This Former Soviet Observatory Just Keeps Going and Going

Illustration for article titled This Former Soviet Observatory Just Keeps Going and Going

Welcome to this week’s Reading List, our weekly collection of great science and technology stories from around the internet. This week, we’ll tour a former Soviet observatory that’s still watching the skies, meet the archaeologists studying history while it’s still alive and kicking, and more.


Hidden away high in the remote mountains of Georgia, the former Soviet observatory of Abastumani has weathered regime changes, political strife, and neglect. Now only one of its telescopes is fully operational and its handful of remaining astronomers struggle to make ends meet, but they’re still making important observations and publishing in international journals. [BBC]

Thousands of workers have flocked to North Dakota’s shale oil boom, and a team of archaeologists and sociologists are working with the oil workers to document and understand this moment in history. [Motherboard]


The open-source Linux operating system is the basis for Android and the backbone of a growing number of connected devices. There’s a growing discussion about security in Linux, but ultimately the operating system’s future hinges on creator Linus Torvalds, who is famously blasé about security. [Washington Post]

Back in the age of paper letters, mail chutes were ubiquitous and vital parts of big city office buildings. Today, many remain - disused, painted over, and forgotten remnants of the past. [Atlas Obscura]

Top image: Sarah Murray via Wikimedia Commons

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What the Hell is a Commie observatory doing in the mountains of Georgia? Who approved this???