United Airlines removed woman from flight to dying mother's bedside after ticketing glitch: "nobody flies for free"

In the cosmology of bureacratic evil, United Airlines is the prince of Hell.

Minutes before departure, already buckled into her seat, she was ordered to leave the plane. The gate agent told her that her reservation had been canceled. Traveler Help Desk, the online agency that sold the ticket, had rescinded it because the landlord made a change directly through United — even though United had assured the landlord that it was not a problem to do so.

Unable to fly, Ms. Amrich drove through the night, not stopping even to use the bathroom. Her sister, in the hospital room, held a phone to their mother’s ear, and Ms. Amrich begged her to hold on.

She was still driving when her cellphone rang again. Her mother was dead.

I can just see the agent's smile when they told her that “nobody flies for free.”

When she complained, United called her landord, to get her address, to send her flowers.

Previously:Watch bizarre video: United Airlines employee pushes 71-year-old to floor, leaves him motionlessFecal rampage grounds international United flightTSA says it doesn't know why United thought comics were banned from checked Comic-Con luggage Read the rest

Beautiful insect sculptures made of flowers and plants

Montreal-based clothing designer and artist Raku Inoue has been populating his Instagram with plants and flowers crafted into colorful insects. Read the rest

Remarkable portraits of Indian flower vendors

Ken Hermann went to the flower market in Kolkata, where he snapped these cool portraits of flower sellers with their wares. Read the rest

Newly-discovered orchid smells like champagne

In Madagascar, botanist Anton Sieder recently discovered an orchid with huge flowers that smell of champagne. Royal Botanic Gardens researcher Johaan Hermans confirmed that the plant, now named Cynorkis christae, is new to science. From The English Garden:

“It is quite a find,” said Johan, who saw the orchid in the flesh in January this year after travelling to the mountains with a team from Kew and Paris. “One of the most noticeable traits of this new orchid is its sweet scent, which one of our team likened to smelling like champagne,” he added.

Cynorkis christae also has enormous flowers, with a 5cm (2in) wide lip and a 16cm (6in) spur. Most of the flower is pure white, while the top petals have distinctive maroon markings...

The plant was named after Anton’s wife Christa, hence Cynorkis christae.

"New Orchids Discovered in Madagascar" (The English Garden via @NadiaMDrake) Read the rest

Trippy animation of computer-generated flowers and plants

Alexa Sirbu and Lukas Vojir created flow/er, a lovely animation programmed to mimic growth patterns of flowers. Read the rest

Artist builds high altitude balloon rig to send flower arrangement 19 miles above earth

Artist Makoto Azuma thought to himself, “if flowers symbolize Earthly beauty, how can I push nature’s boundaries? How can I transport beauty to where it doesn’t currently exist?” Answer: By tying them to balloons! Read the rest

Skeleton Flower turns transparent in the rain

Diphylleia grayi, the "skeleton flower" is normally opaque white but when it rains, the petals become transparent until the flower dries. Nanotechnologists are developing new materials inspired by the flower's structure that could lead to the likes of new underwater goggles that repel oil. From Mother Nature Network:

Skeleton flowers are native to wooded mountainsides in the colder regions of Japan, and they bloom from mid-spring to early-summer in shady conditions. The plant might be easier to spot if you look for its large, umbrella-shaped leaves. The pearly white (or clear, if it's raining) blossoms top the leaves in small clusters...

A related species, Diphylleia cymosa, can be found in the deciduous forests of the Appalachian Mountains here in the United States.

(via Daily Grail)

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Trippy and gorgeous night sky petunias look like tiny universes

Does your garden of earthly delights have room for some out-of-this-world petunias? Night Sky petunias are a cultivar by Selecta, developed in part at Mississippi State University's trial gardens. Read the rest

How it's made: hard crystal candies with cherry-flavored roses inside

From Tallahassee, Florida's Lofty Pursuits who offer these "handmade artisinal candies" at $6 for a 2.75oz bag:

A new technique for a new effect in our image candies. These Crystal Roses are formed from nothing but hot sugar, and flavors. This is the first in a series of candies using this kind of design.

