Beware of making bold claims about what your research might be able to accomplish when you need funding - a group of Italians have discovered society can look down on you even for claims you don't make. 

Judge Giuseppe Romano says Enzo Boschi, the president of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), and six others can face trial on charges of manslaughter because of the  earthquake that struck the central Italian town of L'Aquila April 6th, 2009 and killed 308 people.

At issue, says Judge Romano, is "imprecise, incomplete and contradictory information" they gave at a press conference days before the earthquake.  The reassurances of the committee persuaded people not to leave their homes before the quake, he said, but those are claims the seven deny making.

Also on trial, Edwin Cartlidge at Science notes, will be Franco Barberi, committee vice president; Bernardo De Bernardinis, at the time vice president of Italy's Civil Protection Department and now president of the country's Institute for Environmental Protection and Research; Giulio Selvaggi, director of the National Earthquake Centre; Gian Michele Calvi, director of the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering; Claudio Eva, an earth scientist at the University of Genoa; and Mauro Dolce, director of the office of seismic risk at the Civil Protection Department.

Despite the risks of making claims, and certainly due to the March, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, earthquake prediction is coming back into fashion but, as Jeanna Bryner at LiveScience notes, atmospheric data and earthquake precursors like weird animal behavior or groundwater flowing the wrong way have proven hit-or-miss.

Deformation is nonlinear when you deal with tectonic plates and there is no way to even know how much stress is down there much less when something will 'break', especially when multiple plates are part of the system.