ABOUT US

The Idea Sift™ is a news media and art site founded by Ryan Derenberger, a freelance journalist and teacher from Maryland. Since June of 2020, The Idea Sift promotes new, future-proof ideas through Sifts™.

ABOUT OUR ARTICLES

IDEASIFTS™ are extended feature articles that juggle threads of pop culture and research to arrive at new insight, “THE SIFT.”

NOT-WILD IDEAS™ are mid-length opinion or news analysis articles that highlight hidden, forward-thinking ideas on which almost if not all humans would agree.

THOUGHT ADRENALINE™ posts elicit a quick, benign shock to unexamined minds.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

The inaugural post, “Learning to idea-surf,” serves as an organization manifesto on the lives, mutations and ideal handling of ideas in thinking and writing alike. It acknowledges a health-state of the world of ideas.

  • The symptoms: Ideas of hate or selfishness largely bring net pain, and those more habit than necessity deserve enumeration and review.
  • The diagnosis: Many of our ideas are stiff, relics from past times of need, and they express themselves as discomfort, aggressive and ill.
  • The prescriptions: We need a clear, evidence-based synthesis of ideas and a culture of “thanking old ideas and letting them go.”

To these ends, active on The Idea Sift are cross-article metaphors and allusions normally deemed redundant in many newsrooms (like those of “idea surfing” and “idea wellness”). The redundancy here is deliberate, the value of the right metaphors immeasurable in maintaining control of one’s mind and its ideas. Rare is the idea-beast that in one metaphor a writer may tame not by degrees but in its entirety.

The Idea Sift ascribes to the same promotion of permanently affixed thought experiments and mnemonics that contemporary philosopher Daniel Dennet has often explored, his “intuition pumps“: compressed thought packages which seed your brain’s daily ventures.

Metaphors exist for the purpose. It would be foolish to adhere to likely outdated rules against mixing metaphors or repeating them in a time of societal upheaval such as ours. Managing optics for the sake of other writers’ admiration is not our goal; our goal, is the accelerated, future-proofing of minds.

OUR STYLEBOOK

We at TIS want our writing to be so good that, as with a song, you want to read a sentence twice, an article twice. Though we largely follow the Associated Press Stylebook, we believe writing rules should be as dynamic and flexible as language itself. Check the terse hard-news-styled satire, here, or our piece on the future of schools, serious in tone and syntax alike. 

But when one of our writers drafts a sentence like this… 

“In the upper echelons of some of the Western world’s most revered rock musicians exists an incestuous dynamic, stirring cyclical potions and spells and pouring the concoctions into molds of mutual admiration. Eventually, the cauldron springs leaks, loosing raw sediment from its below. In the worlds that pool thrive sounds somewhat new, ear candy to cure the blues.”

…we keep the sentence and jettison concision, instead. “Be concise” was and is a sound, effective rule, but it wasn’t meant for everything. The modern writer has sacrificed engagement at the altar of brevity. Such self-professed, witty souls need not apply at TIS.

We want vehicles for evidence-based insight, and we want them aerodynamic. So we may add a curve, or mispunctuate. We may invent a self-explaining term. We will contour our ideas, and test them in the synaptic wind tunnels of thoughts. 

SUBMISSIONS

The Idea Sift™ is currently accepting submissions for the following article styles:

  1. BIAS BLAST™
  2. NOT-WILD IDEAS™
  3. MOVIE REVIEWS
  4. SHORT FICTION

Please consider the current, published pieces as exemplars when drafting your submission. At the bottom of each submission must be a “STIFF” old idea you believe has expired, and a new “SIFT” idea you believe deserves light.

Anonymous submissions are accepted, but as is typical and ethical practice, TIS editors will need to verify the identity of the author prior to publication.

Share your submissions via Google Docs to submissions.theideasift@gmail.com.

(Note: To avoid conflicts of interest, The Idea Sift will not publish any submissions from current students of Ryan Derenberger.)

“APOLITICAL & ARELIGIOUS”

The site is and will remain largely apolitical and areligious, privileges no doubt, but necessities given that Ryan Derenberger is a teacher and is required to teach all students.

Notably, on the site’s effort towards apolitical content, it is worth being said that not all articles about politics are political. A rhetoric teacher, as a drill, may have asked her class in 2020, “Who should be Joe Biden’s running mate if Biden wants to win?” and likewise, as question two, “Who should be Donald Trump’s running mate if he wants to win?” These thought experiments are like math problems for rhetoric teachers, the equivalent of the proverbial “Train leaves the station” questions.

What we here at The Idea Sift™ always attempt to unearth is actionable overlap between long-splintered groups, fueled by our own fascination and respect for intellectual and evidence-based pursuits. Those concerning religion are no different. As of the site’s being live for just a few days, already cited were Abrhamaic Bible quotes, Zen koans, Taoism, Indian Buddhism and Dawkins.

COMMENTING

Commenting will remain “off” for the foreseeable future, such that the works on The Idea Sift retain each author’s original, intended presentation on the published page.

REVISION HISTORY

Any major updates to articles, other than those of hyperlinking or grammar, we will note in a revision history at the conclusion of each affected piece. We believe in the value of revision as new evidence arises and will evolve qualifiers of our content openly and without an eraser. We wish to keep our articles relevant over time, rarely if ever dismissed to “archive” status, still impactful, still actionable, still shareable.

ENTERTAINMENT SECTION DISCLAIMER

Any positions on drugs or behavior referenced or presented in artworks we analyze or even praise for other reasons, are not necessarily the positions of The Idea Sift™.

QUESTIONS?

Questions? Email us at theideasift@gmail.com.

Thank you, and enjoy The Idea Sift.