February 9th, 2009

Business Meeting

Word Counts

Those of you who subscribe to Locus have probably already read this, but if you have interest in the definition of the written-fiction categories in Hugo and other awards, you might want to have a look at this article and the Locus editorial to which it links.

I bring this up because I think if Charles' request gains any traction, we'll start getting confusion on the Hugo Awards. As with the SFAW post, I think comments on the subject are better directed to the original post.
Kevin Sketch

It Should Be Obvious, But...

If you get a gramatically-mangled e-mail from someone you know claiming that s/he is traveling somewhere, lost his/her wallet, and needs you to wire money to him/her right away, the default assumption should be is that person's e-mail is not his/her own any longer. I'm not saying someone stuck in a situtation like that might not do something of that nature, but it's somewhat unlikely.

Why do I say this? I got an e-mail today purportedly from someone I know making such a claim. I forwarded it to a friend of the person to say, "I think so-and-so's e-mail address book has been hacked." As I expected, the "traveler" isn't traveling anywhere and knows nothing about being stuck some place needing an urgent wire transfer.

I wonder how many people this particular scam will catch. It doesn't even sound terribly original to me, but maybe I'm just cynical. Heck, if my mother got an e-mail from me begging for emergency money because I was (say) stuck in London without my wallet, it's sufficiently plausible that she could be taken in. (No offense intended, Mom! I know you read this sometimes.)

Note to the person affected, or others nearby that person: I deliberately filed off the identifying information about the story before posting it here. No criticism of you is implied at all -- anyone could have it happen to him/her.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful

The Biggest Little Worldcon City...?

As Reno in 2011 is now running apparently unopposed, this has led to people speculating that "this will be the smallest city to every host a Worldcon." Well, that all depends on how you define it, I think. "By Mayoral Proclamation," the 1958 Worldcon was in South Gate, California, although it was physically in Los Angeles. I think most people probably count this as "metropolitan area" rather than the technical city in which the convention was held, so, for instance, all five Bay Area Worldcons are all in the same "place" for this purpose, so the fact that Berkeley only had 114,091 in 1970 (the 1968 Worldcon was in the Claremont Hotel on the Oakland-Berkeley boundary; the hotel's entrance is in Berkeley but most of the hotel was in Oakland) isn't relevant.

A little searching finds that the Reno-Sparks Metropolitan Statistical Area had 410,272 people in 2007. I thought that possibly Brighton, with a listed population at about the same time of 251,400, might beat it; however, you have to use comparable terms. An MSA is the county (or counties) in which the named cities are located (in Reno-Sparks' case that's Storey and Washoe counties, Nevada). The equivalent for Brighton is East Sussex, which has a claimed population of 752,900. Winnipeg might also be in the running -- its metro area is listed as 694,668.

Maybe other people can look over the Long List of Worldcons and do more research, but after my first pass, it does appear that the 2011 Worldcon is probably going to be in the smallest metropolitan area to ever host a Worldcon. The facilities there certainly aren't small, however. I'd be more comfortable if there was one more large hotel directly on site rather than a kilometer away, but there's plenty of convention center space; more than we'll need, I'm sure.