The Math of Hunting Lions

Bibliography of papers on math & physics methods of hunting lions in the Sahara Desert.

The fascinating history of identity and document spoofing by esteemed mathematicians with a wonderful sense of humor. I cited this in the book, Ong’s Hat: The Beginning.

The material was written up by R. P. Boas and F. Smithies [Smithies 2002, personal communication] and appeared in [Pétard 1938]. Part of JWT’s assistance was in keeping the nonexistence of the nominal author, H. Pétard and of Pondiczery quiet when the Monthly enquired about the paper’s author. The full identification of Pondiczery was Ersatz Stanislas Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia. The hope was that someday a document could be signed ESP RIP [Aspray & Tucker 1985]).

…Albert Tucker: Was it that group that used the pseudonym “Pondiczery”?

Tukey: Yes, but with a somewhat broader reference.

Aspray: For what purpose?

Tukey: Well, the hope was that at some point Ersatz Stanislaus Pondiczery at the Royal Institute of Poldavia was going to be able to sign something ESP RIP. Then there’s the wedding invitation done by the Bourbakis. It was for the marriage of Betty Bourbaki and Pondiczery. It was a formal wedding invitation with a long Latin sentence, most of which was mathematical jokes, three quarters of which you could probably decipher. Pondiczery even wrote a paper under a pseudonym, namely “The Mathematical Theory of Big Game Hunting” by H. Pétard, which appeared in the Monthly. There were also a few other papers by Pondiczery.

Tukey: Somebody with a high principle. Pondiczery’s official residence was in Ong’s Hat, New Jersey3⁠, which is a wide place in the road going southeast from Pemberton, but it does appear on some road maps. There is a gas station that has a sign out about Ong’s Hat.

Aspray: But no sign for Pondiczery?

Tukey: No sign for Pondiczery. Spelled c-z-e-r-y, by the way. Not like the area of India, Pondicherry, which is spelled c-h. Anyway, this was a good group, and it enjoyed its existence. I learned a lot from dinner table conversations.

READ MORE HEREhttps://www.gwern.net/notes/Lions

HEX: The Human Exception- Ong’s Hat

Ong's Hat

The town’s not actually a town, as such. And not just because it’s an unincorporated community with a population of zero. The Hat may have only ever comprised one single building: Ong’s Hut. In fact, it’s possible Ong’s Hut is the correct name of the place, but it said Ong’s Hat on the map (the “town” appeared on maps as recently as 2006), and there’s an Ong’s Hat Road nearby.

LINK: https://www.thehumanexception.com/l/ongs-hat/

QAnon, Ong’s Hat, and Robert Anton Wilson: Joseph Matheny discusses ARGs and conspiracy theories in the Internet era

When the QAnon movement began garnering more widespread attention a couple of years ago, a number of game designers pointed out the similarities between the ‘Q drops’ – and the associated community puzzle solving in regards to those – and the techniques used in alternate reality games (ARGs) (see here and here, for example). Not necessarily that it was an ARG, but that it (knowingly, or unknowingly) used the methods found in ARGs to hook in new players, and to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

So I was fascinated to listen to a recent interview with Joseph Matheny, creator of the now-legendary Ong’s Hat – described by many as the world’s first ARG – in which he discussed QAnon from his own viewpoint (see video embedded below). Matheny notes that he feels obligated to talk publicly about QAnon and Ong’s Hat, because “they’re using my methods and I don’t like that”, and also because people have been comparing the two, which upset him. “I mean…it follows the formula,” Matheny says, “but content-wise, and intention-wise, it’s definitely nothing like it.”

When the QAnon movement began garnering more widespread attention a couple of years ago, a number of game designers pointed out the similarities between the ‘Q drops’ – and the associated community puzzle solving in regards to those – and the techniques used in alternate reality games (ARGs) (see here and here, for example). Not necessarily that it was an ARG, but that it (knowingly, or unknowingly) used the methods found in ARGs to hook in new players, and to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

So I was fascinated to listen to a recent interview with Joseph Matheny, creator of the now-legendary Ong’s Hat – described by many as the world’s first ARG – in which he discussed QAnon from his own viewpoint (see video embedded below). Matheny notes that he feels obligated to talk publicly about QAnon and Ong’s Hat, because “they’re using my methods and I don’t like that”, and also because people have been comparing the two, which upset him. “I mean…it follows the formula,” Matheny says, “but content-wise, and intention-wise, it’s definitely nothing like it.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

#LiveCONARTE | 15/19: ONG´S HAT | XXXVI Encuentro Metropolitano de Danza Contemporánea

Translation: “Dir. Estrella Fematt⁠
Ong’s Hat, New Jersey 1930. We were the scene of great economic activity, we had the focus of many but the contact of few. What was your concern? We translate by object, shape, gravity, noise and reality. To you hustler, who through consciousness could shape the universe itself, cause chaos and, consequently, have a portal to the strangest. You are left with only the bricks of the structures that once stood there, an old shed and an incompetent curiosity.”⁠

Ong’s Hat: Is Princeton Opposed to Satire?

On May 31, 2021, Princeton’s elite educational institution, through their journal, TORTOISE: A JOURNAL OF WRITING PEDAGOGY, published an excerpt of a paper by one of their freshman students, Jayaditya Deep. The article is titled, The Fiction of Ong’s Hat: Too Good to be False.

In this paper, Jayaditya Deep, who likes to be called Jojo,” levels criticism regarding two pieces of satire, one written by me about 30 years age and another written by me about 20 years ago. Both articles are in out-of-print publications. “Jojo” uses archive.org links as his reference in this piece. The criticism never once mentions that the articles are satire and treats them as if they are not. These articles are not murky as to their intention as humor, but satire, clearly written and published as such.

Additionally, it looks like our little friend “Jojo” has taken to marking up the Wikipedia pages for Ong’s Hat to share his humorless view of the universe. I’m quite aware that he is obviously a person on some kind of quixotic crusade and desperate for attention, so this will be the last I mention it unless they decide to become stalkerish, as these crusaders sometimes do. Oh, and I did him a favor and made a correction to his “additions” since he erroneously listed the publication of The Incunabula Papers as 1898. 😀

Article on Academia.Edu

PDF of Article

Official Archive of the Ong’s Hat Project

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Except where otherwise noted, The Incunabula Papers: Ong's Hat and other Gateways to New Dimensions by Joseph Matheny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.