Italian Quake Verdicts Rattle Researchers

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Science  21 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6114, pp. 1526
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6114.1526

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From bioterrorism and disease outbreaks to hurricanes and earthquakes, researchers are often called upon by government officials to help forecast the probability of dangerous events and devise plans to keep the public safe. They often struggle to translate nuanced statistical models into plainspoken, practical advice. After seven Italian defendants were accused of conducting superficial analyses and making misleading public statements, and then convicted of manslaughter, some scientists worry that the words they utter might land them in jail.