Holocene 911*

Research in numbers

Jess Ferreira

The morning started out with a lot of research. I had to find the answers to some questions that are essential for the powerpoint. Some of these questions were hard to answer because they were about the future and there isn’t a lot of information about it yet. Some of the information that was interesting to me was how much money the US has spent in the last decade due to hurricane damage.

In addition to do research the group had to work on putting the prototype together. This was the hardest part. The cone that was designed by Kate was too heavy and too big to work so we cut the tip off and use this instead to distribute the water. S

Some minor problems our group had was the foam was it kept snapping. We needed to cut foam that would fit around the P.V.C pipe. We needed to attach the foam to the side of the pipe because we had already glued the top and bottom to material. We needed to make sure that the foam was dense enough to keep the prototype up straight and balanced.

Final Description

Emily Cudhea-Pierce

The goal of this project was to find a replacement for corn. Due to the drought that is happening and will continue to worsen over the coming years, the corn crop will suffer. This year, about 20% of the corn crop was lost due to drought, and that will be exacerbated as the drought continues. The idea that this project is based off of is the idea of using cactus to replace corn in cattle feed. The cactus would work because it needs less water to grow. Right now, it takes about 9.6 lbs of corn to get 1 lb of beef on the table. The corn crop's failure could impact a large part of American life.

To start out, Emily tried to create some recipes for humans using the cactus. Eventually, she decided that the taste of cactus was not as universally appealing as that of corn. She moved on to figuring out the economics and feasibility of using cactus as cattle feed. This seemed like a much more possible idea. She made Vensim models of the cactus economy to see how feasible the idea was. According model, they will have to grow approximately 68 million lbs of cactus in order to become profitable. 

Because of the amount of water saved in feeding cactus to cattle, up to 450 million gallons of fresh water could be saved every day. This would be very helpful in a drought.


Max Ingersoll

The whole group came up with five solutions then each person chose one. I am in the water pump group. Hurracaines are caused by if the water on the surface of the ocean is 25.6 degrees or hotter. What our wave-powered pump does is it lifts the cold water onto the surface whenever a wave goes by. We did some research and someone already had an idea to solve this problem and we are comparing our idea with his idea to see which one works better.


Emily Cudhea-Pierce

One thing I struggled with was splinters. Everyone who came near the cactus seemed to get splinters. I think I still have one or two in my hand. When we went shopping, we picked out a cactus pear. Klara handled the pear and ended up with tons of painful splinters in her hand. The perilous thing is that you don't tend to feel the cactus splinters until a few minutes after they're already in there. They are quite hard to spot in your hand. 5 or 6 people ended up with varying amounts of splinters in their hands. Sorry guys! This is a problem that may be hard to solve on a large scale. No one wants to get splinters every time they try to cook a meal... I'll have to think of ways to work with this problem. Is it possible to genetically modify cacti to reduce the number of spikes?  How can cacti be stored or de-spiked so that people are not injured by their food?

side note: they can spike you through plastic bags, clothes, etc. They are not noticeable until they are in your skin and you rub against something that disrupts the spine and creates discomfort and pain. 

Last Day

Riley Nelson

Today I just worked on finishing my powerpoint and practicing it.

Attached is the last photo I needed for my powerpoint.

A New Beginning: Research and Learning

Jess Ferreira

The past two days the hurricane group has been doing a lot of research. The first day was mostly a lot of Eric talk and learning about climate change and how it has affected the world. Everyone was going to research a topic to learn more about the causes, effects and consequences. This research took up a lot of the morning time especially talking with other members in the Holecene 911 studio. In the afternoon our main goal was to find how we could make learning about climate fun; turning a boring topic into a fun project. In the ended we ended up defining fun.
The morning of the second day the entire studio brainstormed ideas of projects we could do for each climate change project. I chose to solve a problem for the topic “Hurricanes Intensifying.” We had a lot to learn before we could start thinking about our product. Our goal is to find a way to mix warm and cold water together to prevent hurricanes from intensifying. A lot of our research was finding numbers and basic information about hurricanes, focusing mainly on Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. We needed to find how deep and shallow the Gulf of Mexico is and find the different temperatures. Finding the temperatures was hard because a lot of the graphs and maps we found were the surface area temperatures. Another thing we needed to look at was what others people’s solutions were. The two ideas we thought of were a pump that had doors at the top and bottom to mix the cold and warm water together and a drain that would mix together. At the end of the day we started to build a small prototype.


