Roberta D’Avolio. Picuti made it clear that the scientists are not accused of failing to predict the earthquake. “Even six-year old kids know that earthquakes can not be predicted,” he said. “The goal of the meeting was very different: the scientists were supposed to evaluate whether the seismic sequence could be considered a precursor event, to assess what damages had already happened at that point, to discuss how to mitigate risks.” Picuti said the panel members did not fulfill these commitments, and that their risk analysis was “flawed, inadequate, negligent and deceptive”, resulting in wrong information being given to citizens."

This seems like a much more reasonable case than the one being bandied about in many places online, which is the ludicruous "scientists jailed for failing to predict earthquake".  Of course, this doesn't mean that the case being prosecuted is correct.  But it at least seems like a reasonable question to be addressing.  (Regardless, manslaughter seems like the wrong thing to be charged with.)

Assuming Nature hasn't got this wrong, the internet failed badly this afternoon.  I saw story after story about how these scientists were being jailed for failing to predict an earthquake.  And those stories appear to have all been false, an echo chamber amplifying a catchy but false narrative.

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/09/porsecution-asks-for-four-year-sentence-in-italian-seismology-trial.html
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IMHO this is what the Internet always does, with every story; you just happened to get behind the truth of this one.

Random example off the top of my head: "EU bans claiming that drinking water can prevent dehydration."

Edit. My point isn't to say that the Internet is particularly bad at facts; it's just that the news is more about entertainment than information. Just like Reddit is great at coming up with memes, social media is great at spreading entertaining rumors. It would be a mistake to expect any different. Just my two cents.
 
Hmmm, allowing for Italian to English translation issues (and for reference here, one can usefully look at what Ferrari get up to with their use of the English Language during Grand Prix weekends as a benchmark for convoluted Italian phraseology), it might, on this occasion, be worth cutting the media some slack. I've just read the blog entry and my interpretation is: They couldn't charge them with failing to predict and earthquake - that would be stupid, with no chance of a conviction. So they charged them with not correctly assessing the risk of an earthquake in the light of the current pattern of seismic activity... Which is very close to "failing to predict an earthquake". Maybe it's completely different, maybe it isn't. I can certainly understand the shortcut here and I'm still no wiser. The prosecution's use of previous probability assessments made by the experts would seem to suggest that in fact, failing to predict was at the heart of this. 
 
The internet may not have dotted its i s and crossed its t s, but let's get some perspective. Six scientists have been gaoled for 6 years for manslaughter / omicido colposo. A court has found that they killed the victims of the earthquake. That's the ludicrous part of the story.
 
I have similar reservations about the news reporting. What if a scientist's incompetence lead to the death of someone? A hypothetical gross negligence by the Italian scientists could make them guilty of manslaughter. But how close is this to that situation? It is hard to tell from the media.
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