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What does “patchiness” mean in this context?

Addressing this question from HelloTalk:

What does “patchiness” mean in this passage? Is there a similar word in Spanish?

“Many ecologists now think that the relative long-term stability of climax communities comes not from diversity but from the “patchiness” of the environment; an environment that varies from place to place supports more kinds of organisms than an environment that is uniform.”

I often see people use double quotes on an expression when the writer is grasping to find a word that precisely describes the writer’s intended meanig.

  1. It’s possible that the word does not exist in this language, and instead of using “the word”, a flshed out out explanation must be provided instead.
  2. Maybe the writer just doesn’t know the word.
  3. The writer feels that a particular word would be a close approximation of the intended meaning, but it’s not quite there. So the writer uses the word, but puts it in double quotes to indicate that the exact intended meaning is the word plus some additional the context.
  4. The word that the writer is using may be a slang or generally not recognized in the specific environment as the class of word to use. (For example, if using a soccer metaphor while describing politics)
  5. The word that the writer picked may be something close to “private language” – something known in a close circle of friends, or a small specialized segment of the population and the writer is aware that this population does not intersect at all with the intended readership.

In this case, however, it’s easier – there is a semicolon, and the flow of the sentence shows us that what follows the semicolon is the definition of the word “patchiness” as intended by the writer. “an environment that varies from place to place”. However, interpretation of the overall sentence reveals a contradiction, which is puzzling:

A. Ecologists think that stability comes from “patchiness”, not from diversity

B. An environment has “patchiness” when it varies from place to place. An environment that has patchiness is not uniform.

Isn’t the concept of an environment that varies from place to place (B) very close to the idea of a diverse environment(A)? What’s going on here?

Maybe the writer is trying to differentiate between what we would usually imagine when we think environmental diversity (just things being different and varied all over the place) with “patchiness” – possibly the overall environment having multiple, smaller areas within – these smaller areas are uniform internally, but each area is different from other areas. This concept also nicely aligns with the visual image of patches of cloth. You have worn jeans, and patch it up with a square piece of cloth. Now imagine a jean made up with many patched pieces of cloth..

I can also think of another concept that is similar to this – when people describe urban landscapes, an interesting concept is the idea of “microneighborhoods” – the idea that there are neighborhoods, just a couple blocks wide, each being pretty homogenous within each microneighborhood, but wildly shifting in demographic makeup, architecture, and mood when moving to another nearby microneighborhood.

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Repurposing a game

(also posted on reddit)

Northgard is this cleverly executed real time strategy-management-survival computer game rolled into one. It made a splash when initially released a few years ago, and as the game wasn’t terribly deep, the playerbase rush seems to have moved on. It’s not dead, though. A new faction DLC came out as recently as this month. There’s people on the subreddit. Last I checked, you regularly get matched on multiplayer ranked battles.

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Cross-platform key-mapping problems with some Bluetooth clickers

I’ve been experimenting for about a year with using a tablet to read ebooks while on the elliptical at the gym. At first, I was using the 12″ Surface Pro. The Kindle Windows program didn’t make the font big enough, so instead I used the browser-based Kindle Cloud Reader because Chrome allowed for a much wider range of zooming in beyond Kindle’s built-in font zoom. The fact that the screen was so big was nice, but because it was so big, I couldn’t lug it around while doing weights. So my routine was going to the gym and throwing stuff into the keyless locker (as it’s closer to the ellipticals than the locker room padlock lockers), doing ellipticals, then weights, then pulling the tablet out and doing the final stretch of ellipticals or other cardio.

Reaching to the tablet to touch the screen to turn the page breaks the workout flow. Also, at this level of zoom, you have to turn pages a lot. So I got a bluetooth clicker. I settled for the Logitech R500, which has a much thicker body than other models and makes it easier to hold on without dropping while while also holding on to the handlebars using some of the fingers. Also, both the “Next” and “Back” buttons are very big and there is none of the useless extra stuff that other models have. Other than not allowing me to fully grab the handlebars (holding on to the handlebars comes in handy especially when I start jumping), this was a pretty good setup. It also worked well with the Aladdin Ebook Reader for Korean language books.

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WCKNC Elections Witness Statement

I submitted a witness statement to the city regarding what I saw happen at the April 4 WCKNC election for multiple people filing election challenges.

The following information contained herein is within my own personal knowledge and relates only to facts and circumstances surrounding the Election Challenge submitted by _____________ on ____________ regarding Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council.

My name is Yongho Kim, and I live in the Wilshire Center-Koreatown Neighborhood Council (WCKNC) District 4. My mailing address, 900 Crenshaw Blvd #B, Los Angeles CA 90019, is my workplace where I can receive mail reliably. On April 4, 2019, at 5:40pm I voted at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council elections at the at the polls at Seoul International Park.

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Unidentified partisan canvassing at the WCKNC Elections

Yesterday I voted at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council elections at the Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council (WCKNC). I went to the polls at Seoul International Park around 5:40pm.

As I headed to the park gym, I could see two booths – one with personnel who seemed Korean, and another with personnel who seemed.. South Asian? As I walked by them, someone at the Korean booth looked at me. I looked at her.

  • Uh.. is this the election booth?
  • Well… just come over here; we’ll help you.

She handed me a form that read something along the lines of “Neighborhood Council Voter Registration”.

  • Please fill this out.
  • I already voted in a Neighborhood Council elections before. Do I need to register again?
  • Yeah, you have to.

She asked me a few questions  to help me fill the form correctly. I also overheard another person telling another voter next to me “they will ask you to point on a map where your house is”.

I gave her the completed form. Then she said that I could turn that in at the polling site, and gave me a paper with a list of candidates. It was not a paper with all the candidates on it – just a few that apparently they were campaigning for.

She said “I’m giving you these names for your consideration.. just as a reference” (In Korean: “이 후보들을 고려해주세요.. 참고만 하시라구요”) So then I asked her, “are you with the official elections administration?”. She fumbled the answer, and then said “Just go in and please vote”, and again adding “consider those candidates”.