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Nobody’s come down with smallpox in decades. So how come a La Jolla scientist is trying to figure out how to treat it?

It’s a matter of emergency preparedness. As our story says, he’s “just one of many researchers across San Diego working on the forefront of an effort to defend the country against bioterrorism.”

Research institutes and biotech companies are spending almost $100 million on research against biological agents. Among the local projects: a database of infectious diseases designed to speed up the development of vaccines during outbreaks and research into anthrax, nerve gas-induced seizures, salmonella, drug-resistant tuberculosis and even giardia, a water-borne parasite.

In other news:

  • The county Democratic party is punting over whom to endorse in the race for the county supervisor seat held by Ron Roberts, a Republican who wants to stay in office. Four Democrats are running, and the party is endorsing none of them, merely saying they’re all “acceptable.”
  • Is that damning with faint praise? No, says a party representative, using some interesting logic to suggest that the lack of endorsements will boost the Dems’ chances in the race.
  • The president of the San Diego school board weighs in with thoughts about President Obama’s education reform plans and how they jibe with San Diego’s. Our story earlier this week explored the divide between the president and the district over reform. Also in education: The school district’s financial chief has been placed on paid leave for reasons that aren’t yet clear. We’ve got late-breaking details here.
  • A San Diego councilman says the city had almost plowed through its reserves — its rainy-day savings — when he came into office. Is that true? The San Diego Fact check blog is on the case and has a verdict.
  • Our “DA Watch” series continues: We asked the five county supervisors if they’d like to weigh in on our battle with the district attorney’s office over a hefty fee for public records that voiceofsandiego.org thinks is inappropriate. In short: They don’t want to get involved.
  • In letters to the editor, a reader complains that I engaged in “race baiting” by noting the other day in the Weekend Report that the county board of supervisors is made up of five white Republicans. Another reader humorously took issue with that.
  • The Photo of the Day takes an unexpected look at an American flag flapping in the breeze. (Unlike so many flags on public buildings around town, it doesn’t appear to be faded and tattered.) Also: Our photographer fesses up that he’s missing something.

Elsewhere:

  • The U-T says a battle has broken out on Facebook over whether to move the Comic-Con to Anaheim from San Diego. Can’t they just settle this via Mafia Wars?
  • About half of TV weathercasters surveyed don’t believe global warming is occurring, the NYT reports. KUSI’s John Coleman (yes, Mr. K-Uuuuuuu-S-I himself) is a leading skeptic.
  • So let’s say you heard something from a guy who heard it from people who say they saw documents. Is this kind of information worth reporting in the newspaper? The folks at CityBeat, eternal critics of the U-T, say heck no: they’ve taken to Twitter to bash the U-T for running a story about accused murderer John Albert Gardner III and a disagreement over his release from prison — based on “uncorroborated, third-hand information.”
  • Autumn Sandeen, a San Diego transgender activist, is quoted in an LAT story about the tragedy of a sportswriter at that paper who committed suicide after transitioning to live as a woman and then going back to living as a man. “She didn’t know who to trust in the community,” Sandeen told the LAT, “because all these people were willing to use her.”
  • Finally, a travel blog names San Diego as the second best place for sunbathing in the world.

Rio de Janeiro is No. 1. We just beat out Honolulu at No. 3. In your (tanned, wrinkled and dermatologist-acquainted) face, Hawaii!

— RANDY DOTINGA

Dagny Salas

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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