In which, Rep. Rice plays to my vanity

I know it is boring, but it is my policy to publicly post any correspondence I receive from one of my elected representatives, especially the form letters. This one is from Representative Tom Rice, who represents those of us living in South Carolina’s House District 7, on the topic of NSA domestic spying.

In addition to voting the way I wanted him to on HR4870 to stop funding for certain NSA surveillance programs, Representative Rice called me “Dr. Witten”. No one ever calls me “Dr. Witten”, including most of my students. Continue reading “In which, Rep. Rice plays to my vanity”

Reset the Net

We here at The Finch & Pea are supporters of freedom, privacy, and the open exchange of ideas. We do our best to respect your privacy and the rights of those who produce creative content.

To those ends, we have, from the beginning published under Creative Commons licenses and have joined in advocacy to oppose government mass surveillance. Today, we are joining a multitude in the Reset the Net campaign to take steps to provide a secure Internet, because our governments will not act to respect our basic freedoms. As security expert Bruce Schneier has noted, organizations like the NSA have chosen to work to make the Internet less secure for all of us, in order to make it easier for them to attack those they perceive as threats.

As a hosted site, we cannot directly affect the addition of security features as recommended by the Reset the Net campaign. Fortunately, we don’t need to. Automattic, the parent company of has announced that it will be implementing the Reset the Net recommendations by implementing SSL on all its subdomains. They have also created an easy to implement Internet Defense League widget you can put on your own site to help spread the word.

We would also encourage you to click the banner at the bottom of the page or the Reset the Net logo to get information about taking back your privacy and helping to make the Internet secure.

Science Caturday: Not Just Ceiling Cat Watching You

The biggest story this week was the revelation that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has a program called PRISM that allows it access to the private communications of users of some very popular internet services, including Facebook and Google.


Reactions ranged from denial


To shock and dismay


to outright paranoia.


all lolcats via


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