The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

15 February 2007

Where no detective has gone before

For eight years or so, SETI@home has been using people's spare CPU cycles to look for life on other worlds. While no certified aliens have been pinpointed yet, the system has apparently solved a crime:

Several years ago, [James] Melin installed SETI@home on his wife's laptop, which was stolen from the couple's Minneapolis home on Jan. 1.

Annoyed at the break-in — and alarmed that someone could delete the screenplays and novels that his wife, Melinda Kimberly, was writing — Melin monitored the SETI@home database to see if the stolen laptop would "talk" to the Berkeley servers. The laptop checked in three times within a week, and Melin sent the IP addresses to the Minneapolis Police Department.

Officers subpoenaed Quest Communications, Melin's Internet service provider, to determine the address where the stolen laptop logged onto the Internet. Within days, officers seized the computer and returned it to the rightful owners.

The only way this story could be happier would be if the thief were blasted into deep space.

(Via Bitter Bitch.)

Posted at 9:12 PM to Entirely Too Cool


Outer space is too good for his likes. Give him a new desktop with 512 M RAM and Vista. This should fix him for good...

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon at 5:57 AM on 16 February 2007

Some bright boy is going to get an idea from this, and -- voilà! -- Lojack for computers.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:11 AM on 16 February 2007

Is SETI@Home how we found Seti Alpha 5?

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 10:41 PM on 17 February 2007