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Protecting New Orleans from rising water levels

New Orleans, Louisiana

This is a placeholder blogpost. The article is to be written

New Orleans canal gates flood control

Map: Google Maps. Photos by Mary Grace McKernan; infographic: by Marc Fusco.


New Orleans Lake Pontchartrain Elevation map to Mississippi River

Image by Midnightcomm for Wikipedia, public domain.


Apps & Interactive graphics

Louisiana’s Sea Level Is Rising: SeaLevelRise.org



Fortified But Still In Peril, New Orleans Braces for Its Future: In the years after Hurricane Katrina, over 350 miles of levees, flood walls, gates and pumps came to encircle greater New Orleans. Experts say that is not enough.

By John Schwartz and Mark Schleifstein, 2/24/2018

Fortified But Still In Peril, New Orleans Braces for Its Future

After a $14-Billion Upgrade, New Orleans’ Levees Are Sinking. Sea level rise and ground subsidence will render the flood barriers inadequate in just four years. By Thomas Frank, E&E News, Scientific American, 4/11,/2019

After a $14-Billion Upgrade, New Orleans’ Levees Are Sinking. Scientific American

Rising Sea Levels May Limit New Orleans Adaptation Efforts. New Orleans sees that even modern engineering cannot eliminate flooding risk. By Emily Holden, ClimateWire on September 10, 2015. Scientific American.

Rising Sea Levels May Limit New Orleans Adaptation Efforts. Scientific American

Fortified but still in peril, New Orleans braces for its future: Our Drowning Coast. By Mark Schleifstein | Posted February 24, 2018.

Fortified but still in peril, New Orleans braces for its future

Rising sea to displace 500,000 New Orleans area residents, study says; see where they might go. By Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. 4/20/2017.

A study published this week (April 2017) predicts that sea level rise will push hundreds of thousands of people out of U.S. coastal cities such as New Orleans. It says the population will boom in nearby inland cities such as Austin. The University of Georgia study is considered the first detailed look at how inland cities might be affected by sea level rise. It estimates more than than 500,000 people will flee the seven-parish New Orleans area by 2100 due to sea level rise and the problems that come with it, including frequent flooding and greater exposure to storm surges. That’s more than one third of metro New Orleans’s current population…. Across the United States, the study estimates, 13 million people will be displaced by sea level rise under a scenario in which some efforts are taken to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise. The biggest draw, it predicts, will be Austin, gaining 600,00 to 800,000 people on top of the metro area’s current estimated population of 2.1 million. Other inland cities likely to grow substantially include Orlando, Fla., Atlanta and Phoenix.

Rising sea to displace 500,000 New Orleans area residents, study says. NOLA.com

Migration induced by sea-level rise could reshape the US population landscape
Mathew E. Hauer. Nature Climate Change volume 7, pages 321–325 (2017)

Many sea-level rise (SLR) assessments focus on populations presently inhabiting vulnerable coastal communities, but to date no studies have attempted to model the destinations of these potentially displaced persons. With millions of potential future migrants in heavily populated coastal communities, SLR scholarship focusing solely on coastal communities characterizes SLR as primarily a coastal issue, obscuring the potential impacts in landlocked communities created by SLR-induced displacement. Here I address this issue by merging projected populations at risk of SLR with migration systems simulations to project future destinations of SLR migrants in the United States. I find that unmitigated SLR is expected to reshape the US population distribution, potentially stressing landlocked areas unprepared to accommodate this wave of coastal migrants—even after accounting for potential adaptation. These results provide the first glimpse of how climate change will reshape future population distributions and establish a new foundation for modelling potential migration destinations from climate stressors in an era of global environmental change.

Migration induced by sea-level rise could reshape the US population landscape (Nature, science journal)



Catapult and Trebuchet build project

catapult is any one of a number of non-handheld mechanical devices used to throw a projectile a great distance without the aid of an explosive substance—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines.

Catapult and Trebuchet.png

The name is the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek καταπέλτης – katapeltes, from κατά – kata (downwards, into, against) and πάλλω – pallo (to poise or sway a missile before it is thrown.) [from Wikipedia]

Ideas on how to build them at home

KnightForHire: How to build simple catapults


Today’s Latin lesson:

“Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt.”
( “When catapults are outlawed, only outlaws will have catapults.” )

“Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam”
( “I have a catapult. Give me all your money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.” )

If you lived in the Dark Ages, and you were a catapult operator, I bet the most common question people would ask is, ‘Can’t you make it shoot farther?’ No. I’m sorry. That’s as far as it shoots.”
– Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts, Saturday Night Live

Build an onager, ballista or trebuchet.

Grading rubric. The project is worth 100 points.

Timeliness: Late projects lose 5 points per day.

A. Catapults use torsion (energy stored in a twisted rope or other material.) Do not merely use a stretched elastic (e.g. rubber band.)

If you build a trebuchet then you will need to use a pivoting beam and a counterweight.

