Friday, November 28, 2008

Brain Man

We marvel at those whose memory and powers of calculation appear superhuman. Savant Daniel Tammet (pictured) is the second "brainiac" we've featured on KobreGuide, in "Boy with the Incredible Brain."

Previously, in "Unforgettable," we introduced you to Brian Williams, whose condition (labeled hyperthymesia) enables him to remember in vivid detail every single day of his life, from what he ate to what was in the headlines and on TV.

Tammet, however, has a different sort of abnormality. He has a relationship to numbers and words that has drawn the scrutiny of scientists in his native Britain and in the U.S. They marvel at his staggering mathematical calculations and ability to become quickly fluent in new languages. Apparently because he is mildly autistic and has suffered epileptic seizures, he developed an ability to perceive numbers and words as shapes, textures and patterns -- a trait that scientists hope may hold the key to unlocking similar superior mental abilities in all of us.

How does one capture such cerebral subjects on video?

Both "Unforgettable" and "Boy with the Incredible Brain" feature dramatic Man vs. Computer segments, and each does an excellent job of trying to get inside the head of a remarkable individual in a visual way. They're good examples of "showing, not telling." You'd be smart to view them!

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