Saturday, February 13, 2010

Iran Goes to War ... With Google

Updated February 11, 2010
By Jeremy A. Kaplan


A war is brewing between Iran and Google, culminating in the complete shutdown of the Internet behemoth's Gmail service -- and the country's announcement of plans to create a first-of-its-kind national e-mail service, a local journalist says.

The Gmail shutdown -- and a clampdown on Internet access overall -- comes amid widespread demonstrations against the Iranian government surrounding Thursday's 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. Iran blocked access to the Internet in December ahead of protests on National Students Day, as well.

A local journalist, whose identity is being withheld for his protection, told that the Iranian government has been angrily eyeing Google for the eight months, since the company's June 18 launch of Google Farsi -- a site that translates Web pages from English into Persian, making the entire Internet available to Iranians.

"Since June, when they launched Google Farsi, the authorities have been furious," the journalist told And now Iran is taking on Google openly. Saeed Mahdyun, a telecommunications official, told the semiofficial ILNA news agency on Wednesday that Gmail would be blocked, and users will be encouraged to switch to local e-mail services.

"There's a war going on between the [state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)] and Google, and Iran is getting more and more unhappy about what Google is doing," the journalist told

"Gmail is completely shut down. Google is on and off, and Hotmail, Yahoo and all the major e-mail accounts have been shut down," he told FoxNews. "The Internet is extremely slow in Tehran; north of Tehran it has been shut down completely. West of Tehran we can still send out reports to the outside world, but it's extremely slow."

Google has confirmed the Gmail block, telling that "we have heard from users in Iran that they are having trouble accessing Gmail. We can confirm a sharp drop in traffic, and we have looked at our own networks and found that they are working properly."

"We strongly believe that people everywhere should have the ability to communicate freely online. Sadly, sometimes it is not within our control," a company spokesman said. He would not comment on overall relations with Iran.

The face-off echoes the ongoing standoff between Google and China over censorship in that nation.

On Jan 12, David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer, announced "a new approach to China" on the company's blog. Following the detection of cyberattacks intended to access the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, and the ongoing censorship in the country, Drummond wrote that Google would "review the feasibility of our business operations in China."

"We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Microsoft said that the company is actively investigating the situation, but had no immediate comment on the company's position regarding Iran. Following Google's announcement of plans to withdraw from China, Microsoft stated that its search engine, Bing, and other company software and services would remain in the country and would continue to comply with censorship demands.

On Wednesday the State Department criticized Iran over the restrictions it has placed on the Internet.

"While information technologies are enabling people around the world to communicate like never before, the Iranian government seems determined to deny its citizens access to information, the ability to express themselves freely, network and share ideas," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

"Virtual walls won't work in the 21st century any better than physical walls worked in the 20th century. The Iranian people are dynamic and determined and will find a way to overcome the obstacles the Iranian government puts in their way."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


BEIJING (Reuters) - Senior Chinese military officers have proposed that their country boost defense spending, adjust PLA deployments, and possibly sell some U.S. bonds to punish Washington for its latest round of arms sales to Taiwan.


The calls for broad retaliation over the planned U.S. weapons sales to the disputed island came from officers at China's National Defence University and Academy of Military Sciences, interviewed by Outlook Weekly, a Chinese-language magazine published by the official Xinhua news agency.

The interviews with Major Generals Zhu Chenghu and Luo Yuan and Senior Colonel Ke Chunqiao appeared in the issue published on Monday.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) plays no role in setting policy for China's foreign exchange holdings. Officials in charge of that area have given no sign of any moves to sell U.S. Treasury bonds over the weapons sales, a move that could alarm markets and damage the value of China's own holdings.

While far from representing fixed government policy, the open demands for retaliation by the PLA officers underscored the domestic pressures on Beijing to deliver on its threats to punish the Obama administration over the arms sales.

"Our retaliation should not be restricted to merely military matters, and we should adopt a strategic package of counter-punches covering politics, military affairs, diplomacy and economics to treat both the symptoms and root cause of this disease," said Luo Yuan, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences.

