The thing to note here - the actual particles (the big dot) are not the center of rotation, which can yield some complex motions, or in this case allow a strand to behave in ways more interesting/useful than just as a trail behind a particle.
An example scene from a description of a shot discussed on the softimage list, where a user wanted to use the "falling leaves" compound with needle-like strands. The example scene file is on my site andy.moonbase.net
Like the "rings" video, the main point of interest here is that the point and the strand rotate around a center different from the particle itself.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?