Deep Sea Cable Repair Technicians Keep the World’s Communications Afloat

Josh Dzieza, the Verge:

[…] It’s a truism that people don’t think about infrastructure until it breaks, but they tend not to think about the fixing of it, either. In his 2014 essay, “Rethinking Repair,” professor of information science Steven Jackson argued that contemporary thinking about technology romanticizes moments of invention over the ongoing work of maintenance, though it is equally important to the deployment of functional technology in the world. There are few better examples than the subsea cable industry, which, for over a century, has been so effective at quickly fixing faults that the public has rarely had a chance to notice. Or as one industry veteran put it, “We are one of the best-kept secrets in the world, because things just work.”

I bet this essay appears on a good many best of lists at the end of the year. It is tremendous. Necessary reporting well-told and richly illustrated. Normally, I find these kinds of high production value presentations more distracting than they are helpful, but this is exactly the opposite. A wonderful exploration of the kind of quiet profession that makes core parts of life possible for everybody else.