Rods are majorly mysterious in Malaysia. Meh.

This article is really awful but it is currently the most popular on the Malaysian news site.

‘Flying Rods’ discovered in Sabah.

A mysterious insect-like creature that has been captured on film in several parts of the world but never physically and also not scientifically explained because of the tremendous speed at which it travels has also been found in Sabah.

Called, among others, “flying rods”, “skyfish” and “solar entities”, these creatures are invisible to the naked eye and can only be noticed on slow motion camera and resemble a flying centipede.

The Sabah discovery was made two weeks ago by this British national who has a particular interest in cave systems and was indulging in his favourite pastime while on holiday here.

“We chose a cave that no one has been for a long time to find out if there would be anything of interest,” said Nair, who specialises in adventure trails and whose expertise is often sought by documentary film makers such as the BBC.

“[…]But our Sabah recordings show for the first time that these creatures have very powerful sensors that prevent them from smashing into the walls of the caves like making U-turns at the last moment.

Insects can’t do this,” he said.

Oh, please. Rods are insects moving at high speed and the shape is the result of how digital cameras record. This is WELL KNOWN. And it’s really silly that a newspaper would print such a thing without a little fact checking. But, mystery mongering sells. We’re here to tell you, sorry, no skyfish! Just more insects. Darn those buggers cause trouble!

Note this line: “A previous attempt to capture “flying rods” in China only yielded only moths and other insects.” Because… oh, I don’t know… THEY’RE INSECTS!

Also note the bit about the bats being “scared”. Maybe interested is a better word. This piece is really horrendous and full of inaccurate statements.

"Rods" photo by Jose Escamilla

“Rods” photo by Jose Escamilla

Here is more on rods:

The Skeptic Dictionary explains it:

A rod is an insect caught in the act of flying by a video camera. Some hoaxers or very imaginative people have been maintaining that rods are actually some sort of unknown life form of alien origin. But, according to Doug Yanega of the Entomology Department at the University of California at Riverside and a member of the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board, rods are

a videographic artifact based on the frame capture rate of the videocam versus the wingbeat frequency of the insects. Essentially what you see is several wingbeat cycles of the insect on each frame of the video, creating the illusion of a “rod” with bulges along its length. The blurred body of the insect as it moves forward forms the “rod,” and the oscillation of the wings up and down form the bulges. Anyone with a video camera can duplicate the effect, if you shoot enough footage of flying insects from the right distance.

Skeptical InquirerThe Mysterious Invisible ‘Rods’
Straight Dope: What’s up with “rods,” the mysterious insects that can be seen only on video?
Skeptoid: Rods: Flying Absurdities
Ask an Amateur Scientist: Rods (also called Skyfish)

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  4 comments for “Rods are majorly mysterious in Malaysia. Meh.

  1. D. Walker
    December 21, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    I’ve read that bugs have been mistaken for Ghosts, too, when photographed, sometimes. It’s weird what some people are capable of believing is real, believing the strangest things, without the slightest bit of evidence. It’s good that there are websites like this one to help explain things clearly about people who have become somewhat confused. Hopefully, people will grow more rational, as time goes by.

    • Douglas Boyle
      December 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Unfortunately the irrational never look to websites like this to look for answers, really (as much as I love this site) it’s preaching to the choir.

      • Horsehair Braider
        December 21, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        Well, this part of the choir *really appreciates* a news site with some freaking common sense. I send my friends here all the time – people you might not think of as the “choir” so I stubbornly retain some hope that D Walker is right. :)

      • December 21, 2012 at 4:00 PM

        Well, you might be pleasantly surprised. Most of our traffic comes via search engines these days and we are cited by pro-paranormal sites as well. Our aim has always been beyond the choir. They just don’t comment here much.

        Our current Alexa rank is higher than some of THOSE sites, good for web search results.

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