Weerapong Chaipuck (PHOTOS)

Weerapong Chaipuck is a photographer from Thailand who’s captured numerous stunning scenes from around the world during his travels after early retirement. More of his photos can be viewed and purchased at 500px.

© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck
© Weerapong Chaipuck

Iran exports over $314 million worth of hand-made carpets

Iran exported USD 560 million of handmade carpets to countries across the world.

Iran exported over $314.8 million worth of hand-made carpets during the last Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20) which shares about 1 percent of the country’s total non-oil exports’ value.

The figure indicates a fall by 26.35 percent, compared to the preceding year, the country’s ISNA news agency reported on April 18, citing the latest report of the Iranian Customs Administration.

Hand-made carpets ranked 21 in the list of Iranian non-oil exports during the mentioned period.

The country exported its hand-made carpets to some 80 countries during the last calendar year. Germany, UAE, Japan, Lebanon, Italy, the UK, Pakistan, Qatar, Switzerland and Sweden topped the list of the countries which imported Iran’s carpets in the mentioned period.


Iran also exported some $51,000 worth of hand-made carpets to the USA.

Deputy Director of Iran National Carpet Center Mojtaba Feuzollahi said on Feb. 17 that European countries account for 48 percent of Iran’s total carpet exports.

“Iran still remains the world’s top carpet exporter,” Feyzollahi said.

There is an estimated population of 1.2 million weavers in Iran producing carpets for domestic markets and international export.

The country produces about 5 million square meters of carpets annually of which 80 percent are sold in international markets.

Kingdom Tower needs 80,000 tons of steel

Artist impression of the Kingdom Tower

JEDDAH – Advanced Construction Technology Services (ACTS), a consulting organization in the field of construction materials and geotechnical engineering, has been commissioned to carry out the quality control of all construction materials that will be used in the Kingdom Tower project, the world’s first kilometer-high skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The centerpiece and first construction phase of the Kingdom City development located along the Red Sea on the north side of Jeddah, Kingdom Tower is designed to be over 1,000 meters tall (3,280 feet), encompassing a total construction area of 530,000 square meters (5.7 million square feet). The building will have 200 floors in total, 160 of which are habitable. Its preliminary cost is set at US$ 1.23 billion, and would overshadow Dubai’s Burj Khalifa by at least 173 meters (568 feet).  

The great height of the Kingdom Tower calls for high strength, high performance concrete, and to ensure adherence to the highest quality standards, ACTS will be mobilizing state-of-the art testing equipment and expert professionals to do the third party testing works on about half a million cubic meters of concrete and around 80,000 tons of steel to be used on the mega project. ACTS will also deploy special equipment to evaluate the rheological properties of concrete to ensure concrete will be pumpable to very high elevations.

Deploying around 100 expert staff members, ACTS will install a fully-equipped site laboratory, which will carry the day-to-day quality control operations and will also provide specialized testing services from its laboratory facility in Briman area in Jeddah, which is one of the largest testing facilities in the Middle East.

Engr. Nabil Batrawi, Project Director, Saudi Bin Ladin Group (SBG), said “we selected ACTS after a thorough evaluation of their capabilities and strength. We look forward to working with them to ensure this project receives the best attention to quality it deserves.”

Engr. Khaled Awad, Chairman of ACTS, said  “the appointment of ACTS as an independent testing agency for one of the most challenging engineering structures in the world, is a vote of trust in ACTS’ capabilities and extensive experience in materials testing and engineering. We will be investing our experience and knowledge to provide accurate, traceable and reliable test information in the largest megatall building in the world.”

ACTS has been involved on similarly challenging large infrastructure projects around the Gulf, and has been providing a range of quality control services including inspection and supervision, monitoring of mass concrete, testing and evaluation of various materials as well as audit for asphalt and concrete production facilities.  Among the mega projects previously commissioned to ACTS for quality control was Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, which involved the testing of a total of 3.5 million cubic meters of concrete. — SG

Marijuana vending machines hit Colorado—and they take Bitcoin

dank marijuana. | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

With Colorado fast becoming the libertarian utopia that neckbearded redditors have long dreamed of, this was all but inevitable. A new line of marijuana vending machines that consumers can access directly—the first such devices in the U.S.—will accept Bitcoin.

Manufactured by American Green, the ZaZZZ machine was unveiled in a private event on Saturday and could make its official debut at the Herbal Elements dispensary in Avon just before 4/20, a cult holiday on which habitual pot-smokers smoke slightly more pot than usual.


As CoinDesk has pointed out, Bitcoin and weed were initially linked in Colorado because banks were wary of partnering with businesses that adhered to state regulations but skirted federal law. Unable to accept credit cards, dispensaries could only take cash or, in some cases, cryptocurrency. Small wonder, then, that the ZaZZZ is equipped with QR code technology that allows payment from digital wallets.

“It’s quick, it’s efficient, it’s trackable,” Stephen Shearin, COO of American Green parent Tranzbyte, said of Bitcoin in comments to CoinDesk.

