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, July 23, 2008


I bought this book during my visit back to the Philippines, as recommended by my cousin. The book is funny, detailed and very interesting. The book is, in my humble opinion, the Filipino version of "What I learned in school, I already learned from kindergarten". No offense to both authors.

After reading the book, it made me wonder how I survived those years: The elementary school years when we ate ice candies during our recess, or the college days, when I went basically AWOL and dismissed from the premiere institution of the Philippines. Instead of a regular 4-year course, I took the long way. My only on-time classes were P.E. and CMT. My roommate once said, "the more you stay in college the more you appreciate life". I found comfort and wisdom to those misleading words.

After a dismal semester, I went back with a vengeance and earned my degree. 7 years after, who would believe I'm now pursuing a Ph.D. You'll never know.

During my lackluster college days, lackluster in terms of grades, I traded off the classroom knowledge with things never taught from the books, increasing my street IQ ;). Those where my bulakbol days.

Now I can relate to my students, students who doesn't want to study chemistry. They are just taking the class because it's required. They will soon grow up, just like me. You just don't want to end up in their operating table in the near future when these guys become doctors. Or don't want to pass through a bridge or stay in a building they will build as an engineer.

But honestly, after those years in school, we did ok right? Read the book reminisce the old days of schooling.

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