Feeds

DHS offers glimpse into life of its top snot'n'slobber expert

Points up disease-doom disaster 'drivel' threat

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The widely-feared US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in a praiseworthy attempt to reach out to the American people, has offered up a glimpse into the exciting life of its top spittle expert.

According to the DHS:

Mark Nicas has given some of his best years to spittle. He builds models – the mathematical kind – of how someone else's slobber ends up on you. The size of the particles, whether they come out in a dry cough or a wet sneeze, their evaporation rate, air speed – these are all complications, reasons why people like Nicas can spend careers piling up academic papers...
DHS-supplied pic of an unidentified female sneezing

Disaster comes not only from the mouth, but the nostril also.

DHS emphasis there on the mathematical nature of the slobber modelling. Presumably they want to confirm that there isn't any hideous wind-tunnel research going on, or live urban biohazard slime-strike trials of the sort favoured by the British government.

Prof Nicas is apparently just one of an elite team of DHS scientists grappling with the tricky problems of snot-, spit-, dribble- and other bodily-emission-related terrorist outrages. Nicas warns that anyone could be a possibly-unwitting terrorist bio-strike suicide attack vector and/or pandemic plague carrier.

"When you get on an airplane, it's always best to sit at least three rows from a coughing person," he says. "You don't know what they have."

The DHS also warns prophetically against the dreaded drivel- or dribble-borne disease of doom:

Statistical predictions about flying saliva may seem like academic caricature. But they have important real-world applications to terrorist biological attacks and deadly diseases like bird flu that can ripple quickly through American cities. Disaster comes from the mouth, warns an ancient Chinese proverb on the dangers of linguistic drivel. But understanding the infectious potential of biological drivel may be the secret to restoring national health in a pandemic.

Nicas insists that his job as perhaps the world's top expert on the terrorist phlegm outrage threat hasn't made him paranoid.

"I have a good sense of the risks," he admits, "probably more than most people."

There's more from the DHS Science & Technology directorate here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.