Earthquakes and Economic Forecasts

“The verdict is perverse and the sentence ludicrous,” the respected scientific journal Nature writes in disgust.

Just when we’d though we’d seen it all…our War on You file goes international today with a story that’s so unreasonable it surprised even our most cynical sensibilities.

“Six Italian scientists and a government official,” Sky News reports, “have been found guilty of multiple manslaughter for underestimating the risks of a killer earthquake in L’Aquila in 2009.”

Seven men were sentenced six years in jail and ordered to pay more than $11.5 million in damages to the survivors in L’Aquila… for not having sufficient psychic abilities.

“This is a historic sentence,” one proponent and lawyer Wania della Vigna said, “above all for the victims.” Well, she got the first part right.

“It also marks step forward for the justice system,” an obviously confused Vigna goes on, “and I hope it will lead to change, not only in Italy, but across the world.”

“They are not guilty of anything,” the surprisingly more sensible government lawyer Carlo Sica said, “the earthquake’s no one’s fault.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Sica, there’s no place for logic when it comes to pointing fingers.

On the other hand, the sentence sets an interesting precedent.

What might be a fitting punishment for failed forecasts along the lines of “It’s a pretty unlikely possibility — we’ve never had a decline in housing prices on a nationwide basis”?

Among other whoppers, compiled here for the historical record…

Click the video to see more “Prophecies of the Beard”

Dave Gonigam