Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 2011 Woman Driver Awards

10th Place Goes to:

9th Place Goes To:

8th Place Goes To:

 7th Place Goes To:

6th Place Goes To:

5th Place Goes To:

4th Place Goes To:

 Not only a woman, but a WOMAN COP in all her official capacity!!!!

The BRONZE Medal Winner:

The SILVER Medal Winner:

 YES - her helmet is ............
................................ worn backwards .

And finally, here is our 2011 Women Drivers Awards

*** GOLD Medal Winner ***

WOW ! ! How the...?!?

Oh never mind.... CONGRATULATIONS ! !

This concludes the 2011 Women Drivers Awards Ceremony.

Thanks to all our contestants for giving us all a reason to laugh & smile.


Lava Crashing Into The Seas of Hawaii ~Wow Pictures!! !

See original web site Here - this web site has huge pictures!!  They're awesome!
Daredevil photographers brave boiling waters to capture the drama of searing-hot lava crashing into the seas off Hawaii

Two photographers risked their lives to become the first people to capture the explosive moment fiery lava crashes into the sea.Nick Selway, 28, and CJ Kale, 35, braved baking hot 110F waters to capture these images, as they floated just feet from scalding heat and floating lava bombs.The pair, who chase the lava as it flows from Kilauea through Kalapana, Hawaii, spend their days camped on the edge of active volcanoes to capture the incredible images.

 Nature's fury: Nick Selway, 28, and CJ Kale, 35, braved baking hot 110F waters to capture these images, as they floated just feet from scalding heat and floating lava bombs

 Terrifying: Mr Selway and Mr Kale dress only in swimming shorts and flippers as they float in rough seas as hot as 110F to capture the incredible images

 Steaming close: One of the daredevils braving surf, which is warmed by the lava, to snap the amazing images

 Hot and steamy: The two men use protective casings for their cameras, known as surf housings, to keep them operating in the exreme conditions
Using a simple protective casing around their cameras, and wearing just swimming shorts and flippers, they bob up and down with the water as the surf washes over their heads.But their remarkable day jobs don't come without enormous danger.Last year Mr Kale tumbled 20ft into a lava-tube with 40lb of camera gear on his back, shattering his ankle. Others have died in the area due to land falling away.

 Beautiful, but dangerous: Mr Selway and Mr Kale don't recommend that others attempt to recreate the incredible shots

 Magma: Mr Kale and Mr Selway spend days camped out on the edge of volcanoes to capture their shots at just the right moment

 Daily drama: There are currently three active volcanoes in Hawaii

 Colourful: Several different striking hues are on display in one of nature's greatest phenomenons - including grey, blue and red (left), and orange and purple (right)

Mr Kale, from Hawaii, said: 'We shoot pictures all over the world but our volcano images are shot here on the island because it's so spectacular.'Our days are spent on the edge of volcanoes, either leaving at midnight to get out before the light of the rising sun or hiking in the day and then staying overnight.'We use surf-housing which is a protective case so we can venture into the water with our cameras, as the heat and water would be too much for them.'It's 110F where we were and just 20ft in front of us it was boiling.'We have a lot of fun but it's extremely dangerous and I wouldn't recommend anyone trying it for themselves.'I fell into a lava-tube shattering my ankle. After climbing out we had to lash my foot to my leg with a tripod, camera strap and belt and hike over the rugged terrain for two miles.'Not many people die each year but when they do it's normally in large groups when large chunks of land drop into the sea.'

 Stunning: The rising steam from the eruptions creates a rainbow across the evening sky
Mr Kale and Mr Selway, who is from Washington, are the only two people to bring such a magnificent and unique view of the volcano to the world.Mr Kale added: 'It's such an extraordinary experience and we feel lucky to be able to turn our photography into what we do for a living.'The views are really something special and completely unique every time.'I wouldn't rather be doing anything else.'

