September 12, 2016

EP. 141 — Weird Hearing Super Powers You Didn’t Know Your Mind Has

It’s underestimated how important your sense of hearing is, how much it affects your daily life in ways you don’t fully appreciate. Take the inconceivable geometry you do in your head all the time, thanks to your ears. Say you’re standing with your back facing a street and you hear a car approaching from the right–how do you know that? Your brain is instantly calculating the miniscule differences in volume and the slight difference in time it takes for the sound of the car to reach both ears. Yes, thank you Captain Obvious, but it’s still an amazing feat that you’re performing all the time, every day, with everything you hear.

You probably don’t even know how much you hear every day, how unaccustomed to silence you actually are. Silence actually sounds weird, your brain knows something is wrong when it’s absolutely quiet. Conversely, really loud places like cities take up so much of your subconscious mental capacities that they also create a sense of unnerving. That’s why the sound of nature is so relaxing to us.

On this week’s podcast Cracked editor-in-chief Jack O’Brien is joined by actor/comedian Johnny Pemberton, whose podcast ‘Twisting the Wind’ is an incredible aural experiment, a constantly surprising manipulation of sound that pushes the boundaries of what’s expected in a podcast. They talk about the power of noise pollution, incredible Tuvan throat singing rap music, how John Williams stole everything from Russian composers and sonic devices that mess with our heads like speech jammers and The Mosquito.


Johnny Pemberton’s Website:

Twisting the Wind with Johnny Pemberton:

TED Talk on Noise Pollution:

Tuvan Throat Singing:

Tuvan Throat Singing Rap:

The Best of Shostakovich:

Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together:

Pantera – Mouth for War:

Trailer for Glenn Gould Documentary “Genius Within”:

The Daily Beast: Slow TV:

In-Browser Speech Jammer:

Reading Dr. Seuss with Speech Jammer:


The Mosquito:

Come see us at the Now Hear This podcast festival:

This episode is sponsored by Squarespace and Wealthfront Veritone.

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