The Morning Report
San Diego news and info
you need to take on the day.

At UCSD, researchers think the campus supercomputing center will help them quickly crunch numbers and discover the hidden powers lurking in existing drugs.

Viagra, for instance, was developed as a heart medication. But then its male patients began experiencing a peculiar side effect, which proved more than worthwhile to pursue as a business.

Perhaps by analyzing the data stored about the makeup and effects of thousands of drugs, scientists can make other unexpected advancements.

A few months ago, we looked at another technology that’s radically changing the way radio stations figure out how well they’re doing.

New-fangled ratings came out last week, offering great news for music stations and middling news for talk stations and KPBS-FM. This all matters because ratings determine whether your favorite station stays on the air or goes the way of eight-tracks.

One more bit of technology news:

Astronauts do it. Stephen Hawking did it. Even the guy in the crazy-popular dancing video went weightless, if only for a moment (check out minute 3:54).

But 40 years after astronauts flew to the moon, floating around in zero gravity is still hazardous to your health. A UCSD professor tells us how doctors are improving the odds.

Downtown, a local hotel workers union is turning to legal hardball in its efforts to bring back labor-friendly guarantees at a stadium-adjacent project.

Its solution: Kill an underlying agreement allowing the $1.4 billion Ballpark Village development, paving the way for a new, better deal. Its weapon: Charges of tainted dealings.

Your job prospects may be looking uncertain too. Our columnist Rich Toscano knows where you fit into the countywide picture: He has graphs revealing which industries are losing the most jobs (construction) and actually gaining (wouldn’t you like to know?).

Whatever your situation, you probably don’t have to worry about getting traded like a pro athlete. Then again, neither does Padres pitcher Jake Peavy — at least if he doesn’t want to move.

Peavy has veto power over trades, and sports columnist Tom Krasovic doesn’t understand why the Padres allow such a restriction.

Monday was a day for wordplay: The fates of some famous local animals were “sealed.” Well, maybe.

Here’s the play by play:

No seals in the Children’s Pool, ruled a local judge, ordering the city to get them outta there.

Wait, declared the governor — yes, the governor — who took time away from the state budget crisis to sign a bill allowing the city to make the call. But the bill’s not law until 2010.

Golly, said the city, we’ll get back to the public in the morning with what’s next.

The upshot: Things are looking good for the seals, and the city may not have to spend $689,000 — seriously, that’s the cost reported by the U-T — to make them vamoose. But it’s not over yet.

They may stink and make a mess — “sea rats,” some call them — but seals look great on camera. Our photographer Sam Hodgson has a portfolio of awww-inspiring shots.

(Can’t figure out the photo viewer? Just move your cursor to the right side and an arrow will pop up. Click on it to see more pictures.)

Pepper spray would almost certainly make the seals scram. It has the same effect on people. Like, say, an uncooperative 60-year-old woman attending a congressional candidate’s fundraiser in Cardiff.

You remember: A sheriff’s deputy sprayed her, setting off the year’s weirdest political hullabaloo.

She may have gotten off easy, at least judging by statistics. The NCT finds that deputies resorted to pepper spray just 46 times last year, compared to — yikes — 168 Taser zappings.

Two handy words to remember: “Yes, officer.”

RANDY DOTINGA

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