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first_imgKolkata: The 76th battalion of Border Security Force (BSF) posted at Hakimpur Border Out Post (BOP) has detained one Khairul Sardar with approximately 400 gram of gold biscuits worth Rs 10,000 on Tuesday morning. The 23 battalion of BSF posted at Mustafapur BOP detained one Lokman Pal with 3 kg gold biscuits worth Rs 95,000. Both of them were handed over to the police after formal paper work.According to the BSF, a team planned a special operation acting on a tip off on Tuesday morning. Around 7:30 am, the BSF team saw suspicious movement of a bike that was moving towards Bashirhat. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeWhen the jawans ordered the biker to stop, he tried to flee. The BSF team chased the bike and was able to intercept the suspect. After checking the bike, the jawans recovered three gold biscuits concealed in the cavity of the vehicle. On the other hand, the BSF team in Mustafapur saw Pal talking to a Bangladeshi national near the International Border. When he returned the BSF personnel detained him on suspicion. After searching him, a total of 26 gold biscuits was found concealed on the upper part of his right thigh with Knee cap on.last_img read more


first_img 11 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global January 18, 2016 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.center_img Samuel Pofcher promised to do something crazy if enough people pledged a dollar or more to his “smart wallet” Kickstarter project. He would have the words “THANK YOU FOREVER” tattooed across his belly.A month later, his campaign surpassed its $35,000 goal. But the 22-year-old never got the tattoo. And his 315 backers never got their wallets either.Related: Finders Keepers: You’ll Never Lose This GPS-Enabled Smart WalletIn fact, the Bluetooth wallet — designed to help users easily locate their iPhones — doesn’t yet exist. Either through incompetence, poor planning or something more insidious, no one who ordered one of these wallets 16 months ago has ever received one. And what happened to the crowdfunding cash raised remains unclear.Empty promises, empty walletsPofcher and his co-founder on the project, fellow Boston-area aspiring entrepreneur Stephen Lamarre, 26, both said the campaign’s failure to deliver is rooted in a bitter falling out. Pofcher claims Lamarre — who originally thought up the concept for the product — was power hungry, demanding a “greedy” equity stake in StreetSmart, the Pelham, N.H.-based startup they’d built around the wallet. Lamarre, for his part, claims he only asked for 5 percent more than his original 50 percent stake in the venture.The former friends, who no longer speak to each other, said the funds raised on Kickstarter were quickly exhausted on smart wallet prototype designs and materials, and on marketing and PR.Related: Why the Wallet Is the Perfect Product for CrowdfundingImage Credit: StreetSmart | IndiegogoSo they double-dipped, like many crowdfunders do, launching the same smart wallet on Indiegogo as they had on Kickstarter. There, StreetSmart checked off another relatively lukewarm crowdfunding victory, ponying up from 100 backers just shy of $12,000, raising their total crowdfunding kitty to $48,237. This time, Lamarre celebrated StreetSmart’s second crowdfunding win without Pofcher. He’d called it quits two weeks into the Indiegogo run. Pofcher’s departure left Lamarre on the hook for a fledgling enterprise that still needed the basics to launch — a functional app, Bluetooth integration, a manufacturer, a leather pattern supplier and a lot more, much of it out of his scope of expertise.Months went by and progress stalled. Lamarre brought on help to replace Pofcher. For one reason or another — none very clear — none of the replacements panned out. Again, Lamarre was left to push forward on his own and Kickstarter and Indiegogo backers were left to wonder what happened to their money and their wallet orders.Related: Kickstarter Hires Journalist to Investigate Campaign That Failed to Deliver to BackersMultitasking at its finest | SmartWallet #SmartWallet #StreetSmart #WearableTech #HighFashionHighTech #HFHT #SSB pic.twitter.com/WwBBFtMjmI— StreetSmart Brand (@LiveStreetSmart) December 23, 2014Mike Waluska is one of those backers. The 27-year-old Memphis resident and solutions engineer pledged $75 for a StreetWise wallet on Indiegogo 12 months ago. Since last August, he has emailed five refund requests to Lamarre. So far, all of his emails have gone unanswered.He said it’s enough to turn him off of crowdfunding forever.“This was my first and certainly last contribution to crowdfunding,” Waluska said. “It’s not right, but I don’t expect to ever see my $75 or the wallet. I think these guys are scammers and they need to be exposed — and stopped — before they do this again.”Left empty-handed for months, many of Lamarre and Pofcher’s other backers grew only more furious. An increasing chorus of spurned backers have taken to calling Lamarre and Pofcher “crooks,” “thieves” and “lying con artists,” accusing them of pocketing their money for personal gain.  