"Just like two people rowing a boat, if the United States first throws the strokes into chaos, then so must we."

Luo said Beijing could "attack by oblique means and stealthy feints" to make its point in Washington.

"For example, we could sanction them using economic means, such as dumping some U.S. government bonds," Luo said.

The warnings from the PLA come after weeks of strains between Washington and Beijing, who have also been at odds over Internet controls and hacking, trade and currency quarrels, and President Barack Obama's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader reviled by China as a "separatist."


Chinese has blasted the United States over the planned $6.4 billion arms package for Taiwan unveiled in late January, saying it will sanction U.S. firms that sell weapons to the self-ruled island that Beijing considers a breakaway province of China.

China is likely to unveil its official military budget for 2010 next month, when the Communist Party-controlled national parliament meets for its annual session.

The PLA officers suggested that budget should mirror China's ire toward Washington.

"Clearly propose that due to the threat in the Taiwan Sea, we are increasing military spending," said Luo.

Last year, the government set the official military budget at 480.7 billion yuan ($70.4 billion), a 14.9 percent rise on the one in 2008, continuing a nearly unbroken succession of double-digit increases over more than two decades.

The fresh U.S. arms sales threatened Chinese military installations on the mainland coast facing Taiwan, and "this gives us no choice but to increase defense spending and adjust (military) deployments," said Zhu Chenghu, a major general at China's National Defence University in Beijing.

In 2005, Zhu stirred controversy by suggesting China could use nuclear weapons if the United States intervened militarily in a conflict over Taiwan.

The United States switched official recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979. But the Taiwan Relations Act, passed the same year, guarantees Taiwan a continued supply of defensive weapons.

China has the world's biggest pile of foreign currency reserves, much of it held in U.S. treasury debt. China held $798.9 billion in U.S. Treasuries at end-October.

But any attempt to use that stake against Washington would probably maul the value of China's own dollar-denominated assets.

China has condemned previous arms sales, but has taken little action in response to them. But Luo said the country's growing strength meant that time has passed.

"China's attitude and actions over U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan will be increasingly tough," the magazine cited him as saying. "That is inevitable with rising national strength."

Editing by Jeremy Laurence

Monday, February 8, 2010

Google leaps language barrier with translator phone

February 7, 2010

GOOGLE is developing software for the first phone capable of translating foreign languages almost instantly — like the Babel Fish in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

By building on existing technologies in voice recognition and automatic translation, Google hopes to have a basic system ready within a couple of years. If it works, it could eventually transform communication among speakers of the world’s 6,000-plus languages.

The company has already created an automatic system for translating text on computers, which is being honed by scanning millions of multi-lingual websites and documents. So far it covers 52 languages, adding Haitian Creole last week.

Google also has a voice recognition system that enables phone users to conduct web searches by speaking commands into their phones rather than typing them in.

Now it is working on combining the two technologies to produce software capable of understanding a caller’s voice and translating it into a synthetic equivalent in a foreign language. Like a professional human interpreter, the phone would analyse “packages” of speech, listening to the speaker until it understands the full meaning of words and phrases, before attempting translation.

“We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time,” said Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services.

“Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on.

“If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently.”

Although automatic text translators are now reasonably effective, voice recognition has proved more challenging.

“Everyone has a different voice, accent and pitch,” said Och. “But recognition should be effective with mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you. The phone should get a feel for your voice from past voice search queries, for example.”

The translation software is likely to become more accurate the more it is used. And while some translation systems use crude rules based on the grammar of languages, Google is exploiting its vast database of websites and translated documents to improve the accuracy of its system.

“The more data we input, the better the quality,” said Och. There is no shortage of help. “There are a lot of language enthusiasts out there,” he said.

However, some experts believe the hurdles to live translation remain high. David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at Bangor University, said: “The problem with speech recognition is the variability in accents. No system at the moment can handle that properly.

“Maybe Google will be able to get there faster than everyone else, but I think it’s unlikely we’ll have a speech device in the next few years that could handle high-speed Glaswegian slang.

