Got a great new miracle drug or the mobile tech invention of the century? Slow down, hot shot. The federal government is in no hurry to make your life easy. Or, for that matter, profitable.

Our analysis of more than 1,500 patents awarded locally in 2008 found that inventors had to sit around for an average of 3.5 years after applying. In nine cases, the wait was more than nine years.

When it comes to patents, time literally is money. Innovations sit in limbo, potentially robbing San Diego of jobs and economic growth. But while there’s momentum toward making the process faster, a “rubber stamp” process could pose its own problems.

In other news:

  • Don’t mess with Tierrasanta. San Diego city leaders learned that lesson back in the 1970s, when residents successfully fought a federal prison.

    Now, Tierrasantans have a new battle on their hands. At the City Council meeting today, they’ll try to fend off a self-storage facility that will, in the words of one activist, “permanently ruin the entrance to our community.”

  • The downtown “schoobrary” project is still moseying along, with a possible opening date in 2013. School officials are busy exploring what kind of facilities a “generic” high school will need. It sounds like a one-size-may-fit-some approach, and a board trustee is mystified. After all, there’s no generic high school involved, but a charter high school that will have its own needs.
  • In other education news, the San Diego district’s second-in-command is leaving.
  • There are 3 million stories in San Diego County, and lots of you liked the one we told last week about the man behind the counter at a downtown convenience store. Now we’ve got video of him.
  • We also have the latest local housing numbers and details about $112 million in stimulus money destined for Scripps Institution of Oceanography. And we’ll have live coverage via Twitter of today’s speech by Mayor Jerry Sanders, which his office is touting as “important.” It’s titled “Building for the Future Despite the Economic Downturn.” Catchy!
  • The City Council voted last night to reject plans to open a winter homeless shelter in downtown’s East Village or Balboa Park. Unclear: How to get downtown’s homeless to a shelter elsewhere in the city and who will pay for transportation. Also unknown: if not downtown, where? It’s hard to find a neighborhood with no residents to complain, but expect the city to try its best. (U-T and CityBeat)
  • The Orange County Register profiles an eating-disorder therapist who recently posted a 1987 picture of herself as a pregnant and anorexic woman. The photo set off a storm of vicious criticism online, which infuriated the woman’s daughter. Now a student at San Diego State, she says “no one was in my mom’s place.”
  • The NYT Magazine’s cover story this week is about the work of UCSD researcher James Fowler and a colleague, who claim happiness is contagious. Last year, we wrote about Fowler, who, more importantly for you late-night comedy fans, also discovered proof of the “Colbert bump.”
  • Finally, the Chronicle of Higher Education devotes part of its “No Kidding” column about obvious research to a study from San Diego State that says bar patrons consume less alcohol when prices are higher.

    Or, as the study puts it, “the results are consistent with economic theory and population-level research regarding the price elasticity of alcoholic beverages.”

    Maybe a drink would loosen the researchers up a bit.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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