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.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Although people from the snowy region welcome spring with very open arms (and why not, February's bitter cold is nasty), spring time for me is a torture: running nose, red eyes and sneezing, makes my life miserable.

I assumed before that allergies are for the weak (weak immune system, that is), and when I came here in the U.S. five years ago, I never had allergies from pollen. I told myself, pollution from the streets of Manila made my immune system strong. No need for anti-histamines, such as Claritin.

My immune system grew weak or the pollen counts in Florida increased, because about 2 years ago, I developed symptoms of allergies. It's either my system became weaker or pollen increased, I really don't know. It's probably not the two reasons I stated, much more a combination of both.

As long as it doesn't interfere with my work, I stay away from Claritin. So far, my strategy works. I just increase my tissue paper consumption and my travel to the restrooms.

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