Pofcher said they’re flat-out wrong. He claims he never spent a single penny from the Kickstarter campaign for personal reasons. “Sadly enough, I walked away with nothing, absolutely nothing,” he said.Related: The Inventors of This Travel Jacket Set Out to Raise $20,000 With Crowdfunding and Ended Up Raising More Than $10 Million. Here’s What Happened Next.  For his part, Lamarre said the same goes for him. The money raised on Kickstarter was used strictly for the smart wallet venture, he contends. Nothing more. Ditto for the Indiegogo funds. Yet neither he nor Pofcher are able to produce proof of where the crowd funds were spent. At one point, Lamarre offered to provide us with an itemized list of how it was spent. He never did.A troubling track recordThe smart wallet saga hasn’t been enough to stop Lamarre from jumping into crowdfunding again. Six months ago, he launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for a nutritional supplement dispenser under the brand FitNatic, which he co-founded. On our way to the endless adventure… #BreakBali #TheBreak pic.twitter.com/7sq5G8ur8k— StreetSmart Brand (@LiveStreetSmart) June 7, 2015Related: Nearly 1 in 10 Kickstarter Projects Fails to Deliver RewardsBut before it was complete, the campaign for the $500 Keurig-like supplement machine came to a grinding halt. Lamarre postponed the effort after his fellow FitNatic co-founders, Aldo Beqiraj, 25, and Jesse Caruso, 25 — whom also heavily consulted on both of StreetSmart’s crowdfunding bids — butted heads over the direction of the company.In an email to Entrepreneur, Lamarre accused Beqiraj of stealing money from him. But, the day after he made that claim, he asked to recant it. “I improperly considered what Aldo has done to me and my companies as stealing,” he said. “Aldo had ignorantly used money to develop an app and work with an overseas company to produce the smart wallet. That was never finished, thus causing everyone on the StreetSmart team to have to start merely from scratch. Aldo’s track record of what he does to companies is quite evident in his past dealings and outcomes. He took me and my company for a costly test drive, then parted ways, as he has done with every other thing [Company/Campaign] he did not want to follow through with.”Related: How Much Does a Person Typically Donate to a Kickstarter Campaign? Here’s Your Answer.Getting ready for #TCDisrupt #SmartWallet #LiveStreetSmart pic.twitter.com/zdxl1TOuSz— StreetSmart Brand (@LiveStreetSmart) April 30, 2015Beqiraj refutes Lamarre’s original claim, maintaining he stole nothing. He also said he’s “pretty sure” the money from the smart wallet’s Kickstarter campaign “was used to pay for a PR company so the second campaign, the Indiegogo campaign, would do better.”As it turns out, FitNatic Nourish was one of six other crowdfunding efforts that Beqiraj and Caruso were involved with (without Lamarre or Pofcher) that also never delivered. In separate interviews, they blamed the failed campaigns they’ve had their hands in on a litany of similarly complicated founder disagreements and dramas. They also claim the approximately $294,000 in backer money the various unfulfilled campaigns between them garnered was never used for personal purposes.  Beqiraj and Caruso maintain that they are not fraudsters and, despite their differences with them, said Pofcher and Lamarre aren’t either. They’ve all just had “really bad luck with crowdfunding,” Beqiraj said.A wallet after all?Determined to succeed, Lamarre said he’s ignoring the haters and forging ahead with making the smart wallet in spite of all the setbacks. He promises that he’s still working to fulfill backers’ pre-orders from both crowdfunding efforts.  “Everything has a learning curve and some would rather quit than learn,” he said. “I am learning and pushing forward while everyone else has quit. I am actively working toward our deadline of mid-February for a completed product, ready to be shipped to our backers.”Related: Kickstarter Boldly Locks Its Mission Into Its Legal FrameworkIn an effort to show that he’s making good on his commitments to backers, Lamarre provided us with the phone number of Michael Taveniku, CEO of a Nashua, N.H.-based streaming data firm called XCube Communication Inc. Taveniku said that Lamarre paid him approximately $7,000 about a year ago to design the wallet’s internal electronic components. Lamarre told us the money he paid to Taveniku was from StreetSmart’s crowdfunding efforts.