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Welcome to Grist’s new home page

Today we pull the (biodegradable) wrap off our new home page design here at Grist. Come on in! Sit! Coffee? We're glad you're here.

This overhaul is intended to be a substantial evolution in our design -- not a radical overhaul, but not a baby step, either. That means we're still lighting up your screen with a little splash of orange (think of it as beta-carotene!). We're still showing you one section for our features and another of our shorter, bloggier, newsier items. But we're bringing our front page look into line with the changes we introduced earlier this year on our article pages. Because, you know, ever since then the inconsistency has been bugging us. And we've been holding our breath. And that's just not healthy.

The first big change you'll notice is that we've put the old rotating carousel to rest. (It has earned its retirement, is grateful for the break, and was last seen feeding the slots at Vegas.) We'll use our lead-story spot to highlight one story that we think is crucial for you to read, or especially urgent, or perhaps splutteringly funny -- with, as often as we can, an image that makes you go "wow" or "sheesh" or "mmmm." Over on the left, you'll always see the latest posts from our tireless team of Gristmill news bloggers and Grist List curators. Down the page, you'll find a reverse-chronological listing of all of our recent feature articles and posts.

We've also reorganized our navigation bar and rearranged the top-of-the-page area. That row of highlighted stories next to the Grist logo is meant to feature recent posts of the Must. Click. Now. variety. If you've already stopped reading this because of them, they've done their job.

If you came to this post via our home page at grist.org you probably noticed the difference; if you didn't, go have a look around! And of course tell us what you think. Because we're not done. We're never done. We plan to use this revamp as the starting point for further change -- tiny tweaks and big experiments alike. So the feedback you give us -- in comments right here; on our contact form; on Facebook or Twitter; we'll even read your faxes if that thing in the corner still works -- really does make a difference.

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Mill for the Grist: Fresh, whole-brain news

Photo by Jason Barnette.

Today we pull the curtains back on the latest new feature here at Grist. The paint's still drying. The work isn't finished. But we're ready to invite you in.

Welcome to the new Gristmill -- the spot at Grist to tune in to the latest in the realms of climate and energy, sustainable food, cities, and all the other Grist-y stuff we cover. What just happened? What are people saying about it? What does it mean, and how does it all connect?

As always at Grist, we will hail people and efforts to improve our world -- and make ridiculous faces at people and efforts that deserve to be mocked. And as always, we'll keep using all the internet-y tools at our disposal to get you to join in.

Tending the mill -- by himself for the moment, with reinforcements on the way -- is our latest addition to the Grist team, Philip Bump. Philip has worked in the trenches of political campaigns, software development, green activism, and web journalism. And he's still standing upright! He brings all those experiences to bear in his writing with a sharp eye and a light touch, and we're thrilled to have him join us here.

Some FAQs for you:

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Last day to ‘beat’ our goal!

Dear Grist readers,

Please give to Grist today. It's our last shot at $25K!

My staff has been struck by a curse:
We have to keep speaking in verse.
But a timely donation
Will offer salvation --
Give now, or this curse will get worse!

Grist readers, at the risk of incurring the wrath of the raven that put this curse upon us, I'm going to break from speaking in verse for just a moment so I can ask you, in all earnestness, to support Grist today with as little as $5.

We gotta get just a few more gifts by midnight to earn an additional $25,000 from a generous donor. We are so close to our goal of 3,000 gifts, and we don't want to leave that money on the table. Please help us meet our goal and capture the gold. We don’t want to be doomed to meetings like this:

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Free bird is the word! Appeal gets absurd

When we do these semiannual fundraising appeals here at Grist we sometimes look over at our peers in public broadcasting with envy.

When they don't meet their goals, they extend their deadlines. They just keep going. They're machines! We'll just keep torturing you, they say, until you give.

We're nicer than that. We've never extended our deadline. We live by the deadline here. But we don't want to die by it.

So the deadline for this appeal is fast approaching. And, to be honest, the involuntary poetry slam that Grist has become over the last 10 days? It's just exhausting. But you can do something about it! Give now, and put an end to our misery.

Here's what I mean:

My first week at Grist a few months ago, this gull decided to make a home on my windowsill for the better part of a day.

It stared at me. I stared at it. It made noises at me. I tried not to make noises back.

I thought of that bird when I watched our first appeal video -- the one with the Muppet-style raven harassing Grist's founder while mouthing droll Poe parodies.

And then it hit me -- the curse!

If I post here tomorrow
Things just couldn't be the same
'Cause Grist's so plagued with this nonsense
And this verse you cannot change!

Yes, it has come to this: Our lyrical disease has reached an advanced stage, and Lynyrd Skynyrd has infected my brainstem.

In the next stage, I fear, it's gonna be "Surfin' Bird," and we just don't want to go there.

So take pity on us wretches. Give to Grist now -- and it'll all be over soon.

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The ode not taken. Plus, puppies!

Just one more day to earn $25,000.
Your gift will make all the difference.

Two roads diverged in a greenish wood.
And Grist told stories, multi-part
Of bikes and feet and transport good --
And slayed Big Oil when we could.
We need your help. Here's a chart:

Puppy Chart

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
That I’m a cranky climate guy
But YOU stuck with Grist by and by
And your gift made all the difference.

