Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Expert's Prediction about Italian Earthquake

The central Italian earthquake was apparently predicted a month in advance by Gioacchino Giuliani, an employee at a physics institute at Gran Sasso, near the badly-hit city of L'Aquila. His warnings where scoffed at by Italian authorities. They even forced him to remove information about his prediction from his website. I can see why someone would be ignored, but in a free country, it seems a bit extreme to inhibit one's basic freedom of speech. He's now demanding an apology for the legal assault upon him.

From my memory, there seems to be a series of solo scientist that are able to score one accurate earthquake prediction. Sometimes, they kinda get a second prediction right too. However, I've never seen these scientist able to continue their predictions accurately in a way that can usually save lives. Gioacchino Giuliani feels like he could've saved lives if the authorities listened to him. The problem is that even if his method proves to be repeatable, this is the first successful prediction he has made, at least that I've heard about. First time for anything is an occurrence; second time a coincidence; the third time is a pattern. For him to be recognized, he's got to get it right three times in a way that is repeatable by others and useful to authorities.

The difficulty with this is that earthquakes happen very infrequently in any one location. The factors that lead up to earthquakes vary from region to region and even quake to quake. What may be an indicator for an earthquake in one location may not work in another location.

In my opinion, I do think the authorities owe the expert an apology for violating his freedoms. However, it is understandable as to why they ignored him. There's a lot of crackpots out there making predictions all the time. The authorities have no idea who to listen to until some method (not a particular person) provides to be successful repeatably.

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