Summary: Two decades after being separated from his family at age 5, an Indian man finds them using Google Earth.
Why It's a Mind Blow: Besides being an incredibly moving story, this piece has a lot to say about the interplay between technology and memory.
This weekend I attended my niece's college musical. The tickets cost $28, and when we handed the box office girl two twenties, she pulled out her i-phone to do the math. For me, forty minus twenty-eight isn't a figure, it's just something I see and understand - an encoded memory of sorts. But for this young woman, whose brain developed fully in the age of integrated technology, it was a problem, and so she leaned on technology for a solution.
In this way, I have often thought, technology is hurting the natural potential of the human brain. But the story of a man finding his family after so many years illuminates a different perspective. Like all of us, he had his memories; a waterfall, a fourteen hour train ride out of Calcutta. From these impressions, he created a radius around the city. From his adopted home in Australia, he began to look for the waterfall of his youth. Using Google Earth, the man narrowed it down to a single village, traveled to India, and found his childhood home. His family had moved but with the help of neighbors, he found them soon after.
So I guess "technology as brain" isn't necessarily bad, or good for that matter. It's all in the application, and this story is a great example of how it can be used to enhance our capacity. My one disclaimer: proceed with caution!