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Why Old Sports Photos Often Have a Blue Haze (petapixel.com)
116 points by lelf on Dec 5, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 33 comments

It appears as if in the past 40 years we have traded the smoke in the air with ad-riddled public spaces.

Time for a California Indoor Ad-Free Act of 2016?

I think we ought adopt a writing system similar to the Japanese, with Chinese characters. When I've been to Japan, I've seen areas with lots of advertising, but it looks pretty because of the Chinese characters being used. So, I'm thinking it's our ugly Latin alphabet that is the real problem here, not ads.

The grass always looks greener on the other side. Perhaps when the Japanese come to western countries they admire the simplicity of our Latin alphabet and think our ads are better than the pictograph-laden Japanese ones.

I've actually had this conversation here in Japan.

It was pointed out to me that Western signs are incredibly drab compared to those written with Chinese characters. The primary reasoning as explained to me was that the Chinese characters tend to be incorporated as a main part of the design, while Latin characters tend to be used in a more practical nature and supplemented with other design features. Very subjective of course, but an opinion I find myself agreeing to.

For the record, Chinese characters (Japanese kanji) are considered ideographic. Pictographic implies that the meaning of the symbol can be derived from the design itself, which isn't true for the vast majority of Chinese characters. Only a small subset are actually pictographic in nature.

Japanese design trends roughly follow the same timeline as Western ones. "Modern" brands eg Toyota will use katakana or a "gothic" kanji typeface, similar to a sans serif.

It'd be really interesting if a Japanese person can confirm this!

Can you read Japanese? The problem might not be the characters themselves, but the fact that you can understand what's being written. I was working at a cafe in a foreign country a while ago, and I really enjoyed the background noise because I couldn't understand anything anybody was saying. It wasn't distracting at all. If somebody was speaking English though, I'd be unintentionally using some of my brain to process whatever they were saying.

That's an interesting point. The last time I was in Japan, I could not read anything. However, I've learned some now, so maybe the ads will be more annoying the next time I visit :-)

No you won't. If you're still learning you're gonna spend a lot of time trying to decipher ads and reap great enjoyment whenever you succeed.

I've noticed the Staples Center lighting in videos, but didn't realize it was part of a Lakers campaign called "Lights Out". I think this goes a long way towards increasing the drama on the court. While it might not have the added haze of a smoke filled room, it does make a big difference to the viewing experience and seems to result in much better photography. Found this related article from a sports photographer http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1671

Article is from 2006 (or 2002? there are two dates). Is "Lights Out" lighting still used today?

Yes, look at the photos in the original article from the Staples Center in 2015.

Is this the same phenomenon as Rayleigh scattering [1]?


Actually, I think it is more accurately ascribed to Tyndall scatter: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyndall_effect

Yes, I think so.

to replace the smoke of cigarette, they could just use artificial smoke ;) but except for photographs, this would not be welcome by the public

Tobacco smoke has finer particles than standard glycol-based smoke machines. For concert lighting, tobacco smoke gives a much better effect if all you want to see are the light beams, glycol is a bit coarser and not as smooth-looking in comparison.

You can get a fair bit closer to that look by using an oil-based cracker. Those have finer particles than glycol-based, but they have their own drawbacks as they rely on an air compressor that's either noisy or needs to be placed somewhere far away, and the oil tends to get on every light fixture and surface in the venue. It looks fantastic though.

When they introduced a smoking ban at the concert venue I worked at, I noticed that we had to run our smoke machines a lot harder to get the same looks we previously got "for free" from the punters smoking tobacco.

Thank you for those interesting details about smoke technology

The reasons against smoking is, smoke.

Doesn't matter were it comes from.

Of course the putting it concentrated in your lungs a far more serious issue than it just being around so your statement stands :)

[edit] No idea where glycol based smoke stands as far as cancer goes

It's not smoke, it's haze. Glycol "smoke" is just vaporized, there's nothing burning.

It's still bad for you, at least according to the references cited in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatrical_smoke_and_fog#Adver...

Similarly, air sickness rates have become much lower since airplane cabins haven't been filled with cigarette smoke.

But it's been more difficult to find air leaks in airplane body during maintenance, tobacco traces on the metal (behind the plastic walls) used to point to leaks.

Why can't we have the same effect as an instagram filter?

It's not just arenas. Bars and pubs were more attractive when they were filled with smoke, back in the free days a decade ago.

> Bars and pubs were more attractive when they were filled with smoke...

A while back, I had occasion to re-visit Alabama to see friends and family. At that time in Alabama, bars and pubs are free to choose whether or not they prohibited indoor smoking. (I've no idea what current regulations are regarding the same.)

In bars that permitted indoor smoking, the atmosphere was a horrible eye irritant. My clothing reeked for a week, or until I washed it -whichever came first-.

Back in my college days, I didn't see what the big deal was. Then, I moved out to a place that prohibited smoking in indoor public places. It took that change of perspective to understand how much nicer I find an environment that is not saturated in tobacco smoke.

YMMV, of course, but I expect that I'm far from the only one who holds this opinion.

I share your opinion at well, but would rather vote with my dollars than use the state's power of coercion.

Voting with your dollars doesn't work. We gave that a chance. How many bars were there that chose to be smoke-free? Zero.

Yup; the problem here is that while most people probably prefer smoke-free environments, heavy smokers are likely to be the heaviest drinkers, too. So the bar owners are incentivized to reward their best customers rather than the majority of their customers.

One in my old town of 2,500. It was quite successful until the smoking ban gave all of its patrons more choice of poison dispensaries. (Although the non-smokers weren't enough to keep all of the other bars in business).

You can look at it as utilizing the same power that prohibits employers from knowingly maintaining a workplace that contains dangers that are both mitigable and not intrinsic to the work being performed.

Or do you feel that OSHA & co.'s power to -say- require a warehouse operator to ensure that its shelving will hold the loads that are to be placed upon it and won't suddenly collapse and crush warehouse employees is an improper use of the power of coercion?

Edit: Upon further reflection, my last 'graph might sound a little too pointed. I ask the question because I've known many people who object in the strongest terms that everything that OSHA does is unreasonable and an obvious overreach. I have no way of knowing if you hold this opinion (or a similar one), hence the question.

Where I live, pubs were hellbent against smoking bans. Not a single pub was brave enough to go smoke free alone. They all scrambled to install outdoor beer gardens, but not all could do so for lack of outdoor space. Then when the smoking bans were introduced their patronage went up, as did their profits. Sure all their customers before the ban were smokers, but that was putting off non-smokers from becoming new customers.

How would that go for, say, the use of lead paint?

Certain societal decisions need a central consensus point. The already extant coercive power of the state is something we are unfortunately stuck with; we may as well use it for good.

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