Herbal Elements only deals in doctor-prescribed weed, however, so recreational smokers will have to wait a while to skip the line and swipe their IDs, which are verified against “active biometrics,” in order to purchase some sticky bud. Shearin, however, sees a wide range of possibilities for ZaZZZ, including the integration of medical cards. Overall, he sees the machines as an opportunity to increase efficiency, automatically monitor sales, streamline the flow of marijuana from farm to store, and allow “shy” customers a more discreet shopping experience.

“[T]hink of automated checkouts at the market,” he told the Cannibist. “Not for everyone, but for those who use it, they love it.”

Kind of like Bitcoin itself, no?

After New York’s first naked yoga studio, the nude Ibiza yoga retreat that has become a sell-out success

Slice of paradise: The retreat, in Ibiza, follows the success of naked yoga practice in both New York and London
Slice of paradise: The retreat, in Ibiza, follows the success of naked yoga practice in both New York and London

It is the trend that is encouraging New York yogis to bare it all, literally, and now it is making its way to Europe – in the form of a naked yoga retreat.

The unusual concept of stripping off to indulge in some downward dog has taken the Big Apple by storm, with classes at the Bold & Naked studio in Manhattan selling out.

Now luxury travel company Formentera Yoga has experienced similar success with its first all-naked holidays on the Balearic island of Ibiza.

Feeling free: Ibiza has always had a reputation as an island that doesn't follow the rules
Feeling free: Ibiza has always had a reputation as an island that doesn’t follow the rules

The retreat is open to both men and women and is on sale from £921. It will combine mixed yoga classes for the de-robed at a luxury finca (country house) set in 20 acres of fragrant pine forests on the north of the island overlooking the sea. The retreat has its own swimming pool and even a helipad for VIP guests.

The first experience, due to start in mid-May, has already sold out, so the company is hurriedly adding extra dates to cater to upmarket holidaymakers looking to get back to nature.

Company founder Jax Lysycia told MailOnline Travel: ‘I’m delighted to now be able to add Naked Yoga on to our rosta of retreats at Formentera Yoga and look forward to adding more dates on to our schedule this year as it’s been incredibly popular.

Rural retreat: The luxury finca is located in the pine forests of northern Ibiza, looking out to sea
Rural retreat: The luxury finca is located in the pine forests of northern Ibiza, looking out to sea

‘We realise here at Formentera Yoga that naked yoga is not for everyone, but we are delighted to welcome our naked yoga teacher Annette to our yearly programme of unique retreat events as it is an incredible form of self acceptance.’

She added: ‘Clothing is optional – not everyone has to be naked. These special retreats are about freedom and not necessarily just about being naked.’

Yoga teacher Annette, who requested her surname not be published, explained the thinking behind her naked yoga practice.

She told MailOnline: ‘Naked Yoga is an opportunity to reclaim the innocence of the body, rediscover delight that is available to us with as we become one with nature and practice, or enquire into the possibility of practicing, yoga naked within this safe, peaceful and magical haven in the quiet hills of Northern Ibiza.’

Exciting times: Formentera Yoga founder Jax Lysycia is adding more dates for naked yoga courses due to demand
Exciting times: Formentera Yoga founder Jax Lysycia is adding more dates for naked yoga courses due to demand

Annette began teaching naked yoga in London and explained: ‘The feedback from the courses was so overwhelmingly positive right from day one (I was blown away, and still am blown away by the messages I receive from people having attended the classes) so I thought “I must be doing some good…” and continued to offer them. As such Naked Yoga London was born.’

The instructor explained: ‘The benefits range from simply feeling great and free, experiencing the liberation of your body free from clothes and moving in contact with the air, and also a sense of phsychological liberation in this.’

She added: ‘Also people report becoming deeply relaxed, more deeply relaxed than they can remember and being able to take that experience into their lives.  People report being able to cope more with what life flings at them, being more accepting of themselves, getting over weight issues, being less self-conscious in many ways, loving themselves more.

Inner peace: The retreat is supposed to offer a 'safe' place to try out nude practice and experience its benefits
Inner peace: The retreat is supposed to offer a ‘safe’ place to try out nude practice and experience its benefits

‘Also, and I feel very importantly, gaining deeper respect for themselves and others and, as such, being less judgmental of themselves and others. Also simply just feeling amazing.’

Sunrise walks, meditation and health and beauty treatments are also available during the retreat, which includes food from a private chef and excursions to local beaches.



There’s a reason why the NSA likes metadata so much. Metadata–the auxiliary data generated by every digital move you make–can track a person’s digital life in detail. Now a team of Italian academics are showing how metadata can reveal the structure of organized crime groups with a software tool called LogAnalysis, which combines information from mobile phone records with police databases. And among LogAnalysis’s first users is the Carabinieri, the Italian military police.

Emilio Ferrara, a postdoc at Indiana University, created LogAnalysis with three researchers from the University of Messina in Sicily. Ferrara explains that their platform “infers, with pretty high confidence, the roles of individuals involved in criminal activity from communication data, simply looking at patterns and network features.”

