Italy persecutes scientists for failing to perform magic

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**Posted by Phineas

Really, what else can you say about nonsense like this?

Italian Seismologists Charged With Manslaughter for Not Predicting 2009 Quake

Italian government officials have accused the country’s top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Italy in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people.

A shocked spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) likened the accusations to a witch hunt.

“It has a medieval flavor to it — like witches are being put on trial,” the stunned spokesman told FoxNews.com.

Enzo Boschi, the president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), will face trial along with six other scientists and technicians, after failing to predict the future and the impending disaster.

Earthquakes are, of course, nearly impossible to predict, seismologists say. In fact, according to the website for the USGS, no major quake has ever been predicted successfully.

Not just nearly impossible, they are impossible to predict. Whether by looking for precursors such as clusters of micro-quakes or by theoretical geophysical modeling, the phenomena of earthquakes are simply too complex for our current understanding to make anything resembling a reasonable prediction. This makes liberal efforts to control a market economy look like child’s play in comparison.

Like the Italians, I live in “earthquake country.” Every so often, we get warnings about “the big one” being overdue. What they mean is that, historically, large quakes have occurred in Southern California “every so often, plus or minus a lot of years,” and so Los Angeles is bound to have one. But you see how vague that is? Yes, we’ve gone longer than the historical average for a truly big temblor, but will it happen tomorrow, next week, or in a thousand years? No one knows, and no one can say. Local media love it, of course, because it allows them to boost tepid ratings by scaring the public. Public officials give in to it, because fear rather than prudence seems to be the only way to get people to have adequate emergency supplies on hand and take other measures to mitigate risk.

But it’s all a carnival sideshow, with Madame Olga reading the cards to to tell you when the earth demons will dance. It’s a psychological binky for infantilized adults who are frightened of a future they cannot control.

Which is apparently what Italians want, and now they’re going to punish scientists for not giving it to them.

Welcome to the 21st century. Next stop, the Dark Ages.

PS: Yeah, I said I was going to stay off the Internet today, but I just wanted to scan the news, then I saw this, and… and… I’m weak.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Honoring our nation’s fallen on Memorial Day

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Truer words were never spoken:

“Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don’t just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home. For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag. No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn’t believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.” – Senator Zell Miller (D-GA), 2004 RNC

This part of his speech starts at the 5:52 mark below:

As we do our yard work today, host BBQs, converse with family and friends, snooze on the couch, go about our daily business, please take a moment to remember those who have given all – and their families, too. They always need to know that the ultimate sacrifices made by their loved ones will be forever appreciated, and never forgotten.

Boy Scout - Memorial Day

Boy Scout Hunter Penaz, 10, rests his hand on a headstone at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery after placing a flag Saturday, May, 28, 2011, in preparation for Memorial Day. After placing the flag, Penaz then told his father 'Let's go honor more soldiers, dad.' Volunteers decorated the cemetery with over 41,000 flags. AP Photo/The El Paso Times, Mark Lambie