How’s this for bad incentives?

Six Italian scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L’Aquila… The seven – all members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks – were accused of having provided “inexact, incomplete and contradictory” information about the danger of the tremors felt ahead of 6 April 2009 quake, Italian media report.

The Italian scientists who said “there probably won’t be a big earthquake” before a big earthquake are going to be sent to prison. This is because in this region of Italy, a small tremor isn’t normally a warning sign of a larger quake, it is just a small tremor, nothing more, nothing less. They said this, and now face jail.

The problem with this should be obvious, the incidence of predicted earthquakes that never happen will now go up. This won’t make anybody safer, in fact, evacuations are dangerous, so this will make the world a more dangerous place not to mention ruining the lives of seven innocent men.