Bruce Schneier is a security consultant, famous for designing and co-designing cryptographic algorithms such as Blowfish and Twofish.

His monthly CRYPTO-GRAM newsletter is a must-read in the security community, providing analyses and comments on issues such as Conficker, Data Trading, and Online Privacy.

But the man is also a little bit of a joker, creating events like the annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest. A Movie-Plot threat is, in Schneier’s words, good for scaring people, but a silly basis for building national security policy. Think terrorists with crop-dusters, school-buses with explosives, or poisoned water supplies. Read the winning entry for 2009 and Schneier’s “call for papers”:

Let’s face it, the War on Terror is a tired brand. There just isn’t enough action out there to scare people. If this keeps up, people will forget to be scared. And then both the terrorists and the terror-industrial complex lose. We can’t have that.

We’re going to help revive the fear. There’s plenty to be scared about, if only people would just think about it in the right way. In this Fourth Movie-Plot Threat Contest, the object is to find an existing event somewhere in the industrialized world—Third World events are just too easy—and provide a conspiracy theory to explain how the terrorists were really responsible.