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 27, 2008

"Smack my ass and call me Sally"

Believe it, "Smack my ass and call me Sally" is a label for a hot sauce. My research groupmates decided to eat at Tijuana Flats today. Tijuana Flats is a Mexican restaurant that solely distribute the "Smack my ass.." hot sauce. Some of my friends jokingly refer to it as Tijuana Shits. But in all honesty, I like the food.

Anyway, every time I'm here, I order Chimichangas and the "Smack my ass.." hot sauce. As I was eating the food, I read the history of the establishment posted in the table napkin holder. It said that the founders were from UCF (University of Central Florida, my Alma mater, in Orlando Florida ). I finished my masters degree at that place, the only school who accepted me in the U.S. with financial support (currently though I'm finishing my PhD at the University of Florida).

After reading the history of the restaurant, I read the signs printed in the walls. It said "Mexican is a culture, not a theme" and "Hot is the new cool" ( I learned later it was part of their manifesto). Then I turned to my friend sitting next to me. I asked him what chimichangas are, since he was born in Mexico. He didn't know. I didn't care, I just savored the hotness of the food.

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