Ernest Duchesne documented it in an 1897 paper, which was not accepted by the Institut Pasteur because of his youth. In March 2000, doctors at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José, Costa Rica, published the manuscripts of the Costa Rican scientist and medical doctor Clodomiro (Clorito) Picado Twight (1887–1944). They reported Picado's observations on the inhibitory actions of fungi of the genus Penicillium between 1915 and 1927. Picado reported his discovery to the Paris Academy of Sciences, yet did not patent it, even though his investigations started years before Fleming's. Joseph Lister was experimenting with Penicillum in 1871 for his aseptic surgery. He found that it weakened the microbes, but then he dismissed the fungi.
2. That is a big problem and something hard to deal with. From my knowledge current US patent laws are first to file not first to discovery. So either you collect results and don't make them accessible to anyone or you collect results and make them open and hope that they are used to help people.
Not really that hard. The Wiki pretty much takes care of this. Under the new U.S. patent law, the first one to publish blocks all others from getting a patent. As long as the Wiki is publicly viewable, it's a publication. And one year after it's published, the patent rights die forever.
I'd be more concerned about the penicillin effect: a French guy discovered it first, but didn't patent it (anecdotally, because he wanted to "do the right thing" and give it to the world, though I don't have a verified source for that). Since it wasn't patented and wasn't patentable, it wouldn't be profitable. So the drug companies (again, anecdotally) ignored it. Until the 1940s, when (1) there were patentable improvements in the process, (2) there were suddenly a LOT of injured people who could use an antibacterial agent, and (3) (related to 2) the U.S. military heavily subsidized it.
Why stop with just hidden compartments that drug runners use? I happen to know (meaning I've seen it on TV) that drug dealers keep drugs in safes, so we should outlaw those too. And safety deposit boxes too. And don't even get me started on those tricky boxes that stage magicians have, they might be used to conceal something.
Also, everybody knows that only terrorists use encryption.
My only issue is how would you license patents from a defunct company.
You license them from the bankruptcy creditor who ended up with them. This isn't that complicated. Patents are property, just like the chairs and desks. When a company goes belly up, the bankruptcy court sells what anybody is willing to buy. Assets don't just disappear into the aether.
Imagine chess replacing actual war.
You mean like this?
> an alternative format that can properly serve the same purpose: to be able to distribute documents in a way that is rendered identical
You mean LaTeX, or its modern descendant tetex, I think. Or the original Postscript standard, which has been effectively replaced by the open source tool ghostscript in most environments due to some outrageous licensing fees from Adobe.
One reason to use PDF is that it is a de factor standard, not becuase it actually renders more consistently than those older standards. Another is that it is possible to get commercial support for it, and a third is that it supports some useful "fill-in-blanks" formats. But consistent document formatting is not a reason to prefer PDF over LaTeX. Another is its very tight integration with most powerful web browsers, which does tend to make things faster than loading up the separate view application.
You're comparing apples and oranges. PDF and LaTeX are not competitors; they are complementary. LaTeX is just a text processing language. Your
The only real competitor I've seen for PDF is Microsoft's XPS, and I'm not aware of how or why it's inherently better. But in any case, the format is not the problem. The reader is the problem. Hence, Google's move.
and a supreme court acting as a wholly owned subsidiary of our corporate masters
I'm really with you, except on this point. Federal judges, and especially Supreme Court justices, are notorious for being wild cards. In retrospect, some of the most notoriously liberal judges have been appointed by Republicans (think Brennan and Blackmun), and some (though fewer) of the most notoriously conservative have been appointed by Democrats (think Hugo Black). Once they're in office, they are essentially little dictators. They don't have to run for reelection. They can't be fired without being impeached. Their salary can't be decreased. They can't lose an election. And they are appointed for life.
This was by design, to assure an independent judiciary. They are not bought and paid for because they answer to no one. Their only political pressure is whatever judicial legacy they want to craft (this is why we have Obamacare---Roberts didn't want to be known as the arch-conservative who shot down the law). If there is any legitimate complaint about federal judges, it is that they are too independent. But again, that's by design.