Frostily,

David Roberts
Staff Writer

P.S. Giving online make you a wreck? You're also welcome to send a check: Grist, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 860, Seattle, WA 98104.

P.P.S. If we reach our goal by May 15, Grist will receive $25,000 from a generous donor.

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Green eggs, hold the ham [VIDEO]

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
We won't get $25K. We will not!

If you're just tuning in, Grist's been struck by a curse.
Unless you help out, we're stuck speaking in verse.
"Oh no, this can’t be," you might be retorting,
"This rhyme scheme will starve us of good food reporting."
Just five measly bucks will make this curse scram
and I'll go back to writing on green eggs and ham.

You've got brains in your head and feet in your shoes,
Please consider supporting our brainy green news.
With our readers’ support, we’re sure to succeed.
Ninety-nine and three-quarters percent guaranteed!
So if you want to shake off this Seuss-ian rhyme,
Donate today -- and thanks for your dime.

Yours Seuss-ly,

Twilight Greenaway
Grist Food Editor

P.S. Giving online make you a wreck? You're also welcome to send a check: Grist, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 860, Seattle, WA 98104.

P.P.S. If we reach our goal by May 15, Grist will receive $25,000 from a generous donor.

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Rap battle: Save us from ourselves [VIDEO]

Just one more week to earn $25K.
Give five bucks to make our day.

YO! It's Ted and Jen and we're here to say,
Grist needs your help in a major way.
Dawg, we're cursed, this $#*! is wack!
Gotta speak in verse so we're spittin' rap.
We're way behind and beggin' on our knees.
Grist needs your help to earn some G's!

3,000 gifts: That's the magic number,
To break the spell and feed our hunger.
Please grind out a gift if you can,
And we will bank another 25 grand.
If Grist has helped you learn or laugh,
Please send some dough on our behalf.

See how this curse got us straight trippin'.

Peace,

Fresh Ted and DJ Jazzy Jen
Grist Master MCs

P.S. Giving online make you a wreck? You're also welcome to send a check: Grist, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 860, Seattle, WA 98104.

P.P.S. If we reach our goal by May 15, Grist will receive $25,000 from a generous donor.

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Out, damned curse!

Grist hath $25,000 on the line.
Help us reach our goal in time!

To give, or not to give, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler for the earth to suffer
The slings and arrows of oil and gas fortune
Or to take arms against a sea that's rising,
And by donating stem it: to spill, to leak
No more. And by a gift, to say you care
how Grist ties climate news to daily life,
-- that we report with wit, not with despair.

To read, perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that stream of words, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this toxic roil,
Must give us hope. Let me bare my bodkin:
Pray, if we hath lit a flame 'neath thy butt,
Help Grist now with all the farthings thou canst!
Thus conscience does make donors of us all.
'Tis a contribution devoutly to be wished.

Parting is such sweet sorrow,

Scott Rosenberg
Executive Editor

Postscript:
In a previous life, I earned my keep
Reviewing plays. Long and rich were the hours
I spent list'ning to or writing about
The works of Shakespeare. I wasn't that keen
To parody him in doggerel verse,
At first. But this curse is a cruel mistress.
Also, Grist must pay its bills. So why fret?
We'll stop this once you fill our purse. Not yet!

P.P.S. Giving online make you a wreck? You're also welcome to send a check: Grist, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 860, Seattle, WA 98104.

P.P.P.S. If we reach our goal by May 15, Grist will receive $25,000 from a generous donor.

Why all the iambic pentameter?
Grist is working under a strange parameter.

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Help! Grist’s been struck by a curse [VIDEO]

Donate now to end this curse
that forces us to speak in verse.

Once upon a workday dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a serious tale of gloom 'n' doom 'n' eco-gore,
While I nodded nearly groaning, came a thought that seemed worth honing:
If we make this funny, we will surely get folks in the door.
And lo, green news won't be a bore.

Grist was born and, 12 years later, has 1 million fans or greater!
We’ve helped you and your friends explore climate news and views galore.
Carpools, bike lanes, urban gardens -- our punny fun we hope you’ll pardon.
At Grist.org you get the score, on what to praise and to abhor.
So now what am I rhyming for?

You see, there is this awful curse, that forces us to speak in verse.
But you can spring us from this chore!
Please give a buck, or three, or four!
Our fine nonprofit needs an offer, from your wallet or your coffer.
We need 3,000 gifts or more by May 15 or just before.
Please give now, we do implore.

Edgar Allen Poetically,

Chip Giller
President and Founder

P.S. Giving online give you the heebie-jeebies? You may also send an old-fashioned (but most welcome) check to: Grist, 710 Second Avenue, Suite 860, Seattle, WA 98104.

P.P.S. If we reach our goal by May 15, Grist will receive $25,000 from a generous donor.

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Autism and high-fructose corn syrup: A deeper look

Photo by Bryan Gosline.

Grist's post last week about a paper that aimed to draw a connection between autism and high fructose corn syrup raised an almost immediate furor.

Some furors are healthy. As an editor I'm always happy when work that I publish gets people to consider new ideas and information that challenges their assumptions.

But some furors are more like, "Guys, you messed up." I'm afraid that from where I sit this was one of the latter kind.

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