Now Playing Tracks


The Aftershocks

Seven of Italy’s top scientists were convicted of manslaughter following a catastrophic quake. Has the country criminalized science? 

This is a stunning story, written by David Wolman for Matter. Not only is it absolutely insane to me that anyone could convict scientists for inaccurately predicting something as difficult to predict as an earthquake, but this bit about the compounding factor of how hard it is to describe the subtleties of prediction in the Italian language is fascinating: 

"Communicating forecasts in Italian is extra challenging. In English, we can use forecast instead of prediction to convey uncertainty. In Italian, there is only previsione, which has a strong deterministic connotation.

The divine cruelty of what happened in L’Aquila is that when Boschi said that a major earthquake was “improbable,” he was — and remains — correct. But where a career scientist hears the word improbable and knows that rare events do occur, a non-scientist hears improbable as shorthand for ain’t gonna happen.”

I also absolutely love the animation (done by rebeccamock). I saw the GIF on my dashboard days ago and couldn’t stop thinking about how cool it was, and then I happened upon the story from a different link and was so pleased that it was made for this article. 

Go read this story. It’s truly unbelievable.

To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union