How the Soviet Union destroyed the fourth biggest lake in the world

NASA has published these two images of the Aral Sea, which used to be the fourth biggest lake in the world before the Soviet Union plugged into the rivers that fed it to irrigate massive agricultural areas. The photo on the right was taken in 2000. On the left you can see its current state. » 10/01/14 9:21pm 24 minutes ago

A Rare Tour of the Long-Secret Russian Town Where Cosmonauts Are Born

If you went looking for Zvezdny Gorodok, aka Star City, on a map in the 1960s, you'd have no luck. This small town outside of Moscow was long a state secret, and for good reason: It was the base where Cosmonauts came to train for—and recover from—space flight. And it's still cooking. » 7/09/14 3:20pm 7/09/14 3:20pm

Soviet Doctors Cured Infections With Viruses, and Soon Yours Might Too

In the Soviet Union, western antibiotics couldn't make it past the Iron Curtain. So Eastern Bloc doctors figured out how to use viruses to kill infectious bacteria. Now, with antibiotic-resistant bugs vexing doctors, that eerie yet effective method might come our way. In post-antibiotic world, infection cures you! » 6/07/14 2:00pm 6/07/14 2:00pm

This Woman Secretly Dubbed American Movies During the Cold War

In the 1980s Irina Margareta Nistor worked as a translator of TV programs in Romania under the Communist regime. But in her spare time she secretly dubbed over 3,000 banned movie titles, all VHS tapes smuggled in from the West. These tapes quickly spread throughout Romania. Nobody knew Nistor's name. But everybody… » 2/18/14 7:10pm 2/18/14 7:10pm

This Insane Rocket Is Why The Soviet Union Never Made It To The Moon

Americans tend to talk a lot about the Space Race and how we made it to the Moon and we were first and no one else was second because we are the best. It's put into context by the fact that the Soviet satellite Sputnik was the first in space, but by the time we get around to discussing the moon landings no one… » 10/19/13 1:54pm 10/19/13 1:54pm

Tons of Hackers Are Hanging Out in Old Soviet Cyberspace

The Internet is a huge place. Some parts of it are awesome, but others are...less so. And falling squarely in that latter category is the ancient .su domain, once the cyberhome of the Soviet Union. It's not exactly well maintained, or well policed, which is why more and more online criminals are using it as a hideout. » 6/01/13 12:00pm 6/01/13 12:00pm

Why Everyone Loves Yuri Gagarin, the First Human to Reach Space

It happened when Earth was still in black and white: 50 years ago we stepped outside our home planet for the first time. This is the tale of the beginning of an adventure that hasn't ended yet, the biggest, most dangerous and rewarding quest ever embarked on by the human race—the fascinating story of two men who took… » 4/11/11 11:50pm 4/11/11 11:50pm