LEVI McPHERSON, a graduate student of analytical chemistry at the University of North Central Florida, is approached by agents of the Homeland Security’s Counter-terrorism Unit. The agency is recruiting Lee to study and expose the loopholes of screening instruments in airports. Struggling financially, he accepted the offer, making him a paid, benevolent hacker of the nation’s gateway. Yet Levi is horrified when an Airbus from Los Angeles disintegrated in mid-air.

At 40, when everybody’s career trajectory is going up, Levi’s still a poor graduate student, struggling financially. His research projects however, are worth million dollars. Researching the highly classified and heavily guarded secrets of detecting traces of explosives, what Lee know was a goldmine. The agency's offer is his financial break . So Levi tackles the problem like a scientist, detailing the loopholes of the aviation security and turning what he knew into a big time money machine.

JIM and JONATHAN of the counter-terrorism unit, where nowhere to be found after Charlotte International Airport, a hub of Delta Airlines closed abruptly because of instrument malfunctions in their security lines. And in a post-Osama Bin Laden’s era, the biggest blow to the United Stated after the 9/11 disaster comes unexpectedly when a passenger plane blew up in the skies of Washington D.C., in the heart of the nation.

Levi knew it was only the start of more troubles, so he recruits his fellow graduate students to counter the future attacks. They have to think like criminals—and scientists too. With the help of FBI counter-terrorism experts, Homeland Security and Transportation Security Agency, the team races to close and plug the loopholes Lee identified.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Written Exams and Coffee

Preparing for my last written cumulative exam (out of 8), I followed my routine for the past months: a visit to my favorite starbucks coffee shop, check the library for references and then sit on my favorite study table at the science library. Then I'll be reading for the next 8 hrs. A full time job. Although I hate to take exams, I don't mind studying, that's why I can't believe I'm paid to study (and do research, teach undergraduate students).

As I was paying for my coffee, I heard the guy next to me asking for the "strongest coffee" starbucks can offer.I don't need the strongest kick to study for this exam, because this will be my last (mosdef, most definitely). Besides, I only need a half pass (Grad school is wierd, they have whole pass and half pass), and to top everything, I am allowed to bring a "cheat sheet". The "cheat sheet" will be my small notebook, with all the formulas and thoughts I gathered from the readings.

Sturbucks and preparing for an examination is perfect combination. Trust me, I'm a professional graduate student. Without coffee, my attention span decreases to an hour, instead of 3.

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