Planet of the Birds
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Illustration by Daniel Mróz. From the “Przekrój” archives (Issue 1594 from 1975)
Nature

Planet of the Birds

An Alternative Avian History
Adam Węgłowski
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Ćwirek (Chirp) is an ordinary, grey representative of the cawmentariat, employed on a contract scribbled out by a chicken’s claw. He has no chicks, or any prospects of having them. Let’s make a discreet visit to his hollow tree.

In his first step, the Raven carved out the mountains and the lowlands. He fenced off the clouds, the granite peaks and the trenches of the sea. He swept the heat away from the ice floes. He ordered the clumsy creatures to come out: crocodiles, gorillas and crabs. And at dusk he cawed: “Let us crown creation with the kraptak, a caricature of the Raven! Kraptak! Spread through the forests! Clear the hornbeams and Carpathian spruces! Tease and embarrass the kangaroos and the aurochs! But kraptak,” the Raven cawed even more huskily, “I command you

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Mao and the Sparrows
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Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0
Science

Mao and the Sparrows

A Communist State’s War Against Nature
Agata Kasprolewicz

Or, how a dictator’s mindless war on birds unleashed terrible plagues upon China, and why respect for animals is the path to freedom.

The general held his breath when the auditorium suddenly exploded in thunderous laughter. He didn’t know what had so amused those gathered in the hall, just as he was about to start speaking. The unexpected mirth was the fault of a cricket who lived in a small cage of dried gourd, tucked into an inside pocket of the general’s thick coat. Who would have thought that at such an inappropriate moment he would want to sing, and his joyous trills, magnified by the microphone, would ring out through the entire hall? Abashed, the general apologized to the assembly. Forgive me, comrades, that I allowed myself to be tempted by this ‘small amusement’.

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