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This remarkable timelapse of flowers took 3 years to film

Whenever it seems that timelapse has become a bit overused, someone like Jamie Scott refreshes the format with something like Spring, a dizzying film of flowers in bloom. Read the rest

Robotic drone bee pollinates flowers

Japanese researchers demonstrated how a tiny remote-controlled drone could help bees pollinate flowers in areas where bees populations have been reduced due to pesticides, climate change, and other factors. Eijiro Myako and his colleagues at the Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology hope that eventually robotic bees could handle their share of the work autonomously. From New Scientist:

The manually controlled drone is 4 centimetres wide and weighs 15 grams. The bottom is covered in horsehair coated in a special sticky gel. When the drone flies onto a flower, pollen grains stick lightly to the gel, then rub off on the next flower visited.

In experiments, the drone was able to cross-pollinate Japanese lilies (Lilium japonicum). Moreover, the soft, flexible animal hairs did not damage the stamens or pistils when the drone landed on the flowers...

“We hope this will help to counter the problem of bee declines,” says Miyako. “But importantly, bees and drones should be used together.”

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Forget filters, this artist adds real flower crowns to statues

Flower-bombing is the new yarn-bombing if Geoffroy Mottart has his way. He creates flower crowns and beards for statues around Brussels, then posts his handiwork online. Read the rest

Watch a rare "Corpse Flower" bloom while far away from the smell of death

Amorphophallus titanum is known as the "Corpse Flower" because it smells like rotten flesh. The infamous stink attracts flies and beetles that helps it get pollinated. Native to Sumatra, the plant rarely flowers and can take as long as a decade to bloom if it does. The New York Botanical Garden has cultivated a fine Corpse Flower and you can livestream it blooming any time now. Watch the video stream above but don't blink or you may miss it. If only Smell-O-Vision had caught on...

From the NYBG:

Each day of careful tending and feeding has led up to this moment: a brief yet glorious window in which the enormous plant (up to eight feet high) will unfurl, displaying the striking red interior and uncanny scent to which it owes its name. This is the first time that a blooming titan-arum has been put on display at the Garden since 1939, and this unique plant is unpredictable—it may be in flower for only one or two days.

The Corpse Flower (NYBG)

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5-legged-dog floral arrangement upsets family

Peggy Hartman died on January 20, 2016. She was 91 years old. Hartman's friend Magaret Seaman ordered a floral arrangement in the shape of a Jack Russell terrier to be delivered to Hartman's memorial service (Hartman loved dogs). But when the floral arrangement was unveiled in the church, the dog looked more like a generously snouted tapir with five legs. Seaman said she was embarrassed and asked the florist a refund, but was refused.

From Echo News:

The florist, from Harlequin Flowers, in Ness Road, defended her work though, saying she had photographic evidence of how the dog looked when it was being delivered to funeral directors S. Stibbards and Sons, also in Ness Road. She said: “It has been tampered with."

The mystery deepens!

[via] Read the rest

This might be the world's earliest flowering life

David Dilcher of Indiana University writes that this 130 million year-old fossil may represent the first life on earth to flower and pollinate underwater.

Based on the many fossil examples we examined, Montsechia floated in freshwater lakes and was submerged in the water. It had a spreading growth, branching freely. This flowering plant didn’t display any of the showy blossoms we tend to associate with flowers. But because it contains seeds enclosed in a fruit, the basic characteristic of angiosperms, it is classified as a flowering plant.

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Deformed mutant daisies photographed near Fukushima nuclear disaster site in Japan

Just when you'd forgotten about all that leaked radiation.

Watch these plants explode

Violets, touch me nots, and squirting cucumbers employ an impressive ballistic seed dispersal mechanism. (Smithsonian)

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