Frank Hecker bio photo

Frank Hecker

Resident of Ellicott City and Howard County, Maryland, systems engineer, and occasional blogger.

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About Civility and Truth

Civility and Truth is a blog for people who

  • live or work in Howard County, Maryland
  • are interested in in-depth, data-based, non-partisan commentary and analysis of issues relevant to Howard County and the world beyond
  • are willing to put up with periodic posts on other stuff that interests me

The name of this blog comes from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. When her heroine Elizabeth Bennett was subjected to the pompous bloviations of Mr. Collins, her former would-be suitor, in response she “tried to unite civility and truth in a few short sentences.”

My task is much easier. The people I know in Howard County are nothing like Mr. Collins, and I have space to use as many sentences as I please. However I found the notion of uniting civility and truth a congenial one, and the shout-out to the Howard County Library System’s “Choose Civility” campaign was too good to resist.

The fine print

Unless otherwise noted all Civility and Truth content is created by me (Frank Hecker) and is freely available for commercial and non-commercial use under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For uses beyond the scope of “fair use” you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests that I endorse you or your use. For detailed terms of use please see the full license.

All Civility and Truth posts are my own opinions as an individual and do not necessarily represent the official positions of any of my employers past, present, or future, or of any other organization.

Civility and Truth uses web fonts served by Google under the terms of the Google API Terms of Service. For more information on the information collected by Google in connection with the use of such fonts see the Google Fonts General FAQ. Civility and Truth posts displaying mathematical notation also use JavaScript code served by MathJax under the MathJax CDN Terms of Service.

The Civility and Truth site itself does not host advertisements, use Google Analytics or any other third-party user tracking service, or collect user information other than client IP address and browser versions. However third-party content such as YouTube videos embedded within certain Civility and Truth posts may display ads and do additional user tracking; see the terms of service for such content where applicable.

How it works

Civility and Truth is built using the Jekyll static site generator and Michael Rose’s Minimal Mistakes responsive Jekyll theme, designed to look good and load quickly on smartphones, tablets, and desktop PCs. It uses Arne Eilermann’s jekyll-tagging plugin to provide tags for each post, and Nikita Lebedev’s fork of Lawrence Woodman’s related_posts plugin to list posts related to a given post based on tags they have in common. It supports display of mathematical notation using MathJax, although at present that support does not work in the Atom feed.

Civility and Truth is self-hosted using a Linux-based virtual server provided by Digital Ocean. It is designed to be accessed via HTTPS only, with all web traffic to and from the site encrypted using strong cryptographic algorithms.1 (Connections made via HTTP will be automatically redirected to the HTTPS URL, and modern browsers told to never use HTTP for the site again.) The site is accessible via both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

The Civility and Truth site contains all blog posts previously posted to the sites and URLs for posts originally posted to will automatically be redirected to this blog, so that existing links will continue to work. Beginning in October 2015 I will also have URLs for posts originally posted at redirected to this blog. If you find any links that produce errors please notify me by email.

I deliberately did not implement a commenting system for Civility and Truth. (I got very few comments on my older blog and most of the ones I did get were spam.) I will post notices of new posts on Twitter and Facebook; you can make comments in either place if you wish, or just send them to me by email.

  1. Although the Civility and Truth web site hosts only public content, and does not request entry of any personally identifying information (PII), I thought it was better security practice to make the site HTTPS-only.