The Department of Homeland Security's Favorite PopSci Posts

The DHS is monitoring publications and social media for red-alert keywords. Here's what they're reading on PopSci

DHS Is Watching Us

The Department of Homeland Security is carefully watching the internet. They search through publications like this one (actually, specifically this one: we've been on the DHS watch-list for awhile), as well as all of our public social media lives, for possible "Items of Interest," which they find by searching for a whole bunch of sometimes-ridiculous keywords. (Animal New York rounded up a bunch of them.) It got us wondering: We write about a lot of security and military stuff here at PopSci. What's the DHS reading on our site?

We filtered out our traffic to hits originating from, and found that, yes, the Department of Homeland Security reads PopSci. (Hi!) They're not supplying huge traffic--barely over 50,000 hits in total--but it's definitely enough to monitor, and we can see pretty clear spikes and valleys coming from them. The biggest spike was on July 11th, 2011, though the DHS doesn't seem to have been looking for anything in particular that day. And there was a significant drop-off in terrorism monitoring right before Labor Day, which we attribute to ideal golf conditions. Anyway, here are five of their most read articles.

Homemade Levee

Click here to read more about our efforts to tame the mighty Mississippi--and how those efforts are failing--in our feature.Scott Olson/Getty Images

Published: May 19, 2011
DHS Hits: 762
The Department of Homeland Security is particularly touchy about discussion of disasters, natural or otherwise, as well as emergency assistance and preparedness. If we had included dangerous keywords like "Human to ANIMAL" or "AMTRAK" in this story, we wouldn't be here writing this. We'd be in a prison in a country you've never even heard of.

Battleship Live: For Our Children


Published: February 15, 2011
DHS Hits: 431
The Department of Homeland Security is looking to deploy military toys to young children, including (water) guns, a tactical seafaring warship simulator (a new version of Battleship), an introduction to mind control, and a miniature autonomous tank.

Published: January 27, 2011
DHS Hits: 363
The Department of Homeland Security does not appreciate our taking license with the phrase "waging war." They wage war. We write about snow-pooping robots.

Dead Head

Infectious proteins called prions could shut down parts of the brain and leave others intact, creating a zombie.iStock

Published: February 24, 2011
DHS Hits: 273
The Department of Homeland Security is relieved to find that we are not aware of any of their in-house zombie projects.

Published: April 27, 2011
DHS Hits: 272
The Department of Homeland Security is casually interested in PopSci's time machine.

The FBI, CIA, NSA, and Other Services

A search other governmental agencies turns up...mostly nothing. We did find out that the CIA searched more than 200 times to find an image of Khloe Kardashian, which we don't seem to have ever published (?), and that the FBI is probably hungry because their favorite PopSci articles are all about modernist cuisine. The NSA likes toys, and the DEA seems to not be interested in us at all, which, um, yes, good, nothing to see here.