I’m not a big fan of SETI but only because it seems to have made some early assumptions in its search for extraterrestrial intelligence that might be too human in nature. That is, originally, they were looking for radio signals at what the called the water hole or the most common radio frequencies because they believed that any advanced civilization would be using radio and looking in the same place. I can think of all sorts of things that are wrong with that assumption, but hey, you had to start somewhere. Yes, I know they have now expanded beyond that and that they can search huge portions of the sky fairly rapidly.
As one who supports the idea that some UFOs represent alien visitation, I was always a little annoyed at the SETI attitude that UFOs had nothing to do with what they were attempting to do. That is, contact an extraterrestrial intelligence. I’m not saying they should have signed up UFO supporters but they should have made a pass at that evidence in case there was something relevant to their search.
But, of course, I supported the idea behind SETI because if they were successful, then one of the reasons to reject UFOs as alien would be eliminated... just as the discovery of extra solar planets have eliminated one of the reasons.
Given all this, I was horrified to learn, according to KPHO-TV in Phoenix, that Brad Niesluchowski, had resigned as a teacher from the Highley Unified School District because he had signed up the district’s computers to participate in the SETI@home project (and for those of you who don’t know what it is, Google it).
A spokeswomen for the district said that they would support cancer research but not something like the search for "E.T." She pointed out that it was costing the district about a million a year to support the program because it kept the district’s computers working all the time which upped their utility fees and caused additional wear and tear on the computers causing more repairs and replacements.
Okay. Fair enough. If the fellow had done this on his own, and it was costing the district that much, then, hey, he made a bad call... except the software used to download the program had been authorized by a previous school administration.
Wait a minute. He didn’t decide for himself to do this. He got permission... then why is he out of a job and why is there now a police investigation? And this has been going on for ten years.
The SETI folks see him as a hero. I have to agree. Seems to me that someone in the school administration didn’t see that it was going to cost so much (and I wonder if it really does) but Nez, as he is known in the SETI world, got authorization to do it. Shut it down if you must but don’t punish the guy for something he was given permission to do.