In one of those weird coincidences, I was just reading about this earthquake last night in the excellent book The Signal and the Noise (which I highly recommend, especially as we are faced with so many predictions and polls right at this time).
Anyway, Italy demanded something impossible of the scientists and then punishes them for not doing something inherently impossible. Where does this leave science? In butt covering mode, so seismologists will always predict a major earthquake lurking, the citizens will grow bored with the scientists crying wolf because they don’t want to go to jail, and in the end it will kill more people.
UPDATE: Head of Italy’s Serious Risk Commission resigned, along with others and said they would not advise the state again.