Simon Brooke writes: I have an idea for a simple medical device which would greatly help in the monitoring of a disease I have, and several other diseases as well. Sooner or later one of the medical device companies is going to come up with this idea, patent it, and make a monopoly profit from it. I would much rather it were in the public domain, so all device manufacturers could use it freely, and it would therefore be available to patients at lower cost. Is there any way I can publish it that puts it in the public record, and prevents patents? Or should I actually apply for a patent and then give it away royalty free?
Simon Brooke writes: "Scotland is in electoral chaos this morning after a complex failure of an election count. Human factors account for some of the problem — two different voting systems were in use for national and local council seats, and voter confusion seems to have contributed to 100,000 spoilt papers. However, the electronic counting system has also failed, and in seven areas of the country the counting has had to be suspended, and in at least one the electronic counting system has been abandoned in favour of manual counting.
PS: Filed under 'power' because there's no 'elections' or 'politics' section!"