“The future, though, looks very interesting. If you have a Babel Fish, the need to learn foreign languages is removed.”

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the small, yellow Babel Fish was capable of translating any language when placed in the ear. It sparked a bloody war because everyone became able to understand what other people were saying.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Physicists Discover How To Teleport Energy

Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Physicist Discovers How to Teleport Energy
First, they teleported photons, then atoms and ions. Now one physicist has worked out how to do it with energy, a technique that has profound implications for the future of physics.

In 1993, Charlie Bennett at IBM's Watson Research Center in New York State and a few pals showed how to transmit quantum information from one point in space to another without traversing the intervening space.

The technique relies on the strange quantum phenomenon called entanglement, in which two particles share the same existence. This deep connection means that a measurement on one particle immediately influences the other, even though they are light-years apart. Bennett and company worked out how to exploit this to send information. (The influence between the particles may be immediate, but the process does not violate relativity because some informatiom has to be sent classically at the speed of light.) They called the technique teleportation.

That's not really an overstatement of its potential. Since quantum particles are indistinguishable but for the information they carry, there is no need to transmit them themselves. A much simpler idea is to send the information they contain instead and ensure that there is a ready supply of particles at the other end to take on their identity. Since then, physicists have used these ideas to actually teleport photons, atoms, and ions. And it's not too hard to imagine that molecules and perhaps even viruses could be teleported in the not-too-distant future.

But Masahiro Hotta at Tohoku University in Japan has come up with a much more exotic idea. Why not use the same quantum principles to teleport energy?

Today, building on a number of papers published in the last year, Hotta outlines his idea and its implications. The process of teleportation involves making a measurement on each one an entangled pair of particles. He points out that the measurement on the first particle injects quantum energy into the system. He then shows that by carefully choosing the measurement to do on the second particle, it is possible to extract the original energy.

All this is possible because there are always quantum fluctuations in the energy of any particle. The teleportation process allows you to inject quantum energy at one point in the universe and then exploit quantum energy fluctuations to extract it from another point. Of course, the energy of the system as whole is unchanged.

He gives the example of a string of entangled ions oscillating back and forth in an electric field trap, a bit like Newton's balls. Measuring the state of the first ion injects energy into the system in the form of a phonon, a quantum of oscillation. Hotta says that performing the right kind of measurement on the last ion extracts this energy. Since this can be done at the speed of light (in principle), the phonon doesn't travel across the intermediate ions so there is no heating of these ions. The energy has been transmitted without traveling across the intervening space. That's teleportation.

Just how we might exploit the ability to teleport energy isn't clear yet. Post your suggestions in the comments section if you have any.

But the really exciting stuff is the implications this has for the foundations of physics. Hotta says that his approach gives physicists a way of exploring the relationship between quantum information and quantum energy for the first time.

There is a growing sense that the properties of the universe are best described not by the laws that govern matter but by the laws that govern information. This appears to be true for the quantum world, is certainly true for special relativity, and is currently being explored for general relativity. Having a way to handle energy on the same footing may help to draw these diverse strands together.

Interesting stuff. There's no telling where this kind of thinking might lead.

Ref: Energy-Entanglement Relation for Quantum Energy Teleportation

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is You Is or Is you Ain't My Baby

Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby

I got a gal that's always late
Every time we have a date
But I love her
Yes I love her

I'm gonna walk right up to her gate
And see if I can get it straight
Cause I want her
I'm gonna ask her

Is you is or is you ain't my baby?
The way you're actin' lately makes me doubt
Yous is still my baby-baby
Seems my flame in your heart's done gone out
A woman is a creature that has always been strange
Just when you're sure of one
You find she's gone and made a change
Is you is or is you ain't my baby
Maybe baby's found somebody new
Or is my baby still my baby true?