Bleak: Smoke rises off rivers of fiery lava as it crashes into the sea
Hawaii is an collection of volcanic islands located over a geological 'hot spot' in the Central Pacific. There are eight major islands and six of these are open to tourism.Hawaii - or the 'Big Island' - is the largest of the islands and home to Mauna Kea and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which includes two of the largest and most active volcanoes on Earth - Mauna Loa and Kilauea.There are currently three active volcanoes in Hawaii. Maunaloa last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983.Loihi is located underwater off the southern coast of Hawaii's Big Island and has been erupting since 1996. It could break through the surface in about 250,000 years, adding a ninth distinct island to the Hawaiian chain.

January 2013

Wieliczka Salt Mine - An Astounding Subterranean Salt Cathedral

 Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe. For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.
 From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary. It looks extremely well kept for a place that hasn’t minded any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.

 Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.
 It may feel like you are in the middle of a Jules Verne adventure as you descend in to the depths of the world. After a one hundred and fifty meter climb down wooden stairs the visitor to the salt mine will see some amazing sites. About the most astounding in terms of its sheer size and audacity is the Chapel of Saint Kinga. The Polish people have for many centuries been devout Catholics and this was more than just a long term hobby to relieve the boredom of being underground. This was an act of worship. 

 Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt. It was not simply hewn from the ground and then thrown together; however, the process is rather more painstaking for the lighting. After extraction the rock salt was first of all dissolved. It was then reconstituted with the impurities taken out so that it achieved a glass-like finish. The chandeliers are what many visitors think the rest of the cavernous mine will be like as they have a picture in their minds of salt as they would sprinkle on their meals! However, the rock salt occurs naturally in different shades of grey (something like you would expect granite to look like).

 Still, that doesn’t stop well over one million visitors (mainly from Poland and its eastern European neighbors) from visiting the mine to see, amongst other things, how salt was mined in the past.
 For safety reasons less than one percent of the mine is open to visitors, but even that is still almost four kilometers in length – more than enough to weary the average tourist after an hour or two. The mine was closed for two reasons – the low price of salt on the world market made it too expensive to extract here. Also, the mine was slowly flooding – another reason why visitors are restricted to certain areas only.
 The religious carvings are, in reality, what draw many to this mine – as much for their amazing verisimilitude as for their Christian aesthetics. The above shows Jesus appearing to the apostles after the crucifixion. He shows the doubter, Saint Thomas, the wounds on his wrists.
 Another remarkable carving, this time a take on The Last Supper. The work and patience that must have gone in to the creation of these sculptures is extraordinary. One wonders what the miners would have thought of their work going on general display? They came to be quite used to it, in fact, even during the mine’s busiest period in the nineteenth century. The cream of Europe’s thinkers visited the site – you can still see many of their names in the old visitor’s books on display. 

 These reliefs are perhaps among some of the most iconographic works of Christian folk art in the world and really do deserve to be shown. It comes as little surprise to learn that the mine was placed on the original list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites back in 1978

 Not all of the work is relief-based. There are many life sized statues that must have taken a considerable amount of time – months, perhaps even years – to create. Within the confines of the mine there is also much to be learned about the miners from the machinery and tools that they used – many of which are on display and are centuries old. A catastrophic flood in 1992 dealt the last blow to commercial salt mining in the area and now the mine functions purely as a tourist attraction. Brine is, however, still extracted from the mine – and then evaporated to produce some salt, but hardly on the ancient scale. If this was not done, then the mines would soon become flooded once again.

 Not all of the statues have a religious or symbolic imagery attached to them. The miners had a sense of humor, after all! Here can be seen their own take on the legend of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The intricately carved dwarves must have seemed to some of the miners a kind of ironic depiction of their own work.
 The miners even threw in a dragon for good measure! Certainly, they may have whistled while they did it but the conditions in the salt mine were far from comfortable and the hours were long – the fact that it was subterranean could hardly have added to the excitement of going to work each morning.

To cap it all there is even an underground lake, lit by subdued electricity and candles. This is perhaps where the old legends of lakes to the underworld and Catholic imagery of the saints work together to best leave a lasting impression of the mine. How different a few minutes reflection here must have been to the noise and sweat of everyday working life in the mine.

Sept 2011