The Homeland Security Pageant
Saturday, January 20, 2007
First came duct tape. Then the airport liquid ban. And yesterday, officials unveiled the latest development in the country's war on terror: an American Idol-style contest for homeland security inventors.
Six finalists. One stage. Ten minutes each to win the hearts of the judges and walk away with $50,000. Or perhaps more important, a phone call from one of the defense contractors sitting in the audience.
Among the contestants:
· A Russian scientist with his biological weapons detector. "All of Western civilization is at war," he proclaimed.
· A team from Boston with a 300-degree steel furnace capable of killing biological threats.
· A former Ohio police officer, frustrated with law enforcement's unwieldy Web networks and offering a way to fix them.
· An inventor from Atlanta with an X-ray device able to detect everything from a vial of cocaine to nuclear waste.