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Scientist Wrong = Jail Bureaucrat Wrong = Promotion

Italian court ruling sends chill through science community - RF CafeMany of us have joked about wishing we had a job like the weatherman's since it didn't seem to mater how often or egregiously he was wrong, he got to keep his job. No hurricane forecaster ever went to jail for failing to foretell the ultimate effects of a storm system, nor an avalanche expert for not predicting exactly where and when a snow pack would leave its mountain mooring. It would be unreasonable to expect that level of prognostication from practitioners of the scientific method, right? Not anymore. A new precedent has just been set by an Italian court that found six earthquake experts guilty of manslaughter for not properly warning of the 2009 earthquake in the city of L'Aquila that killed 308 people. They can kiss freedom goodbye for 6 years (maybe less with good behavior). So, bureaucrats who routinely fail to predict untold numbers of financial and civil catastrophes that have directly or indirectly caused loss of life will continue to get promotions and pay raises while scientists who fail to predict a *&%$@ natural phenomenon now go to jail. Congratulations, Italy, you have set an example that will soon be coming to a country near the rest of us.

Posted  October 2012
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    Kirt Blattenberger,

RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

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