BBC to fans: Keep your art to yourselves

I’m one who is of the opinion that fan art—projects created by fans inspired by their favorite artists—generally helps an enterprise. And while some of it, certainly, trespasses on an original artist’s creative property, it’s hard to see the argument behind the BBC’s recent decision to quash knitting patterns posted on the internet by a Doctor Who fan:

A CRAFT enthusiast who posted knitting patterns inspired by Doctor Who characters on the internet has been forced to take them down after a copyright infringement notice from the BBC.

In a statement posted on their website, science fiction and knitting fan Mazzmatazz said they were forced to remove five designs after a notice from the BBC.

“Thanks to the BBC, I am no longer allowed to distribute any Doctor Who patterns, even for free (not that I was charging anyway). I apologise to any fans who are disappointed by this,” they said.

“If you want to see the patterns back up, I suggest you petition the BBC to relent.”

The offending knitting patterns showed how to create small toys resembling Doctor Who monsters such as the Ood and Adipose.

“The patterns I created, inspired by Doctor Who, were never for sale – they were shared under Creative Commons licenses, to prevent resale, so that other fans could enjoy and share the fun too,” Mazzmatazz said.

The infringement notice has angered bloggers who claim the BBC is overreacting to fan art, and that the patterns are not a direct representation of their characters.

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Dear Science: Nuclear power

(Updated: See Below)

Jonathan Golob, a.k.a. Dear Science, brings us an overview of nuclear power, just in time for its return to the spotlight.

From the entry on radiation, since it’s the scary part:

Imagine we’re shooting at someone through a wall. The cannon ball, flying 40x slower than the bullet but much heavier, will smash the into the wall, causing huge amounts of damage to the wall (the first thing it hit). But, the person behind the wall will probably be ok, so long as they’re far enough behind the wall. The bullet, much lighter and faster, is far more likely to go straight through the wall–losing some speed, but retaining more on the far side of the wall than the cannon ball. The bullet has a far better chance of hitting the person.

Alpha particles, the cannon balls, can be stopped by a single sheet of paper. Smash! Likewise, the dead outer layer of skin does a damn good job of protecting your living cells from alpha particles. Beta particles, the bullets, go right through paper. A thin sheet of aluminum, or something of similar density and substance, will gobble these up.

Gamma radiation is trickier. Gamma radiation is just a freakishly high energy version of light, with almost no substance. Just like light can pass right through your hand, gamma radiation can pass through all but the heaviest and densest of metals, wreaking havoc deep into the body.

Gamma radiation is the most likely to cause your body misery. Eating an alpha emitter? Not so smart, as your gut takes the big hit rather than the dead layer of skin cells. Beta emitters can cause quite a bit of damage. But it’s gamma rays, passing right into your depths with ease, that really cause misery.

And, just to be even scarier, the really scary part:

Okay, okay. It’s actually a fun article. They all are. Thanks, Science.

Updates: I have added links to installments in the series that were published after this post.

I like bacon

You know, I like bacon, but … well, let’s just say I’m dubious.

Each can is 9 ounces of fully cooked and drained bacon. Between 2-3/4 and 3-1/4 pounds of raw bacon go into each can. Each can is the highest quality fresh #1 bacon slices. Cured to our specifications, cooked and then hand wrapped, rolled and packed in the U.S.

We cook this bacon down for you prior to canning, so you won’t pay for all of the natural shrinkage that occurs whenever you cook bacon. Then we carefully drain all of the fat and liquid off and can it fresh so it will taste as good out of the can as it would right out of the refrigerator.

A fine consolation, not paying for natural shrinkage. A case (12 cans) currently sells for $109.95, which works out to between $2.82 and $3.33 per uncooked pound. A good price compared to the stuff you get at the grocery store and take home to cook, but not a figure to inspire confidence in the quality.

Bacon in the can

Rolled in napkins, straight out of the can.


Ready to eat.

(A tip of the hat to Paul Constant at Slog.)