Sam Favazza

The theory behind the studio was to make a filter that could remove salt and other contaminants from water.

The world is heating up and drought is severely effecting people, the filter we make must clean seawater for people living on the coast.

Use graphene, a membrane with pores small enough that only water molecules can fit through.

We started with writing pseudo code to help get the basic idea of what we wanted to simulate. The program was written in python which is a general-purpose, high-level programming language. The first feature we wanted the program to have was to create water with an amount of salinity, and pass it through a filter and be able to calculate how much salt is filtered out which we decided would be 98 percent. Other variables were added that could affect the efficiency of the filter including, pressure, volume, and area of graphene. We also added a way to know the lifetime of the filter, as the life reduces the efficiency of the filter goes down as well.

Data, Analysis, and Results:
The simulation  worked well although we did not know the qualities of graphene so the filter could not give accurate results.

Although the simulation did not simulate the graphene filter, the details of graphene could be applied and the simulation would operate perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Riley Nelson

        In this studio, we were tasked with coming up with a solution to combat climate change.  There were a few different aspects that we researched in the beginning, but in the end I decided to focus on the world's water issue.  I decided to create an affordable filter that desalinates water.  I was really interested in this idea because the concept of water has always fascinated me, and I know how big of a problem it is becoming.  Before beginning to prototype the filter, I knew I wanted it to be under $10 so low income families could afford it.  I also knew that I wanted it to let out zero emissions.  With this criteria in mind, I began designing my filter.

        There are three layers to the system.  A strainer to remove the bigger clumps of things, a ceramic filter to take out the live bacteria, and a sheet of graphene to desalinate the water.  The is also a bike pump attached to the top in order to pressurize the system.  Unfortunately, the nanoporous graphene is still being designed, so I was not able to incorporate that aspect into my design.

        The filter took about a week to make.  This stems from a myriad of reasons: the parts I ordered took a long time to be delivered, things broke or did not fit, and various engineering problems arose during the building process.  In the end, however, my prototype was able to filter a dirty puddle from the street into clean water (which somebody then drank).

        After the process of building was over, I realized there are a lot of technical and mechanical components that contribute in the building of the seemingly smallest things.  Although the prototype I made does not do its purpose of desalinating water, it does clean the water.  I think this is a good first step, and when the nanoporous graphene comes into full scale production the filter will do its proper job of desalination.  For now, I am very pleased that I was able to build a relatively inexpensive prototype (I estimated it cost around $15-$20).

Process - Stages of Pump

Klara Ingersoll

Climate change, caused by carbon emission into the atmosphere and a thickened ozone layer is warming the temperature of the globe. This is causing the ocean temperature to get warmer as well.

Hurricanes are able to increase their intensity and become more damaging when they hover over hot spots in the ocean. If the ocean surface temperature is 25.6 degrees C than a hurricane can pick up wind speed and intensity. The worst hurricanes the U.S has experienced in the past century have been so bad because they picked up speed in the hot spots in the Gulf of Mexico.

If we can cool these hot spots before hurricanes travels over them, hurricanes will lose speed/intensity as oppose to gaining it. This will prevent storms to reach a such high intensity, preventing billions of dollars lost in damage cost and save many lives.

We started by researching hurricanes and determining our problem. We looked at the “Salters drain” that already existed, which moved cold water on top to the bottom. We then sketched multiple ideas for water movement, a drain and a pump. After making rough prototypes for each we settled on the pump idea because the drain was not efficient enough, and we didn’t even know if it was effective at all. Moving forward with the pump we started with a plastic bottle shape and then built off of that, adding a piston that moves up and down with a one way valve. We then added a divertor off the top to direct the water equally in all directions. We went through many prototypes because we struggled to get a prototype that would pump enough water.

Giancarlo simulated some scenarios for us and we found out that the only way the pump would work is if we used water that was around 23.5°C and if we could get it to travel 2.5 feet per second or faster.

We think that when this is put to scale this prototype will be successful. We can’t be one hundred percent sure because we did not have a way to simulate the waves how they appear in the ocean, but we are happy with the product that we made in the two week time span. We think that our general design can be applied to build a pump that would work on a full scale and reduce hurricane severity.


Max Ingersoll

Kate had designed a large cone shaped diverter, but when we tried pumping water with it attached not enough water got out and it was too heavy. We wanted to design a device that spread the water out equally when it exited the top. We cut off the bottom of the old diverter making a very small cone, which we attached to the top with a wire.