Meet the People Who Find America's Hidden Infrastructure

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Welcome to Reading List, Gizmodo’s weekly gathering of the best science and technology stories on the internet. This week, we’ll search for buried infrastructure, tour the electronics factories of Shenzen, delve into the future of science fiction for the Anthropocene Epoch, and look back at Nintendo’s famous virtual reality flop.

  • Miles of buried cables and pipes lie beneath your feet, and there are no reliable, up to date maps to help find them. Instead, there are thousands of utility locators who specialize in finding the infrastructure that’s hidden underground. And they have a contest every year. [CityLab]
  • Science fiction has always reflected the cultural anxieties of its time, drawing out society’s highest hopes and deepest fears. It’s time for the genre to tackle all the ways our world is changing, from its warming climate to its diminishing resources and fading natural wonders. [The Guardian]
  • The economics of solar power are uncertain, especially with government subsidies on the decline, but the need to shift toward more clean electricity isn’t going away. One factory in Buffalo is taking a chance, and it hopes to help bring back the city’s manufacturing economy in the process. [Technology Review]
  • From the latest iPhone to that tangle of abandoned chargers in the back of your closet, most of the world’s consumer electronic parts come from the factories of Shenzen, in China. When we think about Shenzen, we usually think of the well-known Foxconn factory and reports of terrible working conditions, but the city’s reality is more complex, and its economy is changing quickly. [Motherboard]
  • If you were a ‘90s kid, you may remember Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, the not-quite-virtual-reality headset that almost no one bought. Take an inside look at the development of the world’s first 3D gaming headset and learn why it really failed. [Fast Company]

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Top Image: z22 via Wikimedia Commons