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.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Super Athlete

University of Florida's prized quarterback and his ESPN story
regarding his trip to the Philippines.


Monday, August 18, 2008

The way I see it #291

When I'm writing (or doing something requiring intense concentration), coffee's my friend. Here's an opinion I got from the cup of Starbucks I got this afternoon.

"In a world where make-believe is called reality, it is most important to have real love, truth and stability in your life"
--Bernie Brillstein
Film and television producer.

Back to the reality of writing my scientific proposal. First order of business, battle the writer's block.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I am a huge sports freak ( I can stay up all night watching ESPN),
so it is sacrilegious not to post something about Phelps and
his 8th gold medal performance

Phelps 7th gold almost slipped away. This is the analysis of Sports
Illustrated. If Cravic, the guy on the left wasn't looking up
and increased the drag, he could have won the event.

The Individual Medley Relay Swim team of the
United States, for Phelp's 8th.

Teary eyed

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alan Parson's Project

Every time I'm bored writing my proposal, or bored before studying my cumulative exam, my diversion was always these guys: Alan Parson's project (Eye in the Sky,) which was used by the great Chicago Bulls for player's intro. These music is my inspiration, the same way Edgar Allan Poe looks for refuge under the influence of alcohol.

When music and sports are combined, it works for me better than bread and butter or even peanut butter and jelly (PBJ's, America's favorite lunch).

Hell! Who said writing was easy?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Quantum, eigenstates, what the @#$$

I can't help it but re-blog this one.

Remember when I was researching about eigenstates? I stumbled upon, or appropriately following a science blog called "Cosmic Variance". They where discussing quantum mechanics in a non-expert, non-science majors.

The second amazing thing is that we can never observe the food to be in such a superposition; whenever we (or sleeping puppies) observe the food, we always find that it appears to be either salad or steak. (Eigenstates of the food operator, for you experts.

Remember the cat?, here they use a dog

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Science Writing Tidbits

When you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
-Albert Einstein

I'm writing a scientific proposal. These are set of ideas to be tested in the real world, and besides me is this book, to describe my ideas. In capital letters, I'm RECOMMENDING THIS BOOK TO BE BESIDE EVERY SCIENCE WRITING PROJECT for scientists and engineers. It's the best thing that happened to me after slice bread. Before, I thought my writing skills were good, but honestly it's not.

Science writing and blogging or novel writing are different things. In blogging, you may use fat phrases or words needlessly, but in science, leave elegance to the tailor. Check some of the examples of the book.

familiarization - possible substitute: familiarity
has the functionality- can function
has the operationability - can operate
utilization - use

Facilitate - cause
finalize - end

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Cat

I was researching what eigenstate is and found a good explanation from the web.

An eigenstate is one of the many possible states which may exist prior to quantum decoherence

Ok, I don't know what quantum decoherence means, but here's a better analogy.

The story of Schrodinger's Cat is one of the most well known story involving eigenstates. The story goes like this:

There's a cat inside a box, with a poison ready to be release anytime. Since you don't know when the poison is released, the cat is either alive or dead. Alive and dead is the eigenstates.

So what does this philosophical point of view means? It means that you can't predict where exactly a hurricane will touch land. You can only calculate the possible areas where it is going :). Until you open the box, you don't know if the cat is dead. Until the damage of the hurricane is done, you don't know what area will be the most damaged:)

Sadly, this is how tiny things operate--like the electron of an atom. You may never pinpoint the exact place where the electron is, but you can calculate the probability where the location is.

I saw that shirt by the way in one of my students. Pretty geeky.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Don't Forget the Milk

It's not uncommon for me to remember all my meetings and tasks, I'm still young. But lately, I forgot an important meeting with my supervisor (and to make a coffee pot for a seminar). This supervisor is my other boss, not research bosses, but the person I report to with regards to my teaching assignment.

Males like tech gadget than females. But why the *&)*&^ did I forgot the meeting even though I have a cell phone to remind me of my tasks, even a planner and a Palm Top? The answer probably because of my baby--he gets all my attention.

So I went online and seek for help. I look for igoogle and installed google calendar and everything. It didn't help out. I need something integrated to my email. I found this site:

I didn't know that I have an account in this site, registered 3 years ago, but forgot about it. But now, since it can be integrated to my Gmail, I'm using it again.

What happens is that every time I open my Gmail account (in firefox only), my tasks is on the side of the screen.

Perfect for a starving and busy graduate student.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ivy Leaguers' big edge: Starting pay

Yes, it's proven, that Ivy League graduates have the edge in salary in terms of starting pays. But read between the lines:

Meanwhile, graduates of "party schools" (as defined by the 2008 Princeton Review College Guide) aren't that far behind, with their incomes increasing 85 percent during that time to $84,685 from $45,715.

more here.

Yes indeed, Florida once again is on top of the food chain. (Read my blog post below)

University of Florida, #1 (Party School)

From the Gainesville Sun:

The University of Florida is the nation’s top party school, completing a rise in the Princeton Review rankings that coincided with efforts to reduce alcohol abuse.

The No. 1 party school ranking appears in the 2009 edition of the review’s annual guide to colleges, which goes on sale Tuesday. The guide’s rankings are based on survey results from about 120,000 students at 368 colleges.

read more here.

This proves that the school were I'm at now doing my graduate studies, is always on top of the food chain. We know how to have a good time. It's Florida, the palm trees, the beaches, bikinis and the sun, what can you ask for more?

The rating to top the distinction as a party school is fueled by the back to back national championships in basketball and at the same year, football champions. No doubt everybody agrees with me.

It was 2 AM when my friends went home after celebrating the first ever NCAA trophy in basketball last 2006. The following morning, I was groggy while teaching the chemistry laboratory. Then one of my student begged to dismissed the class early, after all, we were the national champions. No doubt she was celebrating last night at the University Avenue.

We are Florida, the party animals, when there is something to celebrate.