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The skinny

The skinny: Cocklebur seed takes root in Texas man's arm

spurring science

A seed takes root in Texas man's arm

It's been said that mighty oaks can grow from even the tiniest acorns. Justin Martin, 26, can attest to that, though in his case, it was a tiny cocklebur growing in a very unusual place. In May 2007, Martin was driving down a rural Texas road when a cow appeared and he crashed. Several months later, a painful, marble-like lump developed on Martin's left arm. In June 2008, the decision was made to surgically remove it for biopsy. The lump, it turned out, was a plant. Evidently a cocklebur had become embedded in the deep cuts on Martin's arm the night of the accident; it eventually migrated to a spot about 6 inches away. Even more remarkable, because it was close enough to the surface of the skin to get light, the seed had sprouted. "I wish (the doctors) could have saved (the sprouted plant) for me," said Martin, whose tale appears in Ripley's Believe It or Not! Special Edition 2011.

capitol idea

No more pop quizzes in Idaho

Public schools chief Tom Luna demonstrated new technology being used in Idaho classrooms during a presentation Wednesday to the 27 lawmakers on the state Senate and House education committees. He asked lawmakers two questions and gave them each an electronic device that functions like a remote to input their answers. Luna asked what year Idaho became a state, and the legislators' answers were calculated and projected on a screen. It showed 17 percent on the two education panels didn't know the answer: 1890. Asked which town was Idaho's first capital, 15 percent did not know the correct answer: Lewiston.

No. 1 son

The numbers align for this birthday

Tyler Ashton Marx's lucky number is going to be one, or 11, or maybe both. The son of Jared and Leslie Marx was born at 11:11 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2011, at St. Luke's Meridian Medical Center in Meridian, Idaho. Jared is serving in Iraq and watched his son's birth over the Internet. But Tyler isn't the only one in the family with a memorable birthday. His older sister was born on 9/9/09.

flight of fantasy

Santa followers reach record high

NORAD says its Santa-tracking program logged a record number of phone calls and e-mails on Christmas Eve. The North American Aerospace Defense Command said volunteers answered more than 80,000 calls and more than 7,000 e-mails on Santa's whereabouts. In 2009, there were 74,000 calls and 3,500 e-mails. The website had nearly 15.5 million unique visitors, up from 13 million. The program started in 1955 when a newspaper ad printed the wrong number for a Santa hotline and kids called NORAD's predecessor instead.

Compiled from Times wires.

The skinny: Cocklebur seed takes root in Texas man's arm 01/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:12pm]
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