They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

–  Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1977)

Changes in the Weekly Sift. It’s been almost a year since I re-formatted the Weekly Sift and moved it to I think it’s time for some changes again.

In August and September, three posts went viral, totaling over 100K of the 162K views the Sift has had all year. I think it spoiled me. Since then I’ve been searching a little too hard for the next viral post, and I think I need to shift back towards the Sift’s original mission: offering my readers a trustworthy condensation of the public debate, and saving them time by sifting through the info-stream and fetching out the occasional nugget.

The changes will be subtle. I’m still going to write my own articles when I can’t find anything that makes exactly the right point, but I’m going to refocus my efforts on serving my regular readers rather than seeking the attention of 10,000 strangers.

The obvious changes are that Short Notes has been renamed Nuggets of the Week, re-organized, and moved to the top of the blog. I’ve also added a Monday Morning Teaser to preview the day’s articles for those who come early. And when I don’t have changes to explain, the weekly summary will be shorter than it used to be.

In this week’s sift:

  • Nuggets of the Week. Everybody was talking about the Wisconsin recall, Ray Bradbury, and the transit of Venus, but other stuff was also worth your attention: what an oil pipeline break looks like, an anti-rape video from Scotland, the commencement speech you should have heard, how crazy Americans look to Germans, articles based on Chris Hayes’ and Joseph Stiglitz’s new books, the Netroots Nation videos, a fabulous photo from Milky Way Scientists, and more.
  • What Happened in Wisconsin? After all that, Scott Walker stays in office. How bad were the results? Should Obama be worried about carrying Wisconsin? Should we all be worried about the unprecedented money Walker raised and spent? And can you really buy an election with that much money? How?
  • Demonizing the Girl Scouts. It looks like the Catholic Church is joining right-wing Protestants in villainizing the Girl Scouts. Partly it’s the whole female-empowerment thing. But it’s also part of a larger pattern. Increasingly the Religious Right sees the American melting pot as a caldron of contamination.
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