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

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 …

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Coat

Coughs'n'sneezes

Spread diseases, as my old Granny used to tell me. A saying doing the rounds in the 1918 flu epidemic. Good to see medical progress over 90 years !

The one with pockets full of hankies please.

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Coat

Thanks for the photo

I _was_ eating my lunch.

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Silver badge
Alien

Moving the Game On and Up a Few Notches

Meanwhile, in the Real World, is the Word Spreading and Undermining the Present Madness and Fear in Sanity, and IT's Busy Crashing Clashing Systems.

Lewis, Does the UK have a Swampworks or a Skunk Works of their Own into Cyber Controls or is that Missing/a Gaping Black Hole in the MOD Armoury. It need not be so whenever IT can be so easily MODified to Provide Immaculate Cover and Lead ProgramMING...... but who would one Entertain with the Key Core Protocols ie who would have enough Upstairs to Understand Virtualisation Concepts. A Commander in Chief Famous for talking to Plants would appear to be a Likely Candidate with such Classic Lateral Thinking Displayed.

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Anonymous Coward

hey

Hey in responsible societies they have rules that say people must wear masks whne ill, of course you can't force people but becouse they have a level of social responsibility they do it.

Lifes a funny thing when society matters as much if not more then the individual.

It'd never work over here or in the states though, becouse you'd look silly and that's what's important to us.

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Boffin

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

More like

"DHS gives glimpse into how it pours the US taxpayer's money down the drain"

And I thought our lot were a shower of time and money wasters.

These guys (and no doubt gals) are REAL friggin pros!

Goggles. Well, please....

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Paris Hilton

@AC

"in responsible societies they have rules... of course you can't force people"

Well what's the point of having the rules if they don't enforce them??!

I'm now left wondering where these disease-free utopias are @_@

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Thumb Up

on the other hand...

Waiting in Heathrow a few weeks ago, I saw a large party of Japanese people arriving with about half of them wearing face masks. A bit freaky at first but left me with the sense of how they were being considerate and responsible towards their fellow travellers. Well done them.

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Bronze badge

@dervheid

> These guys (and no doubt gals) are REAL friggin pros!

Yeah, they doubtless are. There will be another plague of Well Nasty going round sometime, very likely in our lifetime, and then trivial shit like this suddenly matters, then "politicians wasting our money!" becomes "we elected them, why didn't they see this coming! Why doesn't someone look after meeee!".

Here's something of relevance with a striking mortality rate <http://www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/country/cases_table_2009_04_08/en/index.html> but please be aware that this table contains both words and numbers so you might struggle.

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Coat

and don't forget to wash your hands

then, put them back in your coat pockets.

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@BlueGreen

Strangely enough, I have absolutely no problem with numbers, or for that matter words.

Seen the table. Your point is therefore...

As for ". There will be another plague of Well Nasty going round sometime, very likely in our lifetime", you are possibly correct.

All that this modelling will show is the predicted spread, if nothing is done.

The US would drop the shutters quicker than a cheap prostitute at the sight of a $100 bill.

Affected areas would be quarantined, by force if required.

Not that that would make a great deal of difference if the strain of avian flu involved (as an example) is being carried by migratory birds.

The real question should be why this research is being done by the DHS.

It just smacks of "oh look, *terrorists* could spread biological *weapons* by sneezing on you people. stay afraid"

Or am i just being paranoid?

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Coat

Be afraid, Stay afraid

... that person who sneezed on the bus could be a nasty terrorist.

Mine's the one with the hanky in the pocket.

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Gold badge

@ on the other hand

On the other hand, they *may* just have heard about the current quality of the NHS and decided to not take chances. BTW; good advice about washing your hands after you have been out - it's the simplest way to protect against flu. Also worth remembering NOT to rub your eyes with unclean hands..

This may be a good time to remind you of a ticking time bomb: bird flu - that's when you will HAVE to wear a mask. It's not an "if" issue, it's more a "when".

Where I live we're pretty much ready for it. Supermarkets have introduced face masks into their shelf supplies, even complete "kits" for epidemics (containing gloves, masks and anti-sceptic wipes) and on top of that I have organised TamiFlu.

In short, not only am *I* organised, the whole distribution chain is ready to supply when the problems start - and they will. It's just a matter of time. Any idea how ready the UK is?

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At first glance...

It does seem that some other agency, the Centers for Disease Control for example, might be more appropriate for this kind of work. On the other hand, an epidemic of a disease with a high mortality rate does have national security implications.

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Happy

@ Coughs'n'sneezes

"Coughs and sneezes, spread diseases,

trap your germs in your handkerchief"

You can sing it to the tune of the German National Anthem, you know.

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See AIt(e)ch 4 2 laugh

Taking the wind out of amfM's sAIls for a title here lol, but with the papers bigging up the terrorist potential of bags of sugar (sic), surely this means the DHS are about to arrest suspects for the possession of methane.

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Bronze badge

@dervheid

My point therefore is that the bird flu cauldron bubbles on, if currently on low simmer, and it's potentially a very bad disease.

> All that this modelling will show is the predicted spread, if nothing is done.

So hopefully they will build on the research. They may learn something useful eg. that face masks don't work well so spend it elsewhere (or the converse). Until the research is done there are no facts to plan with.

BTW slamming down the shutters may not help much once a very infectious disease starts spreading, given modern transport like planes (the US seems to fly lots internally) and the incredible density of modern cities.

@Peter: Not ready at all AFAIK. But a bristly mustache on our stiff upper lips - why, what microbe would dare try getting past that.

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I for one

Welcome our snot-spraying overlords.

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Thumb Up

Enough with the Snotty remarks...

May I remind you, dear readers, that it was the Reg who ridiculed DHS's LED Incapacitator (dubbing it the Puke Ray). That device went on to win one of Time Magazine's 35 Inventions of the Year, for its ability to spare lives.

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