here i collect some ideas that occurred to me, and generally, personal opinions and prejudices i tend to have. some of the items might be fairly radical, so please read at your own risk. :-)
howto improve the signal-to-noise ratio in high-thoughput growth assays of sensitive bacteria by tweaking the detection dyes.
as a matter of fact, i generally think that our current copyright and patent systems are in a very bad state and are doing more harm than good. i wrote two pamphlets on the problems, a presentation at the extro2 conference in 1995, and for a discussion group at the Foresight Spring Gathering 2000.
the coolest and most promising thing i have heard of in a while is the Public Patent Foundation (http://www.pubpat.org/). their mission is to protect the public from erroneously issued patents, and they have already succeeded in killing off an important microsoft patent! please support this non-profit organization. i certainly did. amazingly enough, one of the best things about pubpat is that lawyers are running it. it almost never happens that lawyers say anything negative about patents, but these seem to be an exception, and their knowledge of the legal quirks is essential if fighting the patent system is to succeed.