* WINNERS: Detroit - and buyers of American cars. Detroit is doing a better and better job. That's the word this week from a long-time critic of the auto industry, Jack Gillis. In releasing the 11th annual edition of "The Car Book," Gillis said consumer demands for safer vehicles have generated such significant improvements that Americans need no longer buy foreign cars to get a safe car.

LOSER: Detroit. U.S. automakers are about to introduce new lines of big, gas-guzzlng cars just when there's the possibility of war in the Middle East that could increase gasoline prices and send the economy into a deeper slump.* WINNERS: Cancer patients in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. A new report this week shows that patients from those states are benefiting from research being done at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. The study focuses on a procedure in which healthy organs and tissues are moved out of the way during surgery so that radiation can be concentrated only on the cancerous spot.

LOSER: Whoever came up with the idea for the silly new study being done at Washington State University. Believe it or not, researchers are going to strap gas-measuring gear to hundreds of cows to find out how bovine belching might be contributing to the greenhouse effect. The study will cost the taxpayers $70,000 a year for three years. Now how about a study of how the greenhouse effect is impacted by the steam from taxpayers who get hot under the collar?