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#ASU student Alex Miller (right) and other students pose with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan when he visited in Tempe. Miller says she finds purpose and inspiration through the Teach for America program. (Photo courtesy of Alex Miller) http://bit.ly/1eUK9wF


i was at my school’s football game and there was this guy wearing a morph suit so this girl asked him what hes wearing and he said “its actually this skin disease i have called team spirit”

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On Pins and Needles by guyschmickle http://500px.com/photo/45945974

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REVIEW: The Vig Fillmore is here, and it’s serviceable

I’ve always wanted to try a donut burger. I hear they have them in Portland. They have all things esoteric in Portland — go figure. A donut burger is quintessentially American. You see, there is something potentially redemptive about eating a donut burger. If you don’t like the burger itself, you at least have the donut.

In the same vein, The Vig Fillmore is exemplary in all aspects but the burger.

I had the burger as the main course, and it tasted like they took it out of the freezer (Wendy is blushing somewhere), placed it on a frying pan (sans seasoning) and served it on a bun with lettuce and tomatoes. It would have been a lot better if I was drinking. I shouldn’t have had expectations when the menu was laminated. You never get anything above standard bar food from a laminated menu.

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[Story by Demetrius Burns] [Photo by Thomas Hawthorne]

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Behold, the sheer lack of common sense college students possess

We’ve mounted it in our common room


It’s a modern art piece depicting the folly of man

Emmett, what is that?

I’ve gotten a bunch of messages asking this

Guys, somebody put their corndog in the oven on a plastic dish

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Sophomore running back Melvin Gordon is tackled within the 30 yard line against the Sun Devils in Tempe on Saturday. Wisconsin lost 32-30, leaving the Sun Devils with an undefeated record. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

See the full slideshow here.

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3 - ASU’s volleyball team swept No. 2 Texas this weekend, and they are currently on their way to the best start they’ve had since 1997. (Photo by State Press Staff) http://bit.ly/16zLHpJ


Washington Post: The White House has filed FCC petition asking that all wireless carriers be required to unlock mobile devices so that users can easily switch between carriers.

The proposal follows up on President Obama’s response to complaints from online activists after the Library of Congress made the practice illegal in January when an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act expired.

The administration said earlier this year that consumers should be allowed to own “unlocked” phones, which spurred new bill proposals and committee discussions about the issue. The FCC also said it supported cellphone unlocking. 

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Where the world’s running out of water, in one map

Many of the world’s most important food-producing regions depend on freshwater from massive underground aquifers that have built up over thousands of years. The Ogallala Aquifer in the midwestern United States. The Upper Ganges, sustaining India and Pakistan.

Yet many of those aquifers are now being sucked dry by irrigation and other uses faster than they can be replenished by rainwater, according to a new study in Nature. It’s unclear when many of these aquifers will be completely emptied — scientists are still trying to measure how much “fossil water” these aquifers actually hold. But it’s a worrisome trend: About 1.7 billion people rely on aquifers that are rapidly being depleted. And once they’re gone, it would take thousands of years to refill them.

The Nature study, published by researchers at McGill and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, offers a map showing the regions where the use of water from these aquifers vastly exceeds the rate at which they’re being refilled by rain.

The map is a bit complicated, but it essentially compares the usage footprint with the actual rainfall a particular aquifer gets. Blue areas receive more rain than is being used up by humans. The Floridian Aquifer in the southeastern United States, for instance, can get quickly refilled by a big storm (though it still faces problems with saltwater contamination and overuse). Russia has plenty of freshwater. But orange or red areas indicate places where irrigation and drinking water use is drawing out more water from the aquifers than the rain can refill.

In some areas, the imbalance is staggering. Take, for instance, the Upper Ganges in northern India, which sustains farm irrigation in both India and Pakistan. The underground reservoir there would essentially need 54 times as much rain as it currently gets to replenish the water that’s being used by farmers and the local population. (That’s what the gray “footprint” at the bottom of the map shows.)

In the United States, aquifers are taking on increasing importance as food production expands and drought becomes a nagging issue. In regions like western Kansas, where farmers don’t get enough rain for their crops, they depend on irrigation, using freshwater from the Ogallala Aquifer. That’s especially true this year, amid the massive U.S. drought.

About 27 percent of U.S. irrigated farmland depends on the Ogallala aquifer, and it’s a key region for livestock, corn, wheat, and soy. But it’s slowly getting depleted. In some counties, the water table is dropping by as much as two feet per year. And, as David Biello notes, once the Ogallala gets drained, it would take about 6,000 years to recharge with rainfall.

Is it possible to stop this from happening? Possibly. Across the High Plains, farmers have been experimenting for years with various water conservation practices, such as crop rotation, as well as more-efficient watering techniques like center pivot or drip irrigation. States like Kansas are enacting conservation measures. Those practices have helped slow the rate of depletion in the Ogallala, but they haven’t stopped it, as shown in the map above.

Others are putting their hopes in technological advances — new crop breeds that can use water more efficiently. Recently, I talked to Clay Scott, a corn grower in western Kansas who volunteered to plant two plots of Monsanto’s genetically-engineered DroughtGard hybrid corn among his 3,000 acres of regular corn this year. Like many farmers in the region, Scott relies on the Ogallala aquifer — especially when drought hits — and he’s trying everything he can to reduce his water usage. He’s hoping that this new engineered corn, which carries a gene that enables it to draw water more gradually from the soil, can allow him to rely less on irrigation.

"We’re trying to see if we can maintain yields but reduce our water usage," Scott said. "In this region, that would be a game changer."  He’ll know how the genetically modified corn did after weighing the harvest in the fall.

And with the global population soaring past 7 billion, this is one of the biggest questions the world is now facing. Can better conservation practices and new technology enable farmers to keep feeding the planet without depleting its most important water resources?

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ASU students take responsibility for national safety

It’s 7 a.m. and humid on the Sun Devil Fitness Complex fields. A group of students is crawling across the ground, rubber duckies held securely in their hands.

Beyond being made of rubber, these duckies bear little similarity to their bath-bound brethren: They’re rubber models of assault rifles used by the U.S. military. The students are ASU’s Army ROTC cadets, and training with “rubber duckies” is one way they prepare to enter combat.

This is just practice now, but very soon, these cadets will be faced with the realities of being top officers in the Army, though they are often younger than their subordinates.

The ASU Battalion lost one of its graduates in combaton July 23, when 1st Lt. Jonam Russell, class of 2011, was killed while leading a patrol in Soltan Kheyl, Afghanistan.

Despite the loss of one of their own, ASU’s Army cadets are quick to affirm their commitment to the responsibilities and dangers of service.­

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[Story by Amy Medeiros] [Video by Erin O’Connor and Dominick DiFurio]