Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rods and Rucker




"The camera doesn't lie."

Wanna bet?
Take "rods" for example.  Yeah yeah, I said "rods."  Let's all get our immature chuckling out of the way right now.

Like the human eye, a camera lens is an imperfect device that does the best that it can.  Certain sets of circumstances can cause it to produce artifacts...or things that really weren't there or things that were there but are depicted in a distorted manner.  Given this fact, I still don't understand why so many people cling to the notion of "rods."

I've blogged about them before.  They are objects that people have caught on video.  The objects appear as...well, rods that dart through the shot.  The rods appear to have rows of either straight or squiggly appendages protruding from their bodies.  Enthusiasts of Fortean studies have claimed these strange objects to be either undiscovered creatures that live in our atmosphere or UFOs.  While there is no way that anyone can 100% discount those theories, I believe that the preponderance of evidence points towards another conclusion.

These "rods" are distortions caused by cameras at a certain rate of shutter speed.  An episode of MonsterQuest on The History Channel as posted here on Above Top Secret demonstrates just how this happens.  At a fast enough shutter speed, you can tell that the "rods" are moths or birds flying past the camera.  Most of the time, it's just various kinds of bugs.

This does not prevent me from wistfully wishing that "rods" really are an unknown entity of sorts here as a mechanism in someone else's gambit.  A UFO probe from another civilization.  I'd like to imagine that they are biomechanical constructs, not unlike those envisioned by Rudy Rucker in his novels Software and Wetware.   You know, something like an aerial version of the cybernetic rats in his books?  To wit:

"For me, the best thing about Cyberpunk is that it taught me how to enjoy shopping malls, which used to terrify me. Now I just imagine the whole thing is two miles below the moon’s surface, and that half the people’s right-brains have been eaten by roboticized steel rats. And suddenly it’s interesting again.”

Speaking of Rudy Rucker, here is my lame segue to his current blog series on helping writers format their work for e-book distribution.  Sure seems like I have a great deal of brushing up to do on HTML code before releasing my novella, Hound of Winter.

More details on that to come!


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