NGC 4762

ngc 4762This is a disk galaxy seen almost perfectly edge on. The image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows us just how thin disk galaxies can be. NGC 4762, a galaxy in the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, is so thin that it is actually difficult to determine what type of disk galaxy it is. Its lack of a visible dust lane suggests that it is probably a low-dust lenticular galaxy, but it is still possible that a view from another angle would reveal spiral structure. The galaxy spans about 100,000 light years from end to end, with its center showing a slight bulge of stars. Most galaxies don’t appear this thin because our point of view from Earth doesn’t line up well enough with the planes of their thin galactic disks. However, galaxies this thin are common. Indeed, our own Milky Way Galaxy is thought to have roughly the same overall dimensions as NGC 4762.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Hands Off My Gun

HandsOffMyGunDana Loesch’s new book is available at Amazon.

The book is receiving good reviews, and I will post one here at Hogewash! as soon as I finish reading my copy.

One comment that Glenn Reynolds has made several times over at Instapundit is: “You can’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ll bet this cover sells some books.” Having met Mrs. Loesch at CPAC, I add these two points. First, she’s thoughtful and intelligent, so I have high expectations for the quality of her book. Second, the picture on the cover doesn’t do her justice. Rule 5!

Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign

Johnny is still deeply engaged in an important investigation. Here’s another recycled episode.

Johnny Atsign Logo 2ANNOUNCER: From Westminster, it’s time for—

SOUND: Skype rings once.

JOHNNY: Johnny Atsign.

BLOGGER: (Telephone Filter) Good morning, Mr. Atsign.

JOHNNY: Good morning.

BLOGGER: (Telephone Filter) Are you booked next Tuesday?

JOHNNY: I’m busy, but I could arrange to have part of the day free.

BLOGGER: (Telephone Filter) Good. I’d like you to be a witness for me.

JOHNNY: A court appearance?

BLOGGER: (Telephone Filter) (Fading Out) Sorta/Kinda. Let me explain …

MUSIC: Theme up and under.

ANNOUNCER: The Lickspittle Broadcasting System presents W. J. J. Hoge in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed Twitter account, America’s fabulous free-lance Internet investigator …

JOHNNY: Yours Truly, Johnny Atsign!

MUSIC: Theme up to music out. Continue reading

Hiding in Plain Sight

One of the tactics used in the discovery phase of a lawsuit is to stonewall until forced to produce evidence by the court and then to bury the opposing side with a huge dump of paperwork at the last second. That’s the tactic the Department of Justice appears to have used in the suit filed by Judicial Watch over the non-response to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act request for emails related to Operation Fast and Furious.

The DoJ has tried to claim executive privilege. The court order the DoJ to provide a complete list of the emails together with a description of why each was privileged. The DoJ wanted until after the election to respond. The judge order the response due this month.

John Hinderacker has an analysis of the information divulged by the list of emails over at PowerLine. Read the whole thing and find out why the Administration wanted the information out of the public eye. Especially before the election.

Open Carry

Charles C. W. Cooke has a piece over at NRO called Moms Demand SWATting. It deals with a disturbing trend among the idiot fringe of the gun control movement of calling 911 whenever someone is seen openly carrying a firearm. One recent incident resulted in an black customer in a WalMart being shot to death because he had an air rifle from the store shelves in his hands.

I live in Maryland, a state that engages in massive resistance to second amendment civil rights, so open carry is not an option for me except when I am in the field hunting. However, even when I am in place where my second amendment rights are not suppressed, I rarely practice open carry. I don’t believe that it is wise for me in most instances.

First, there’s the problem of nervous nellies calling the cops or other folks becoming excited. Having to deal with such nonsense causes needless delays. Second, and more important, there’s the tactical advantage of surprise which has been useful in a couple of situations. Third, there’s the advantage of discretion. If no one else knows I’m armed, I may be able to defuse an altercation without the implicit threat of a weapon on my hip.

Too many open carry advocates are proceeding in an unhelpful and off-putting manner. However, the response from the gun control nuts, “Exercise your rights under the law, and I’ll threaten your life,” is shamefully immoral.

UPDATE—Someone doesn’t seem to like this post. Among the suspects are several who are prohibited from possessing a firearm because a their status as a convicted felon or a fugitive from justice.TK201410041830Z

Assumption of Risk

Life is risky. When I get out of bed, I risk tripping and falling. When I stay in bed, I risk missing breakfast. One of the essential parts of being free is my ability to choose which risk to take. One of the desirable features of our constitutional form of government is its protection of my freedom to choose which risks to assume. It’s notable failures are often related to allowing someone else to take those choices for me.

The recent beheading in Oklahoma has got folks talking about the possible value of “bring your gun to work” laws. There is no likelihood of the state where I live (Maryland, where the courts have ruled that the Second Amendment does not apply outside of one’s home) will pass such a law, and that’s one limitation on gun rights that does not bother me per se.

Private property owners should have the freedom to assume the risks associated with maintaining their property as a gun-free zone. Of course, assumption of that risk should include liability for protecting guests from violence. As an employer, I should have the right to manage my employees’ behavior on the job. As a business owner, I should also have the responsibility for providing a safe environment for my employees and customers, and I should be held accountable if I fail to do so. I should be held strictly accountable if I act to increase an employee’s or patron’s risk.

This gets to my problem with most “bring your gun to work” laws. They force an employer to assume the risk of armed employees rather than allowing him to choose to assume the risks associated with maintaining a gun-free zone. Morally, this is no different from forcing the employer to assume the cost of birth control as a part of health coverage rather than the risk of paying for a pregnancy. As Charles C. W. Cooke has noted, this sort of interference with risk assumption can amount to something like Obamacare for gun owners. If a Catholic may object to birth control, why can’t a Quaker object to guns?

Don’t get me wrong. When I have run businesses, they been hospitable to firearm owners who wish to discreetly exercise their Second Amendment rights, but I believe that we should protect the right those folks who wish to operate or patronize gun-free zones as long as they are not a public nuisance and the owners fully assume the strict liability that should be associated with their choice.

800 Rounds!

The Hill reports that the wacko who jumped the fence at the White House had 800 rounds (!!!1!!111!!!) of ammunition in his car.

It was in his car and not on his person. He didn’t have a firearm either.

If it were the sort of rifle ammo I schlepped around Viet Nam, 800 rounds would weigh about 25 pounds. Personally, I never carried more than 500 rounds (twenty-five 20-round magazines) at a time, and that required using a couple of extra bandoliers.

OTOH, if it’s the kind of .22 long rifle ammo I buy for plinking, 800 rounds is only part of a box.1000rnds800 rounds could either be a whole lot of ammo, or it could be a partially full box.