Is you is or is you ain't my baby?
The way you're actin' lately makes me doubt
Yous is still my baby-baby
Seems my flame in your heart's done gone out
A woman is a creature that has always been strange
Just when you're sure of one
You find she's gone and made a change
Is you is or is you ain't my baby
Maybe baby's found somebody new
Or is my baby still my baby true?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2 Brainwave Technology articles

irgin Galactic and Scaled Composites recently rolled out SpaceShipTwo, a commercial passenger spaceship designed after the winning ship that captured the $10M Ansari X PRIZE for spaceflight in 2004. For those few of you who don't yet know, an X PRIZE is a $10 million+ award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, set by the X PRIZE Foundation, which has the potential to benefit humanity.)

The latest X PRIZE, however, has nothing to do with the commercialization of outer space. The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) X PRIZE will reward nothing less than a team that provides vision to the blind, new bodies to disabled people, and perhaps even a geographical “sixth sense” akin to a GPS iPhone app in the brain. Communicate by thought alone? Recent h+ articles have explored early research into this intriguing possibility (see Resources).

Peter Diamandis modeled his Ansari X PRIZE after the Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won in 1927 by flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by President Kennedy's 1961 goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade, Diamandis has, in turn, inspired pioneers and risk takers to take up the X PRIZE Challenge of flying humans into space — except this time it’s inner space.

The Brain-Computer Interface X PRIZE will reward a team that provides vision to the blind, new bodies to disabled people...

A recent workshop on the BCI X PRIZE – sponsored by Singularity University and held on the campus of MIT – brought together Peter Diamandis (Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation), Ray Kurzweil, John Donoghue (Founder of Cyberkinetics), Dr. Gerwin Schalk (holds a brain computer interface patent), and Ed Boyden (MIT Synthetic Neurobiology Group). Diamandis’ X PRIZE foundation is just starting to conduct interviews with experts, governments, and potential competitors. The foundation must court donors to make the $10 million+ prize a reality. Once funding is secured, companies and teams from around the world will compete – as Burt Rutan once did with financing from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to engineer SpaceShipOne. The intent is that one or more teams will engineer a BCI solution with “ideas that could be won with a decade.”

During the MIT workshop, Peter Diamandis discussed the history of the X PRIZE. Ray Kurzweil followed with a 36-minute presentation called “Merging the Human Brain with Its Creations.” Here’s a video of the presentation:

After presentations by Donoghue, Schalk, and Boyden, the 50 or so workshop attendees broke into discussion groups on Input/Output, Control, Sensory, and Learning. Software Engineer and Singularity University alumnus Rod Furlan, who attended the workshop, writes about some of the problems discussed at the break-out sessions — for example, communicating with a brain v. implanting memories or skills, non-invasive v. invasive input/output solutions, and the difficulties of using EEG to capture brain wave states. Furlan concludes, “While we still have significant technical and scientific hurdles ahead of us, given the current pace of progress it is reasonable to expect that robust, albeit limited, implanted BCI solutions will be widely available commercially within a 10 to 20 year time frame.”

James Cameron’s trippy vision of a part-alien, part-human body controlled by the thoughts of a marine in the film Avatar or William Gibson's cyber-cowboy Case plugging into the Matrix, as in Neuromancer — if truly feasible — are likely more than 10 years out. But given the incentive of a $10 million+ BCI X PRIZE, who knows what might be possible by 2020?

Mind Reading (Neural Decoding) Goes Mainstream

In the new movie, The Men Who Stare at Goats, reporter Bob Wilton confronts Special Forces operator Lyn Cassady, “I’ve heard that you’re a psychic spy.” Lyn later comments, “We’re Jedi. We don’t fight with our guns, we fight with our minds.” Mind reading – formerly the stuff of science fiction and crystal gazers – is rapidly becoming science fact. A recent CBS 60 Minutes story reports that “technology may soon ‘read’ your mind” in this video (courtesy of CBS):

Toys such as Mattel’s Mindflex™ and the Start Wars Force Trainer™ include brain wave detection technology and are now readily available at your local Target or Walmart stores. For a younger generation raised on telekinetic X-Men – from Professor Xavier to Magneto – these fascinating mind-over-matter toys offer limitless play time opportunities:

NeuroSky leads the market in creating inexpensive, consumer brain-computer interfaces. NeuroSky's brain-reading hardware and software headsets are being designed for the automotive, health care and education industries. Using their Mindset™ package you can become NeuroBoy™ and use your special telekinetic powers to push, pull, lift, or burn objects in a virtual world –- by thought alone.