Here’s how it works: Police feed phone logs they obtain into LogAnalysis; those then get mashed up with mug shots, criminal records, and other proprietary information from police databases. This information then shapes the Carabinieri’s investigations by giving vital clues about intra-group relationships of an organized crime group believed to be behind robberies, extortions, and narcotics trafficking. It’s important to note that their paper anonymized all records, and did not identify which organized crime group Italian law enforcement were investigating.

It turns out that metadata can tell quite a lot about the way an organization is set up. Matt Unger, the chief digital officer of New York firm K2 Intelligence, explained over the phone to Fast Company that “with a good analytics platform, cell phone metadata reveals who the influencers are. They are the ones who send and receive the most communications, and you can also see the ripples they make in turn.”

A number of software tools are already available to intelligence agencies, law enforcement, military, and private investigators which apply network analysis to mobile phone metadata for their investigations. In the course of their paper, IBM i2′sCOPLINK and Analyst’s NotebookXanalys’s Link Explorer, and Palantir Governmentare all cited. The researchers, however, feel their software offers a specific need.

Ferrara believes that many investigative platforms law enforcement use are designed for counterterrorism and cybercrime first, with physical crime as a secondary priority. “Our system is focused on the analysis of communication data related to criminal events occurring in the physical/offline world, as opposed to cybercrime,” he says. “It has already proved to be an asset in real investigations related to robberies, murders, prostitution, bribery, and drugs trafficking.”

The Best on show at this year’s design miami (PHOTOS)

new york-based architectural studio formlessfinder has installed a temporary pavilion at the entrance, made of an enormous mound of  miami’s sand surplus, with a cantilevered aluminum roof structure. located in a big white tent across the street from the art basel venue, the miami beach’s convention center, design miami is offering a platform for emerging talents, museum-quality works and cultural programming with panels and lectures, featuring speakers architect richard meier and media mogul martha steward.

the best on show at this year's design miami

it is about functional objects. collectible, but still functional.’ says marianne goebl, the new director of design miami, now in its seventh year and with a record of 28 galleries showcasing collectible furniture, lighting, jewelry, and objets d’art. ‘this is our biggest show to date, in number of exhibitors and total surface area.’

jean prouvé 8x8m / 26.2 x 26.2 ft demountable house, original from 1945 in metal and wood at galerie patrick seguin. 

the spotlights were on precursors of prefab houses (in full-scale on display) by modern masters jean prouvé (a number were made but only two apparently remain from 1944, one was on show at galerie patrick seguin) and charlotte perriand (‘la maison au bord de l’eau / house at the edge of the water’, designed for a competition in 1934, but never actually built, now presented by louis vuitton and displayed at the raleigh hotel). cassina showed a limited edition of the famed LC4 and paid tribute to perriand with an exhibition of her photography, meanwhile gallery downtown laffanour had a special exhibition ‘charlotte perriand – a house in montmartre’.

louis vuitton displayed ‘la maison au bord de l’eau’, a never-before built project by charlotte perriand at a design miami satellite event the raleigh hotel.

pharrell visits galerie laffanour's charlotte perriand exhibition at design miami

designboom spotted pharrell at galerie downtown laffanour presenting ‘charlotte perriand – a house in montmartre’.

image © designboom

OMA / shohei shigematsu’s model in the exhibition ‘four (4): new visions for living in miami’. coconut grove’s waterfront development by terra group and its partner, the related group, together sponsored a design competition, soliciting four teams of high-profile architects to present their visions for developing the parcel. these proposals were unveiled at design miami. the exhibit included the winning design by OMA / shohei shigematsu.

image © designboom

not to be missed was dutch designer simon heijdens’ collaboration with french champagne house perrier-jouët. he spent a year creating this mesmerizing light installation of 3-drawings in ‘sparkling liquid’.

‘metamorphosis’ gives insight into the ongoing collaboration of designer maria pergay with the italian label FENDI. aged 81, pergay is still designing remarkable objects and products using steel, glass, leather and fur, on show bathed in reflections of light naturally projected by metallic curtain strips.

image © designboom

walter lamb seating at mark mcdonald. in the late ’40s, lamb stretched nautical cotton cording across bronze frames to create elegant outdoor furniture.

image © designboom 

jonathan muecke at volume gallery.

‘mystic garden’, a vibrant brass petal screen and plant lamp by algerian artist taher chemirik exhibited at galerie BSL. also the new light pieces by ayala serfaty were very beautiful.

image © designboom 

Dupont™ Corian® has been transformed into a very thin magnificent peacock feather chair created by uufie and shown at the rossana orlandi booth.

image © designboom

mini flower offering chair by satyendra pakhale at gabrielle ammann gallery

venetian glass makers wonderglass launched a limited edition ‘night flow[T]‘ by nao tamura, the sculptural light display features hand-blown glass chandeliers. 

R 20th century gallery showed the latest hand-made works from german toy-maker renate müller. her creations were tested by psychiatric hospitals and clinics in the ’70ies and were used for balance training and orthopedic exercise as well as for sensory exercises and hand-eye coordination.

swarovski crystal palace’s mangue groove installation by guilherme torres.

image © designboom 

circuit boards, computer chips and wires form furniture designed by benjamin rollins caldwell, on display at theindustry gallery’s booth.

image © designboom


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