Search for extraterrestrial life costs school IT chief his job

A former Arizona school district employee is accused of using school computers in an experiment to find intelligent life from outer space, costing the worker his job and the district more than $1 million, reports the Associated Press. Schools officials say Brad Niesluchowski, who was Higley Unified School District’s information technology director, downloaded free software onto district computers in 2000. The program, known as SETI(at)home, uses internet-connected computers worldwide to analyze radio telescope data in an experiment to find extraterrestrial intelligence. But Superintendent Denise Birdwell told the East Valley Tribune that the program also bogged down the district’s computer network and interfered with technology use in classrooms. Birdwell said it will take more than $1 million to fix the problem, including removal of the SETI software. She says police are conducting a broader investigation…

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