Emotiv Systems, a San Francisco-based neuroengineering company founded in 2003 by four award-winning scientists, builds EEG-based headsets that pass your brain’s electrical signals to software on your PC to extract patterns and translate them. As with the NeuroSky product, you can move objects in virtual worlds on your PC using Emotiv’s EPOC™ Neuroheadset:

In light of a recent announcement at the 2009 Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago, “mind reading” has taken another scientific leap forward. Researchers are now able to determine what vowel and consonants a person is thinking of by recording activity from the surface of the brain. An MIT Technology Review editorial reports that Gerwin Schalk and colleagues at the Wadsworth Center, in Albany, NY, used a technology called electrocorticography (ECoG), in which a sheet of electrodes is laid directly on the surface of a patient's brain. Schalk's team asked patients to say or imagine words flashed on a screen while their brain activity was recorded. The researchers then used specially designed decoder algorithms to predict the vowels and consonants of the word, using only the pattern of brain activity. They found that both speaking and imagining the word gave roughly the same level of accuracy. This is essential for the system to be used by people who are so severely paralyzed that they have lost the ability to speak. The system has about a 50-to-70% accuracy rate. It may one day become a neural prosthesis for people with severe paralysis, translating their thoughts into actions on a computer or prosthetic limb.

It's understandable that researchers are wary of having their work referred to as mind reading. They call it neural decoding.

Advances in research-enabling technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computational neuroscience, are resulting in techniques that can better assess the neural basis of cognition and allow the visualization of brain processes –- as well as thought-directed control of prosthetics. Government-financed projects include neural control of mechanical arms, hands and legs. These intelligent artificial limbs will be controlled by your nervous system and will allow you to pitch a fastball, thread a needle or play a piano as well as you did before your loss.

These developments are raising concerns about the potential exploitation of "mind reading" technologies by advertisers or oppressive governments. So it's understandable that researchers are wary of having their work referred to as mind reading. Emphasizing its limitations, they call it neural decoding. Jack Gallant, a leading "neural decoder" at the University of California, Berkeley, has produced some of the field's most impressive results yet. He and colleague Shinji Nishimoto showed that they could create a crude reproduction of a movie clip that someone was watching just by viewing their brain activity. Other neuroscientists claim that such neural decoding can be used to read memories and future plans and even to diagnose eating disorders.

Brain waves

Toyota is developing an advanced brain-sensing system that controls the movement of a wheelchair by reading a user's thoughts alone. By detecting and processing brain wave patterns, the system can “propel a wheelchair forward, as well as make turns, with virtually no discernible delay between thought and movement,” according to a recent press release. Rival automaker Honda’s Asimo robot can also be manipulated by detecting brain signals. Honda is exploring the concept that humanoid robots may one day replace home care nurses:

What was once speculative fiction -- the ability to read minds and to control the movement of objects using thought alone, sometimes called mind-over-matter –- is rapidly becoming neurotechnological fact. The upside of this technology will more freedom for the physically impaired –- imagine wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking able to control his wheelchair and capture and communicate his thoughts and sentences with a neuroheadset. The obvious downside is the potential dystopian nightmare of “thought police” strapping you to a chair to view the contents of your mind and gain a confession.

Scan unlocks vegetative patients

By Fergus Walsh
Medical correspondent, BBC News

Scientists have been able to reach into the mind of a brain-damaged man and communicate with his thoughts.

The research, carried out at in the UK and in Belgium, involved a new brain scanning method.

Awareness was detected in three other patients previously diagnosed as being in a vegetative state.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that scans can detect signs of awareness in patients thought to be closed off from the world.

