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.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blink part II

I finished reading the book titled Blink. If I summarize the book, and it's content, the theme lies in our unconscious level of decision making. Very scientific in it's discussion? It's just our bias in judgement, even though you say consciously that you are not bias.
In other words, it's what Larry Bird calls "he's in the zone" (not mentioned in the book) because he have good "basketball court sense", or why we have bias towards a black person. I never knew about the New Coke product until I read it from a Reader's Digest, and I never knew why the product failed until now, when the book discussed the fateful market research.

Blink showed me that little information is the same as more information: you just reach for the most important piece of information. On the other hand, armed with limited pieces of information can also be disastrous. You look at the whole story before judging. Although in some cases (such as when a police encounters a life and death situation, where milliseconds count), you don't have the luxury of time, snap judgements can be useful, but with caution.

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