Well, that’s the story, here, and I also read it in a Toronto subway rag, going home in a vicious snow squall undoubtedly caused by global warming.
“The tremors being felt by the population are part of a typical sequence … (which is) absolutely normal in a seismic area like the one around L’Aquila,” the civil protection agency said in a statement on the eve of that meeting.
As the media asked questions about the authorities’ alleged failure to safeguard the population ahead of the quake, the head of the National Geophysics Institute dismissed Giuliani’s predictions.
“Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have predicted it,” he said. “As far as I know nobody predicted this earthquake with precision. It is not possible to predict earthquakes.”
They are crazy? Oh well, what about some other quotes:
But there was still room for controversy. Weeks before the disaster, an Italian scientist had predicted a major quake around L’Aquila, based on concentrations of radon gas found around seismically active areas.
He was reported to police for “spreading alarm” and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet. Civil Protection assured locals at the end of March that tremors being felt were “absolutely normal” for a seismic area.
(Writing by Silvia Aloisi; additional reporting by Reuters Rome bureau; editing by Tim Pearce)
Giuliani’s warnings were wiped from the internet and he was threatened with prison for fearmongering.
Turns out he was only a week off.
“Underestimating the application of new technologies simply because they are brought forward by researchers who are not part of the reigning establishment is an act of criminal negligence and today we are paying for its consequences,” said nuclear physicist Michelangelo Ambrosio, who works with Giuliani.
But even as dust and faint cries continued to rise from the rubble of L’Aquila, Bertolaso kept insisting Giuliani – who also lost his house in the quake – was no Cassandra.
“There is no possibility of predicting an earthquake. This is a fact in the world’s scientific community,” he said.
Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi ducked defensively at a press conference when pressed about Giuliani’s warning, saying attention should be focused on relief efforts.
“We can discuss the predictability of earthquakes later,” he said.
But the question isn’t whether earthquakes can be predicted. Maybe, maybe not. It is the increasing increasing difficulty of challenging establishment views that worries me.