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States to File Lawsuit Over Gas
Mileage Regulations

By Danny Hakim

Ten states, including California and New York, plan to file suit this week to force the Bush administration to toughen mileage regulations for sport utility vehicles and other trucks.

The suit, which the states will announce on Tuesday, contends that the administration did not do a rigorous enough analysis of the environmental benefits of fuel economy regulations, as required by law, before issuing new rules for SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans last month. The suit will also claim that the government did not consider the impact of gasoline consumption on climate change when devising the new rules.

While the states have initiated a number of suits over Washington’s environmental policies, the new suit is the first to take aim at federal fuel economy regulations. With gasoline returning to $3 a gallon in many parts of the country, there has been a broad outcry for action but little consensus on what to do.

Senate Republicans have proposed a $100 rebate to help taxpayers pay gas bills — the proposal has been met with criticism even from the right — while President Bush has asked for congressional authority to revise mileage regulations for passenger cars. He already has the authority to do so for SUVs and other trucks.

For Science’s Gatekeepers,
A Credibility Gap


Recent disclosures of fraudulent or flawed studies in medical and scientific journals have called into question as never before the merits of their peer-review system.

The system is based on journals inviting independent experts to critique submitted manuscripts. The stated aim is to weed out sloppy and bad research, ensuring the integrity of what it has published.

Because findings published in peer-reviewed journals affect patient care, public policy and the authors’ academic promotions, journal editors contend that new scientific information should be published in a peer-reviewed journal before it is presented to doctors and the public.

That message, however, has created a widespread misimpression that passing peer review is the scientific equivalent of the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

Virtually every major scientific and medical journal has been humbled recently by publishing findings that are later discredited. The flurry of episodes has led many people to ask why authors, editors and independent expert reviewers all failed to detect the problems before publication.

Patent Lawsuit Seeks Shutdown
Of Blackberry

By Ian Austen

A wireless e-mail software company partly owned by NTP has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Research In Motion seeking a shutdown of its popular BlackBerry service.

The move by the software company, Visto, of Redwood Shores, Calf., came almost two months after RIM paid NTP, a patent holding company, $612.5 million to settle a similar case.

Visto’s chief executive and chairman, Brian A. Bogosian, said his company decided to sue RIM after a Texas jury ruled in its favor last Friday in a lawsuit against Seven Networks, another wireless e-mail software maker.

Bogosian said that NTP, which acquired an undisclosed stake in Visto late last year in a deal that gave Visto the license to NTP patents, had played no role in the latest legal move.