Saw this video last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DuUaDGka2U
An 18 year old kid memorizing a deck of cards in what seems to be about 20 seconds. If this video is legit then that right there is a world record, beating out Simon Reinhardt's record of 21.90. The video looks pretty real and I have no idea how it would have been faked, so I contacted the guy. Turns out he's a super nice guy and has savant syndrome (you can read more about it on his website: http://mentalglitch.co.cc/).
Anyways, even though his video shows him memorizing in a way that isn't quite like how it's officially done in competition, he still has the ability, which is all that should really matter anyways. I asked him if he uses mnemonics and he said no, but that he can only (at the moment) do it with a particular deck of cards because the font size of the numbers and suits works well with his synesthesia. COOL. He also told me that reciting the deck out loud afterwards is quite hard for him because any outside noise or stimuli can interfere with his synesthesia and cause him to lose some of the cards from memory.
I encouraged him to train and compete in the 2012 USA Memory Competition. I currently hold the US record for memorizing a deck of cards, but I couldn't care less if I lost that title. I'd be much more excited to see someone nab the world record (especially an American) by breaking the 20 second mark.
I'm starting to get the feeling that next year's competition is going to have a strong showing. It will be awesome. There just seems to be more of a buzz on the web about all this memory stuff. Maybe it was Josh's book? Who knows.