“I truly believe [Stephen] will come through on these wallets and provide them to backers,” Taveniku said. “Unfortunately he delegated the work to people who were supposed to do the job and they didn’t do it, and now he’s making it right.”Of course, it’s in Taveniku’s best interests that Lamarre makes it right and comes through. After all, he plans to take 10 percent ownership of Lamarre’s company “once the wallets get off the ground.”Taveniku, currently working pro bono for Lamarre, hopes to complete the wallet’s internal electronic designs in “the next couple of weeks.” He said Lamarre will purchase the hardware for the electronics components elsewhere.Related: Will Equity Crowdfunding Laws Be the Death of Kickstarter?Another company Lamarre is working with is Allen Manufacturing, Inc. in Lewiston, Maine. David Allen, the owner and president, confirmed that he is building a prototype of the leather portion of the wallet.Lamarre said he expects to receive that prototype by mid- to late-February — the same time frame he put forth for delivery of the completed wallet to backers. Charge & Chat | #StreetSmart Less than 10 Day to Get Your Own #SmartWallet on #Indiegogo http://t.co/GoSOtkuGmR pic.twitter.com/lo4e5t53eY— StreetSmart Brand (@LiveStreetSmart) January 13, 2015The blame gameEven if the wallets are somehow ready to ship out soon — leather, electrical components, software and companion iPhone app and all — it seems many of the project’s backers would prefer their money back instead. Lamarre said he refunded some of the people who specifically requested refunds. He would not, however, specify how many refunds he claims to have issued. “I don’t have the exact number off the top of my head.”  Indeed, a handful of Kickstarter backers said, via comments, that they were refunded — one as recently as 11 days ago.Meanwhile, others said they have yet to see a cent, and claim to be taking action. A smart wallet Kickstarter backer who goes by the name of Miles Smith says he notified the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about Pofcher and Lamarre’s failure to deliver.Related: Take a Step Back. Set a Realistic Goal for Your Crowdfunding Campaign.“Sam Pofcher and these scammers have stolen nearly $50,000 from backers across both Kickstarter and Indiegogo,” he wrote on Nov. 10 in the comments section on Kickstarter. “Do not let them get away with it! If they get away with it, then other scammers will see how easy it is. Make Sam and the Street ‘Smart’ Brand pay for their crimes.”The FTC neither confirmed nor denied the existence of Smith’s alleged case. The agency, which last June took unprecedented legal action against a Kickstarter creator who spent crowdfunds mostly on himself, also declined to comment on crowdfunding campaign creators’ responsibilities to backers under the law in general.    Whether a project falls apart due to creator ineptitude or fraud, crowdfunding platforms Indiegogo and Kickstarter aren’t on the hook. They may suspend projects and project creators who abuse their systems, but ultimately it’s not their job to vet creators.Related: Why Motormood Cancelled Its Kickstarter Campaign Days Before Reaching Its $130,000 GoalIn its Terms of Use, Indiegogo states that it is “under no obligation to become involved in disputes between campaign owners and contributors.” In the event of “any dispute,” however, such as a campaign creator’s failure to comply with its terms or failure to deliver a perk, it will provide campaign creator’s contact information to backers so they can resolve their dispute on their own accord.Indiegogo would not comment on the StreetSmart campaign. Neither would Kickstarter, which recently hired a journalist to investigate a $3.6 million nano drone campaign that failed to deliver.A recent study revealed that 1 in 10 projects on Kickstarter fail to deliver their promised rewards. In most cases, the reason isn’t fraud — it’s that project creators simply fail to prepare for a successful campaign, said Sally Outlaw, co-founder and CEO of Peerbackers.com, a crowdfunding consulting firm. “They don’t have a good post-campaign fulfillment plan in place — addressing, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, inventory storage and even backer communications, etc.”For backers, that means the onus is on them. “Bottom line,” Outlaw says, “don’t contribute more to a project than you can afford to lose.”Related: Last Year, Reading Rainbow Raised $5.4 Million on Kickstarter. Then, the Real Work Began. Register Now »last_img read more


first_imgAt the 32nd annual  NeurIPS conference held earlier this month, Edward William Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University spoke about how decision makers and tech experts can work together to make better policies. The talk was aimed at answering questions such as why should public policy matter to AI researchers, what role can researchers play in policy debates, and how can researchers help bridge divides between the research and policy communities. While AI and machine learning are being used in high impact areas and have seen heavy adoption in every field, in recent years, they have also gained a lot of attention from the policymakers. Technology has become a huge topic of discussion among policymakers mainly because of its cases of failure and how it is being used or misused. They have now started formulating laws and regulations and holding discussions about how society will govern the development of these technologies. Prof. Felten explained how having constructive engagement with policymakers will lead to better outcomes for technology, government, and society. Why tech should be regulated? Regulating tech is important, and for that researchers, data scientists, and other people in tech fields have to close the gap between their research labs, cubicles, and society. Prof. Felten emphasizes that it is up to the tech people to bridge this gap as we not only have the opportunity but also a duty to be more active and productive in participating in public life. There are many people coming to the conclusion that tech should be regulated before it is too late. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal, three experts debated about whether the government should regulate AI. One of them, Ryan Calo explains, “One of the ironies of artificial intelligence is that proponents often make two contradictory claims. They say AI is going to change everything, but there should be no changes to the law or legal institutions in response.” Prof. Felten points out that law and policies are meant to change in order to adapt according to the current conditions. They are not just written once and for all for the cases of today and the future, rather law is a living system that adapts to what is going on in the society. And, if we believe that technology is going to change everything, we can expect that law will change. Prof. Felten also said that not only the tech researchers and policymakers but the society also should also have some say in how the technology is developed, “After all the people who are affected by the change that we are going to cause deserve some say in how that change happens, how it is used. If we believe in a society which is fundamentally democratic in which everyone has a stake and everyone has a voice then it is only fair that those lives we are going to change have some say in how that change come about and what kind of changes are going to happen and which are not.” How experts can work with decision makers to make good tech decisions The three key approaches that we can take to engage with policymakers to take a decision about technology: Engage in a two-way dialogue with policymakers As a researcher, we might think that we are tech experts/scientists and we do not need to get involved in politics. We need to just share the facts we know and our job is done. But if researchers really want to maximize their impact in policy debates, they need to combine the knowledge and preferences of policymakers with their knowledge and preferences. Which means, they need to take into account what policymakers might already have heard about a particular subject and the issues or approaches that resonate with them. Prof. Felten explains that this type of understanding and exchange of ideas can be done in two stages. Researchers need to ask several questions to policymakers, which is not a one-time thing, rather a multi-round protocol. They have to go back and forth with the person and need to build engagement over time and mutual trust. And, then they need to put themselves into the shoes of a decision maker and understand how to structure the decision space for them. Be present in the room when the decisions are being made To have their influence on the decisions that get made, researchers need to have “boots on the ground.” Though not everyone has to engage in this deep and long-term process of decision making, we need some people from the community to engage on behalf of the community. Researchers need to be present in the room when the decisions are being made. This means taking posts as advisers or civil servants. We already have a range of such posts at both local and national government levels, alongside a range of opportunities to engage less formally in policy development and consultations. Creating a career path and rewarding policy engagement To drive this engagement, we need to create a career path which rewards policy engagement. We should have a way through which researchers can move between policy and research careers. Prof. Felten pointed to a range of US-based initiatives that seek to bring those with technical expertise into policy-oriented roles, such as the US Digital Service. He adds that if we do not create these career paths and if this becomes something that people can do only after sacrificing their careers then very few people will do it. This needs to be an activity that we learn to respect when people in the community do it well. We need to build incentives whether it is in career incentives in academia, whether it is understanding that working in government or on policy issues is a valuable part of one kind of academic career and not thinking of it as deter or a stop. To watch the full talk, check out NeurIPS Facebook page. Read Next NeurIPS 2018: Rethinking transparency and accountability in machine learning NeurIPS 2018: Developments in machine learning through the lens of Counterfactual Inference [Tutorial] Accountability and algorithmic bias: Why diversity and inclusion matters [NeurIPS Invited Talk]last_img read more