Patients in a vegetative state are awake, not in a coma, but have no awareness because of severe brain damage.

Scanning technique

The scientists used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which shows brain activity in real time.

They asked patients and healthy volunteers to imagine playing tennis while they were being scanned.

In each of the volunteers this stimulated activity in the pre-motor cortex, part of the brain which deals with movement.

This also happened in four out of 23 of the patients presumed to be in a vegetative state.

The BBC's Fergus Walsh tests the new brain scanning technique

I volunteered to test out the scanning technique.

I gave the scientists two women's names, one of which was my mother's.

I imagined playing tennis when they said the right name, and within a minute they had worked out her name.

They were also able to guess correctly whether I had children.


This is a continuation of research published three years ago, when the team used the same technique to establish initial contact with a patient diagnosed as vegetative.

But this time they went further.

With one patient - a Belgian man injured in a traffic accident seven years ago - they asked a series of questions.

He was able to communicate "yes" and "no" using just his thoughts.

The team told him to use "motor" imagery like a tennis match to indicate "yes" and "spatial" imagery like thinking about roaming the streets for a "no".

The patient responded accurately to five out of six autobiographical questions posed by the scientists.

For example, he confirmed that his father's name was Alexander.

The study involved scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre in Cambridge and a Belgian team at the University of Liege.

Dr Adrian Owen from the MRC in Cambridge co-authored the report:

"We were astonished when we saw the results of the patient's scan and that he was able to correctly answer the questions that were asked by simply changing his thoughts."

Dr Owen says this opens the way to involving such patients in their future treatment decisions: "You could ask if patients were in pain and if so prescribe painkillers and you could go on to ask them about their emotional state."

It does raise many ethical issues - for example - it is lawful to allow patients in a permanent vegetative state to die by withdrawing all treatment, but if a patient showed they could respond it would not be, even if they made it clear that was what they wanted.

The Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London is a leading assessment and treatment centre for adults with brain injuries.

Helen Gill, a consultant in low awareness state, welcomed the new research but cautioned that it was still early days for the research: "It's very useful if you have a scan which can show some activity but you need a detailed sensory assessment as well.

"A lot of patients are slipping through the net and this adds another layer to ensure patients are assessed correctly."

She said the hospital did a study of 60 patients admitted with a diagnosis of vegetative state and 43% could communicate.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What a surprise: Scott Brown Doesn’t Rule Out 2012 Run

Article below.

Another classic case of short-sighted American politics: the very same formula that produced Barrack Obama - a symbolic marketing tactic designed for partisan control - has brought us Scott Brown. As heavily as Obama was criticized by Republicans as an 'empty suit', they now offer a real estate attorney with looks as a Presidential candidate, capitalizing on the double-whammy spectacle of having blocked health care reform and snagging Ted Kennedy's seat. As if Sarah Palin weren't enough. The only vision either party delivers is that of gaining control, reaching their next term, and covering their tracks on the way out.

One solution: A designated public outlet whereby candidates will document a complete and definitive platform statement. Such a system would normalize any shifting stance over the course of time by establishing official key points of Q&A, and it would eliminate expensive and aggressive marketing campaigns and investments by special interests. Such a system would better allow candidates to compete based on merit and ideology rather than wealth or status. Emphasis should shift from sensational and emotional media - visual or subjective perceptions and distractions - to concentration and exposition of the issues themselves - making use of reference to clarify issues and explain strategy proposals and intentions.

Another solution: Rise of the third party candidates. Left or right moderates just don't happen - they only get mentioned when the parties show their ass, and then they are forgotten.

Senator-elect Scott Brown’s stunning victory for the Massachusetts Senate seat once held by Ted Kennedy has many Republicans hoping he’ll make a White House bid.

When Barbara Walters, in her EXCLUSIVE This Week interview, asked Brown if he’d rule out a 2012 run, he said he found it humbling, but he wouldn’t say no.

Brown told Walters his focus would be on his family and his new role as the 41st Republican Senator and said he’ll “let the political pundits…talk about that stuff”.