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The Blind Boy Who Sees
November 28, 2007 12:58 AM   Subscribe

The Blind Boy Who Sees. After losing his eyes to cancer Ben Underwood discovered that he could "see" the physical world around him using the technique of human echolocation. He is not the only one.
posted by I-baLL (17 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just a heads up... I posted this once and it was deleted as a double. So, I'm thinkin' that might happen again, although I can't find the original.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:09 AM on November 28, 2007


Okay, I believe this was the one they deleted it for.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:11 AM on November 28, 2007


Yeah, thanks for the heads-up. It doesn't seem that the previous article linked to the documentary though so I think it'll be okay because that's the more important part of my post. I guess it's a sort of follow up post. In spirit anyway.
posted by I-baLL at 1:14 AM on November 28, 2007


I linked to the doc too, but hopefully they'll leave this one up since more time has passed since the original post. It's a good documentary, so good luck.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:22 AM on November 28, 2007


The beginning's not for the squeamish when he puts fake eyes in sockets 0:29-0:50. Interesting documentary though. That's the real Batman.
posted by ersatz at 1:25 AM on November 28, 2007


This is pretty awesome, thank you.
posted by blacklite at 1:55 AM on November 28, 2007


(The talking cats that youtube continually links to at the end of each clip are also pretty awesome.)
posted by blacklite at 2:05 AM on November 28, 2007


Oh boy. Now you know what's gonna happen: Daredevil is gonna sue the pants off Ben Underwood for copyright violation. And Daredevil is a lawyer!
posted by jamstigator at 4:01 AM on November 28, 2007


Interesting Slate article:
We were all amazed by his ability to sense objects with tongue clicks, but we only believed in him because he's blind. We knew that humans can't use sonar, but we were just as certain that blindness can make you superhuman. That pair of misconceptions was enough to make Ben Underwood a celebrity.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:21 AM on November 28, 2007


Bleh, slate sucks.

There is a huge, huge difference between what you can 'learn' when you start at age 3 and what you can learn as an adult. Even if people have the aural equipment to receive the information, most wouldn't have the mental capacity to process it. I would imagine that most people who become blind later in life would never be as good as this kid, but I'm not certain.
posted by delmoi at 6:32 AM on November 28, 2007


Thanks, good stuff.

Also: Prodigiously eponysterical.
posted by Mister_A at 7:13 AM on November 28, 2007


I agree with delmoi; Slate does suck. The Slate article comes off as bitter because Ben is getting his 15 seconds of fame. It's true that Ben is not superhuman -- the tests of his hearing were normal -- but nevertheless his skill is remarkable and a wonderful example of the compensatory mechanisms of the human brain, especially when those compensations begin at an early age. There's nothing wrong with remarking on someone who is remarkable. I say, go Ben!
posted by tentacle at 7:25 AM on November 28, 2007


Seen It.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 8:07 AM on November 28, 2007


It says on Ben Underwood's website that he recently underwent surgery to remove a tumor and also got radiation treatment. The last news are from October, though. Read more in this article: Teenager who sees with sound faces cancer with courage.
posted by amf at 11:42 AM on November 28, 2007


Marco!
posted by prodigalsun at 11:46 AM on November 28, 2007


Phenomenal. Thank you so much for sharing this. What an extraordinary family. Absolutely fantastic story.
posted by numinous at 12:55 PM on November 28, 2007


I think many of us have some ability like this. I recall stumbling through a path in the mountains once, running late to my car from my hike, no moon and total darkness, and suddenly the sound around me changed. I stopped, reached out, and found a big tree about a foot in front of me. Somehow, I "heard" the tree was there.

Could have been luck, chance, whatever. But there has to be some reality to the idea.
posted by Dantien at 4:52 PM on November 29, 2007


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