Question: What do Hurricane Katrina, the San Diego fires, and PAT have in common? Answer: They all attract mercenaries, wanting to profit from confusion. The sheer numbers of people involved in these programs leaves a lot of "wiggle-room" for experts to appear and skim some cream off the large amounts of money floated by major projects. Case in point: all the NIR "experts" I keep reading about all the people offering NIR services; people I have never seen publish a paper on NIR; people who have never worked in the pharmaceutical industry; people who had an instrument company's training, then set themselves up as experts. As I said in a recent column, "You can't cheat an honest man." If the "Internet Generation" would take the time to actually investigate these "experts" they might not be fooled. However, most "young guns" don't do literature searches, but rely on webpages for information. As with Madison Avenue advertising, anyone can put lipstick on a pig. That doesn't make it beautiful. Add to that the politically correct habit of not being able to say what someone did at your company, other than "yes, he worked here," and you have a fertile field for faux experts. When you look for someone to do PAT or NIR or anything, ask to see some damn credentials, not just a glossy webpage!!!! Thanks, I had to get that off my chest. I feel better now.