ROME — Seven prominent Italian earthquake experts were convicted of manslaughter on Monday and sentenced to six years in prison for failing to give adequate warning to the residents of a seismically active area in the months preceding an earthquake that killed more than 300 people. 

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Can you believe this? They are actually going to send 7 scientists to prison because they didn't know there was going to be an earthquake that day. Do they really think that our scientific understanding of plate tectonics and earthquakes has advanced that far? Well folks, I'm sorry, the geologists are working hard but this one still eludes them.

So many questions come up. What if they had said something? Would the city have been evacuated? What are they expected to say? Maybe, "Some time in the next month? week? we think there will be an earthquake" Then what happens if they are wrong? Are they sued for fraud? For lost wages - I had to leave my job when we evacuated. Can you imagine the economic damage to the businesses? My store was closed for a whole week for nothing - I lost a whole week of sales. What if I owned a factory - could I sue for a whole week of lost production? And expenses for the evacuation. "It wasn't cheap for me to move my whole family to Venice for the week." The hotel bills alone were atrocious.

Actually what will happen now is that no one in their right mind is going to want those jobs. I mean - think about it. You are a young, ambitious geologist looking for a job. Times are tough - it's a recession - you are tired of waiting tables at the local cafe. But do you apply for this job? There are 7 jobs open now - any takers? I don't think so.

Okay, enough of my ranting. But I do think this is a good argument for requiring a sound, basic education in science in our schools. You don't need a PhD to see this is wrong.