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:

Isn’t this just a blog? Aren’t blogs dead?

Yes. No. Next?

What’s the difference between Grist List and Gristmill?

Gristmill’s focus will be on the breaking news of the day. By contrast, Grist List — which now carries the tag line “Look what we found” — will continue to seek out and serve up pop-culture sensations and diversions, choice tidbits of information, and scientific discoveries that relate to Grist’s subject matter.

We’ll do our best to keep this straight for you. You just sit back and relax.

Why is Gristmill one word and Grist List two?

If I started in on a recount of the extended internal debate on this point, we’d be up all night. Let’s just say that there’s a faction here that feels very strongly that “gristmill” ought to be a single word. Yet it would be an epic act of barbaric branding to rob Grist List of its space. So here we are — proudly, insanely inconsistent.

Will you guys give up on the “mill” metaphor already?

I don’t think so. It’s been a part of Grist on and off from the earliest days, and as sometime beer-drinking and bread-baking people, we just can’t let go. Grist: chew on that!