The Morning Report
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She’s pretty good, that Mother Nature gal. So good that an entire scientific discipline has developed around creating products inspired by the world around us.

It’s called “biomimicry,” and San Diego is vying to be at the center of this emerging field, which is producing everything from mobile-phone display technology to freezers for biological samples.

The latter, by the way, are inspired by creatures that dry up for more than a century but still manage to stay alive.

And you thought you needed moisturizing.

Earlier this week, we looked at the sluggish progress made toward vanquishing local homelessness by 2012. One possible fix: Ticket the homeless who refuse to stay in nearby shelters when there’s room for them.

This may be a way to give communities an ultimatum: Shelter these people and we’ll ticket those who don’t take advantage of the services — or quit your complaining already.

Optimism is the prevailing mood in the local housing market, but watch out, warns Rich Toscano, our resident graph-happy columnist. While they could be wrong, he says, the numbers still don’t support a recovery.

The federal government would like that to change and is spending as much money as it can to stimulate the economy. But local parents and others are wondering why so much of the money coming here earmarked for education is being focused on elementary school initiatives. After all, it’s high schools that seem to show the most need.

In letters, one writer calls for a city savior by the initials of M.A. And it’s not Maya Angelou.

And from Ramona, there’s a defense of the transportation agency assigned to help the disabled that’s had a hard time getting its show on the road.

Elsewhere, that story about the Navy using live animals in its training that the NC Times broke the other day has gone international.

The U-T dishes about the gifts given to employees of the downtown redevelopment agency by “companies that do business downtown.”

Among other things, staffers took Chargers tickets, a Cheesecake Factory gift card and a pass to an $89.50 awards breakfast.

Man, those are some pricey pancakes.

But the biscuits-and-gravy train has derailed: Agency staffers won’t take any more gifts.

In other news, our supply of seal puns has run dry. Good thing: Those famous La Jolla sand-squatters are safe, at least until October.

A couple more news stories: local water use is dipping, and a labor coalition wants term limits for a quintet of local politicians.

Now to media matters. If you read just about any daily newspaper online, you’ve seen them: obnoxious commenters who let loose with offensive rants about topics like race and immigration.

But as the online news site MinnPost.com reports, the daily paper in Minneapolis doesn’t allow any comments on certain kinds of stories, such as those about crime, Muslims, gays and “local homes” (!).

“It continues to be virtually impossible to have a civil discourse” when these and a few other topics come up, an editor says.

Food for thought.

Finally … Look! Up in the Twitterverse! It’s color commentary! It’s fan-aticism! It’s zombies and the Green Lantern and OMG, Tim Burton is sitting right next to me!

It’s … Comic-Con coverage!

Yes indeed, we’re covering that obscure little pop-culture event with the help of our illustrious graphics editor, Sarah Johnson. Check out our special Twitter feed.

— RANDY DOTINGA

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