The Listener: Ong's Hat

A weekly selection of audio from The Browser

What Is Ong’s Hat?

The Incunabula Papers | Decoder Ring

Ong’s Hat is an early internet-driven conspiracy theory named after a ghost town in New Jersey. It is said to have begun as an 1980s experiment into how easily a story could be spread online, and eventually expanded to encompass elements of physics, speculative science, mysticism, radical politics and inter-dimensional travel. Slate TV critic Willa Paskin investigates, interviewing obsessives and participants to create a compelling version of a very strange story (53m19s)


The Sonic Landscape Of Video Games

Xbox Startup Sound | Twenty Thousand Hertz

Podcast about the world’s most “recognisable and interesting sounds”, and the people who design and make them. This episode scrutinises the sound emitted by an Xbox video-gaming console when it boots up — a swhooshing rush initially intended to keep gamers entertained while the machine warmed up, which morphed into the audio equivalent of a logo and became an intrinsic part of the Xbox’s appeal to fans (24m38s)


How To Win Your Favourite Game Show

Fastest Fingers First | The Modern Mann

Jovial, fast-paced — and PG-13 — magazine podcast with various segments touching on various topics in music, politics, campaigns, and lifestyle. Highlight of this edition is a section on TV game shows and the people obsessed with appearing on them (skip to it here, at 15:19). Veterans of Pointless, Eggheads, Countdown, Mastermind, The Chase and plenty of others share insider knowledge about tactics, psychology and the constant lure of the next perfect score (67m22s)


The Limits Of Philosophy

About Time | Guardian Audio Long Reads

Audio version of a feature article written by the philosopher Julian Baggini, arguing that we should reach beyond the Western philosophical canon to discover new and sometimes better ways of thinking about life and the world. He shows how conceptions of time, notably, differ across cultures and traditions: time is linear in Western thought, cyclical in many other cultures. The audio format is perfect for avoiding distractions and focusing on the argument (23m26s)


So Foul And Fair A Day

Sleep No More | Almost Tangible: Macbeth

First part of an audio adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, recorded on location in Scotland at Glamis Castle with a full cast. Worth putting on a decent pair of headphones, because this has been recorded in astonishingly high-quality, bi-aural sound which distributes the soundscape and dialogue spatially around the listener; it feels at all times as though you are immersed in the action, hearing the battle unfold around you and the witches whispering in your ear (35m20s)


Audio Editor: Caroline Crampton
CEO: Uri Bram (uri@thebrowser.com)