May 2018 Archives

Here's the shape of a 21st century I don't want to see. Unfortunately it looks like it's the one we're going to get, unless we're very lucky.

Some of you might be aware of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) that comes into force throughout the EU on May 25th. (For a broader lay person's introduction, see this essay by Jacques Mattheij.)

Here's what you need to know about this website and GDPR:

  • This may look like a personal blog, and as such you might think it's exempt from GDPR (Article 2 states that the regulation doesn't apply to processing of personal data "by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity"). However, this blog is an adjunct to my business (writing novels) and is used for marketing purposes from time to time (carrying marketing information about my books, and links to third parties selling them). Prudence dictates that I should comply with the requirements of the GDPR—not to mention ethics: GDPR is about protecting individuals' privacy, and I'm all in favour of that.

  • I do business on such a small scale that, essentially, I'm responsible for everything on this website. (I sometimes pay other folks consultancy fees to do design or technical maintenance tasks I'm not competent to do myself.) Thus, all the corporate roles and responsibilities outlined in GDPR (such as the Data Protection Officer) devolve to me.

  • This website retains blog entries and blog comments. By posting an entry on this blog, or by commenting on an entry, you are implicitly agreeing to let me republish your material around the world. (This is mentioned in the moderation policy which you were advised to read before commenting, and I make it clear to the invited guest bloggers in their intro email.)

  • EDIT Spamming is a violation of the moderation policy of this blog and strictly forbidden. The blog uses external third-party services (specifically Akismet) to identify and reject spam comments that have been posted to multiple blogs. Because this is not a Typepad system, I have no access to Akismet-collected metadata about your comments. The content of your comments is publicly accessible, and is made visible to Akismet's service at the time of posting, as a precondition for posting on my blog. If for some reason you don't want your comment to be shared with Akismet, (a) stop commenting, and (b) contact me to have your earlier comments removed.

  • This website runs on top of a software stack using the Apache web server. Yes, Apache saves logfiles. These are only digested for statistical analysis of overall traffic. It also uses cookies to maintain your login session if you create a username and password so that you can comment (or post blog entries). Stuff it knows about you includes the IP address your browser request came from, the page requested, the referrer page (if any), and your browser identification string (if any). If this worries you, you're welcome to use a VPN and obfuscate or anonymize any or all of these things: you won't be blocked (although it may make posting comments problematic if you block cookies and/or javascript).

  • This website does not attempt to track you, does not knowingly feed your personally identifiable information to any other business or advertising affiliate or network—I don't even use Google Analytics—and I don't intend to start collecting or processing personal identifiable information.

  • This website may leak information about your session to third parties if you allow it to load content in the sidebar from Zazzle.co.uk (hint: the merchandise links), and if you view it with image loading enabled (I sometimes post image links that direct to websites I don't control).

  • Many years ago I ran a mailing list; this is now discontinued/deleted. More recently I set up a Google Group (antipope-storm-shelter or some such), so long ago I've lost track of it. That is covered by Google's GDPR compliance policy. If I ever decide to relaunch my author mailing list, I will do so by outsourcing operations to a third party organization that is GDPR compliant, and I will only ever operate a mailing list on a strict opt-in basis: I will never harvest your email address from your blog login for my own, or a third party's, mailing list.

  • If you want to exercise your right to be forgotten, or have personal information removed from this site, Contact me via this link if you don't already have my email address, or DM me on Twitter (@cstross). I do not use Facebook: requests made via Facebook will probably be missed. Note that I am not a corporation with a dedicated IT support staff and I spend 4-10 weeks of each year traveling, frequently without a laptop. If you don't get a reply within a week, email me again—I probably didn't get your request or I was swamped by other stuff.

  • Once I receive a GDPR request I will comply with it promptly, but bear in mind I'm a human being with a day job, and this blog is a peripheral pursuit. If your requests become an irritant (e.g. if you request multiple fiddly comment deletions or edits across multiple threads) I may just erase all your content and ban you from the blog in future. (GDPR gives you a right to be forgotten; it does not impose an obligation to be remembered.)

Any questions? Ask below. Use this link for GDPR requests

Nope, Charlie's not done, it's just me again.

Yes, I wish Cthulhu Counterfactual was the title of the book I was publishing, but alas. Charlie's tied up in a D=3.76931323 fractal dimensional knot that he needs to solve in order to bring his trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, and I decided to fill in the silence with some silliness.

So...Anyone interested in playing a game of Cthulhu Counterfactual?

It's simple, playing what-if with a question that subverts the Mythos in some way.

Stop me if you've heard this before:

Hobby Lobby, the American arts and crafts stores owned by anti-contraception Christian fundamentalists the Green family (who most famously sued for exemption from the Affordable Care Act because it required them to provide health insurance covering contraception for female as well as male employees) have been at it again.

The Museum of the Bible in Washington DC opened in November 2017; claiming to have one of the largest collections of biblical artefacts and texts in the world, it's primarily funded by donations from the Green family (owners of Hobby Lobby) and the National Christian Foundation. (You can take a biblical literalist view of history—young earth creationism—as a given.)

It now appears that a large number of artifacts in the museum, donated by Hobby Lobby, were smuggled out of Iraq via the UAE, as part of the extensive archaeological looting of historic sites that took place in the wake of the Iraq invasion. (Hobby Lobby was forced to relinquish 5,500 artifacts for repatriation to the Iraq Museum, and paid a $3M settlement.)

Anyway, the latest update: hundreds of the looted 4000-year-old cuneiform tablets in the Hobby Lobby collection appear to come from the lost Sumerian city of Irisagrig: they've been identified as legal and administrative texts between 3600 and 4100 years old, although a few contain religious/magical incantations.

So: dubious Protestant fundamentalist cultists, 4000 year old lost cities, looted archaeological sites, magic spells ... does this remind you of anything?

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

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