June 2, 2010

Rain Man meet "Brain" Man

If you thought Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man" was impressive, wait until you see what this guy can do.  Last night on 20/20, ABC told the story of "superhumans" those who defy the limitations of average humans.  A man who scales buildings like spiderman with no safety nets and no equipment, a man who jumps from the highest places and flys in his man-made flying squirrel type suit at speeds topping 200 mph!  Mermaids - humans who swim with prosthetic fins and can hold their breath for 5 or more minutes at a time to swim at deep depths with the fish.  A man who can survive in the sub-freezing temperatures that no other human can survive.  A man who can run 50+ miles in a given day and has run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days!  But of all these crazy "superhumans" this brainman is by far the most interesting.

He memorized π (pi) to 22,000 digits!  He has Asperger's syndrome (which is a form of Autism) and is also considered a savant which wikipedia defines as "...a rare condition in which people with developmental disorders have one or more areas of expertise, ability, or brilliance that are in contrast with the individual's overall limitations." 

He also has Synaesthesia which allows him to see numbers as images such as colored shapes.  He uses this synaesthesia to do math unlike the way the rest of us do math.  He visualizes three-dimensional shapes and visualizes the answer as opposed to mathematically solving the problem like the rest of us. 

Here is his portion from last night's 20/20

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