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Italy Quake Predicted in Advance, and Ignored

Here's what happens when the government gets involved in suppressing scientific opinions because they don't fit within the political ideology of the party in power:

A researcher says he predicted Monday's devastating earthquake that killed dozens of people and left tens of thousands homeless in central Italy, but authorities dismissed him as a scaremonger.

Gioacchino Giuliani, an employee at a physics institute at Gran Sasso, near the badly-hit city of L'Aquila, has demanded an official apology for what he says was an unforgivable failure to act on his predictions.

"There are people who must apologize to me, and they must have the weight of what occurred on their conscience," Giuliani said after the quake hit, according to local news site Ilcapoluogo.com.

Last month, vans with loudspeakers drove around the area broadcasting Giuliani's warning after he claimed his method of predicting seismic events by radon gas emissions had forecast an imminent quake.

The scientist was reported to police for spreading false alarms and was made to remove his findings from the Internet. "They called me an imbecile," he said.

According IlCapoluogo, Giuliani gave an interview as recently as March 24 in which he repeated his claims.

Local authorities have insisted Monday's 6.3-magnitude event was part of a sequence of tremors in a quake-prone area and neither the size nor the timing was possible to predict.

Giuliani said he was monitoring radon concentrations ahead of Monday's quake, but knew he would authorities would press charges against him if he repeated his warning.

The Bush administration attempted to control global warming by denying it existed and prohibiting the EPA and others from addressing the issue because to do so ran counter to the GOP's pro-business stance.

They didn't care if the planet fried as long as corporate profits were protected...

Bad policy. Change is here.


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Comments (6)

Mac Lorry:
Here's what happens when the government gets involved in suppressing scientific opinions because they don't fit within the political ideology of the party in power:

I would go further and say that any government involvement distorts scientific research. For example, when a majority of government research funds goes to proponents of one scientific viewpoint, scientists who want to advance their careers write study summaries that support the funded view even while their data raises doubts about it.

Unlike personal beliefs, science is not static. Research into climate change continues despite the funding bias. One theory that's gaining scientific credibility is that changes in the Sun's magnetic activity causes global warming and cooling through a process that changes the influx of cosmic rays on the Earth's atmosphere. The key aspect of that theory is being tested at CERN in a project with the acronym CLOUD.

During the late 90's the Sun was magnetically more active than it had been in many decades, but now it's entered an unusually quite period with no sunspots for months at a time. As a result, the influx of cosmic rays on the Earths atmosphere is the highest it's been since such records have been kept. The CLOUD experiment seeks to discover if cosmic rays can create clouds and how effective that formation is. Full results from the CLOUD experiments won't be released until 2010, but preliminary results demonstrate the link exists. The CLOUD theory predicts that we are now entering a period of global cooling. Measurements verify that the cooling is occurring, but the IPCC says it's due to a strong la-nino event. Time will tell which theory is correct.

The theory behind the CLOUD experiments also predicts past known climate changes including those from geologic time. The solar system passes through the galactic plane about every 65 million years and each time it does the cosmic ray influx raises significantly and these occurrences correspond with known cooling events in the geological record. The theory behind the CLOUD experiments also shows why crop price records from the past 200 years correspond with the sunspot cycle.

The risk for Obama is that his carbon cap and trade policy could become junk science while he's still in office.

ke_future:

no offense, paul, but there really isn't any meat in the article. he says he was monitoring radon gas to predict earthquake activity in italy. and then he drove around blaring these warnings through loudspeakers. and got in trouble for that. so now he wants an official apology.

well, a quick google for radon gas earthquake prediction papers turned up some where people are trying to find correlations, but that they admit they are a long way off from being able to predict earthquake locations or severities. from the article there is no clear proof that he accurately predicted an earthquake in an area that is known for them. did he get (un)lucky, or did his system work? was anyone else able to duplicate his work? from what was written, it is impossible to know. it's possible that he is right, but it's also possible that he was wrong.

as far as driving around blaring warnings from loudspeakers? do i even have to go into why that is a bad idea? the article gave no indication that he had attempted to have his prediction peer reviewed. there was no indication he went to the authorities. as far as i can tell from the article he took it upon himself to spread alarm and fear.

and yes, change is here. too bad it's bad change, that will cost us lots of money with no proven upside. too bad that there still is no conclusive proof about man made climate change, or even what the causes of climate change are. too bad that the computer models can't accurately reverse predict events in the past.

you know, i would find the whole climate change theory more believable if the proponants could actually run their computer models and come out with results that could reverse predict past events. but they haven't been able to. or if they could explain why in past warming periods, the temperature rose, and then the CO2 levels rose. or if they could explain why the other planets in the solar system were also experiencing warming during the same time period.

there are a LOT of good, valid, scientific reason not to believe the doomsayers of climate change. the fact that you (and the climate change industry) denigrate anyone who doesn't believe as you do says a whole lot more about you then them.

ke_future:

whoops, my last post should have been directed at lee, not paul. i got a little scroll happy between posts and got mixed up. but the points i made still remain valid.

i'd also like to know where you (lee) got the idea that his predictions were suppressed based on political ideology? the article doesn't mention that at all.

Lee Ward:

From the article linked above:

Local authorities have insisted Monday's 6.3-magnitude event was part of a sequence of tremors in a quake-prone area and neither the size nor the timing was possible to predict.

Giuliani said he was monitoring radon concentrations ahead of Monday's quake, but knew the authorities would press charges against him if he repeated his warning.

"last night I did not know who to talk to. I could see the situation was deteriorating and there was nothing I could do," he said, according to IlCapoluogo.

A government that says flat-out "neither the size nor the timing was possible to predict" -- and would press charges against a scientist who tried to get his prediction known -- is an oppressive government - oppressive towards science anyway.

I'm not familiar enough with Italian politics to tell you why this government is oppressive towards science - maybe the Vatican has something to do with it? I don't know.

but they are.

ke_future:

so on the one hand we have Giuliani saying he correctly predicted it, and on the other hand we have the local government saying it couldn't have been been predicted and in effect Giuliani got "lucky" in an earthquake prone zone.

and it was Giuliani that said the government would prosecute him. i'm assuming if he went driving around blaring scare warnings from bullhorns.

the question then becomes was the government oppressive against science. or did they believe that giuliani's assertions were false and that his actions could lead to mass panic.

to be honest, from the reading i've done on the subject today, the methods he are using are interesting but haven't gotten to the point of being accruate or reliable. now if they could predict an earthquake in a non-prone area, that would be something worth listening to

Reagan:

No one was evacuating anyway, were they? How is it so many didn't take this guy seriously? In a relatively tiny town?

Let's talk to all of those that took the "researcher's" warning seriously and fled. This "employee" might just have been a local drunk screaming and yelling about an impending earthquake for the last 45 years. The article doesn't say Dr. So-and-so. It says "an employee" and a "researcher".

Could have been a janitor for all you know. Yeah, something's gotta give. That's for sure, buddy. Let's evacuate everything East of Yellowstone, and a little to the west. It's your call, Cletus. Just say it into that loudspeaker you bought. You'll be right, eventually.

Suppose a "researcher" predicts that Yellowstone is gonna erupt tomorrow. Imagine trying to evacuate just about everything East of Idaho based on a "researcher" like Cletus armed with his "data".

DOH.



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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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