Welcome to Polandian on Sunday with a brief summary of what happened this week in Poland.
1. Poland to launch a Mars base
This week plans for a Polish Martian base were announced. The originality of the idea is to actually build the base on Earth rather than on Mars, and save some money in times of crisis.
Just kidding – this is a serious business: The facility was designed at the Gdańsk University of Technology and project managed by the Mars Society Polska. It will allow not only scientific research, but will also include an education and hotel module. It will be open to tourists and visitors and will provide education programme for youth and astronomy enthusiasts. The facility, which will be bult in the city of Toruń, is to be completed by the year 2011. Similar bases already function in the US state of Utah and in Canada, however these are closed for the public.
The project has the backing of Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), European Space Agency and NASA.
There are already quite a few interesting things to see in Toruń. The beautiful and atmospheric Old Town is filled with spectacular medieval sights all there to admire while you lazily sip coffee or beer in one of many open-air cafes and restaurants. Toruń, since the middle ages, is also the place where the most delicious ginger-bread cookies are made. Apart from buying the legendary delicacies, visitors often choose to have a go themselves at baking. Local Gingerbread Museum offers cooking classes in medieval style.
However, the city which calls itself “cosmopolis”, also has a more cosmic dimension. Nicolaus Copernicus, the first to discover Earth revolves around the Sun, and not the other way around, is probably the city’s most famous inhabitant. Today Toruń is a home to an important astronomy research centre where visitors can listen to the radio signals from outer-space, cuddle one of the largest radio telescopes in Europe and visit a planetarium. Soon they will be able to check out how it feels to be on Mars or try on a space suit. Cool, huh?
2. Controversial police adverts
The police have begun a new awareness campaign on motorcycle accidents. According to police data, most of the accidents in which motorcycles take part end with serious injuries that leave people permanently disabled.
To make their message perfectly clear, the police and their advertising agency BBDO, have come up with a following poster
The slogan reads “Spring is coming. Time for vegetables”. And a smaller print underneath: “Use your imagination – slow down”.
Motorcyclists felt upset and filed a complaint to the Ombudsman.
3. Crisis food
The crisis has a wonderful media coverage and so far, thankfully, it is present mostly in the media in Poland, rather than in the “real world”. Who could expect the crisis would become a source of inspiration for this entrepreneurial nation? The media in Poznań region, where inhabitants are known for their lack of enthusiasm for spending money (to say it mildly) report on new “crisis” foods.
Local butchers have come up with a new kiełbasa kryzysowa (crisis sausage). It is cheap: 9 zł/kg while for instance the traditional kiełbasa śląska costs twice as much. Poznań-person’s dream come true. There’s a similar idea at local Fabryka kanapek, a sandwich retailer. The assistant proudly presents their recession sandwich (“kanapka recesyjna”), with gherkin and pork crackling. Local white collars reportedly praise this as an alternative to chicken breast and cherry tomatoes.
Zofia Golusińska, a Poznań restaurateur complains that bank executives who used to be her regular customers, now pretend to be hit by the crisis and have stopped eating lunches at her restaurant. She’s luring them back with a special “crisis menu” hoping lower prices will discourage her customers from bringing their own food to work.
In Warsaw, on the other hand, moods are quite different. Compared with modest Poznań, Varsavians continue to indulge in sensual pleasures: they have just voted for the city’s new cake.
The wuzetka cake, Warsaw’s old sweet symbol was simple, square, dark and heavy. It originated in the communist era, and became the favourite served in cafes. Black and white layers were to resemble the tarmac – as the cake was named after an inner-city motorway. The new zygmuntówka is a light pastry with delicate creamy filling, exotic cranberries, topped with meringue. It resembles the new playful and naughty spirit of Warsaw, and the local tendency to show-off.
↑ Swine flu panic
– Don’t panic people, read WHO factsheet. This is not a deadly virus. This swine flu behaves more or like ordinary flu. 1-4% of those infected have died – but the exact number of sick is unknown, as they only discovered this illness by accident – which means mild cases who have recovered themselves probably weren’t probably ever found out, so the “mortality rate” could be way of proportions. Or not, and then you may panic.
↓ Condom sales for the underage – Seriously – this is a bizarre story. Rossmann, the retailer of cosmetics and chocolate bars was asking every young condom-buyer for an ID. They refused to sell it to those who weren’t eighteen yet. This policy has come to light this week. Apparently Rossman was sent a letter by the Ombudsman for children, the same person who suspected one of the teletubbies was “promoting” homosexuality. Such letter had no executive power whatsoever. Moreover it is a public offence to refuse a sale of publicly available products.