B. It will have some kind of trigger or switch. (Without such a trigger, you would merely have a large slingshot.)

C. The payload range will be nearly constant (each payload lands within 15% of the other payloads.)

D. It will have adjustable firing: One setting will yield a shorter range (at least 4 feet.), while another setting yields a longer range (at least 8 feet.)

E. The weight limit is 10 pounds.

F. The longest allowable dimensions of height, length and width are 50 centimeters for each.


100 points Machine built according to the above characteristics

– 20 points Minimum range is not met.

– 20 points Too large or too heavy.

– 10 points Firing range is not adjustable.

– 10 points Uses a stretched elastic material (e.g. rubber band) as the only source of power. (Not applicable for trebuchets, of course.)

– 10 points No trigger.

– 5 points Payload range is not constant

Catapult animations

Redstone projects.com: Catapult animations

trebuchet gif


Mad science

Yup, we’re planning a lesson on real-life mad scientists and their actually-plausible mad science inventions. Because of course.

Mad Science

Nikola Tesla

Tesla and wireless power transmission


Project Habbakuk

Project Habbakuk: Britain’s secret attempt to build an ice warship. CNN.

Project Habbakuk: Britain’s Secret Ice “Bergship” Aircraft Carrier Project. 99percentinvisible.org

Project Habakkuk (Wikipedia)

Project Orion

Our SpaceFlight Heritage: Project Orion, a nuclear bomb and rocket – all in one.

Project Orion

Realistic Designs: Atomic Rockets

Project Orion. Medium.com

Extreme Engineering

Extreme Engineering: Tokyo’s Sky City, Transatlantic Tunnel, and the Space Elevator


The Mad Genius Mystery, Alexander Grothendieck

Learning Standards

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

2016 High School Technology/Engineering

HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify a design problem that can be improved. Determine necessary qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions, including any requirements set by society.

HS-ETS1-2. Break a complex real-world problem into smaller, more manageable problems that each can be solved using scientific and engineering principles.

HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, aesthetics, and maintenance, as well as social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-ETS1-5(MA). Plan a prototype or design solution using orthographic projections and isometric drawings, using proper scales and proportions.

Next Generation Science Standards: Science & Engineering Practices

● Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
● Ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.
● Ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.
● Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant.
● Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of the design

Francis Cabot Lowell and the industrial revolution

Before the 1760s, textile production was a cottage industry using mainly flax and wool. A typical weaving family would own one hand loom, which would be operated by the man with help of a boy; the wife, girls and other women could make sufficient yarn for that loom.

The knowledge of textile production had existed for centuries. India had a textile industry that used cotton, from which it manufactured cotton textiles. When raw cotton was exported to Europe it could be used to make fustian.

Two systems had developed for spinning: the simple wheel, which used an intermittent process and the more refined, Saxony wheel which drove a differential spindle and flyer with a heck that guided the thread onto the bobbin, as a continuous process. This was satisfactory for use on hand looms, but neither of these wheels could produce enough thread for the looms after the invention by John Kay in 1734 of the flying shuttle, which made the loom twice as productive.

Cloth production moved away from the cottage into manufactories. The first moves towards manufactories called mills were made in the spinning sector. The move in the weaving sector was later. By the 1820s, all cotton, wool and worsted was spun in mills; but this yarn went to outworking weavers who continued to work in their own homes. A mill that specialised in weaving fabric was called a weaving shed.


This section has been adapted from, Textile manufacture during the British Industrial Revolution, Wikipedia

Francis Cabot Lowell

Samuel Slater had established factories in the 1790s after building textile machinery. Francis Cabot Lowell took it a step further. In 1810, Francis Cabot Lowell visited the textile mills in England. He took note of the machinery in England that was not available in the United States, and he sketched and memorized details.

Francis Cabot Lowell from Hulton Archive, Getty Images

One machine in particular, the power loom, could weave thread into cloth. He took his ideas to the United States and formed the Boston Manufacturing Company in 1812. With the money he made from this company, he built a water-powered mill. Francis Cabot Lowell is credited for building the first factory where raw cotton could be made into cloth under one roof. This process, also known as the “Waltham-Lowell System” reduced the cost of cotton. By putting out cheaper cotton, Lowell’s company quickly became successful. After Lowell brought the power loom to the United States, the new textile industry boomed. The majority of businesses in the United States by 1832 were in the textile industry.

Lowell also found a specific workforce for his textile mills. He employed single girls, daughters of New England farm families, also known as The Lowell Girls. Many women were eager to work to show their independence. Lowell found this convenient because he could pay women less wages than he would have to pay men. Women also worked more efficiently than men did, and were more skilled when it came to cotton production. This way, he got his work done efficiently, with the best results, and it cost him less. The success of the Lowell mills symbolizes the success and technological advancement of the Industrial Revolution.

– This has been excerpted from https://firstindustrialrevolution.weebly.com/the-textile-industry.html

Learning Standards

Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-ETS4-5(MA). Explain how a machine converts energy, through mechanical means, to do work. Collect and analyze data to determine the efficiency of simple and complex machines.

Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

Grade 6: HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY Interpret geographic information from a graph or chart and construct a graph or chart that conveys geographic information (e.g., about rainfall, temperature, or population size data)

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CHANGE IN EUROPE, 1800–1914 WHII.6 Summarize the social and economic impact of the Industrial Revolution… population and urban growth

Benchmarks, American Association for the Advancement of Science

In the 1700s, most manufacturing was still done in homes or small shops, using small, handmade machines that were powered by muscle, wind, or moving water. 10J/E1** (BSL)

In the 1800s, new machinery and steam engines to drive them made it possible to manufacture goods in factories, using fuels as a source of energy. In the factory system, workers, materials, and energy could be brought together efficiently. 10J/M1*

The invention of the steam engine was at the center of the Industrial Revolution. It converted the chemical energy stored in wood and coal into motion energy. The steam engine was widely used to solve the urgent problem of pumping water out of coal mines. As improved by James Watt, Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, it was soon used to move coal; drive manufacturing machinery; and power locomotives, ships, and even the first automobiles. 10J/M2*

The Industrial Revolution developed in Great Britain because that country made practical use of science, had access by sea to world resources and markets, and had people who were willing to work in factories. 10J/H1*

The Industrial Revolution increased the productivity of each worker, but it also increased child labor and unhealthy working conditions, and it gradually destroyed the craft tradition. The economic imbalances of the Industrial Revolution led to a growing conflict between factory owners and workers and contributed to the main political ideologies of the 20th century. 10J/H2

Today, changes in technology continue to affect patterns of work and bring with them economic and social consequences. 10J/H3*

Cell phone chemistry

Chemistry is everywhere – even in your phones

Article 1: “Digging for rare earths: The mines where iPhones are born. How are these unusual minerals extracted from the ground and why is that process an environmental risk? CNET’s Jay Greene explains.” – from CNet 9/26/12

Digging for rare earths: The mines where iPhones are born

Article 2: Pay dirt: Why rare-earth metals matter to tech (FAQ) It was once an obscure topic only for geologists. But China’s control over rare earth elements used in green- and high-tech equipment is causing alarm as the nation cuts exports.

Pay dirt: Why rare-earth metals matter to tech

Here is the full PDf handout:  Periodic table of iPhones (Full PDF handout)

Article 3:

Does cell phone use cause cancer?

Article 4:

Measuring data with smartphone apps

Learning Standards


ETS3. Technological Systems
7.MS-ETS3-2(MA). Compare the benefits and drawbacks of different communication systems.

7.MS-ETS3-4(MA). Show how the components of a structural system work together to serve a structural function. Provide examples of physical structures and relate their design to their intended use.

College Board Standards for College Success: Science

Objective C.2.1 Periodic Table
Students understand that the periodic table is an organizational tool that can be used for the prediction and classification of the trends and properties of elements.

C-PE.2.1.1 Predict, based on its position in the periodic table, the properties of a given main group element. Properties include appearance, electronegativity, type of bond formed, and ionic charge. Make a claim about the type (metal, nonmetal, metalloid) of the given element. Give examples of other elements that would have similar properties, and explain why they would have similar properties.

Students apply, as well as engage and reason with, the following concepts in the performance expectations:

Properties of an element can be predicted based on its placement in the periodic table. Groups of elements exhibit similar properties with predictable variations; rows of elements have predictable trends.

Elements are often classified as metals, nonmetals and metalloids

AAAS Benchmarks

All matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope. 4D/M1a
The atoms of any element are like other atoms of the same element, but are different from the atoms of other elements. 4D/M1b*

There are groups of elements that have similar properties, including highly reactive metals, less-reactive metals, highly reactive nonmetals (such as chlorine, fluorine, and oxygen), and some almost completely nonreactive gases (such as helium and neon). 4D/M6a

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards

CD.L2-07 Describe what distinguishes humans from machines, focusing on human intelligence
versus machine intelligence and ways we can communicate.
CD.L2-08 Describe ways in which computers use models of intelligent behavior (e.g., robot motion,
speech and language understanding, and computer vision).
CD.L3A-01 Describe the unique features of computers embedded in mobile devices and vehicles
(e.g., cell phones, automobiles, airplanes).
CD.L3A-10 Describe the major applications of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Common Core ELA. WHST.6-8.1 Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.


Boston and sea levels

How can we protect Boston from rising sea levels? Various proposals

I. Build a dike around the harbor

Metro Boston Dikelands: A 14 mile dike around the harbor.

A 14-mile dike could protect Greater Boston from sea level rise. The barrier would run from Cohasset to Swampscott

…The metropolitan Boston estuary is uniquely different from many others around the nation. It is protected on its flanks by the shoulder highlands of Swampscott and Cohasset. The Metro Boston DikeLANDS proposal takes advantage of the estuary’s unique geological characteristics.

Metro Boston Dikelands Dike

We propose building a 14-mile dike barrier between the shoulder highlands of Cohasset and Swampscott. The dike would be located some eight miles out from Deer Island, complete with residential and commercial developments, windmills, solar collector farms, and recreational areas.

A simple dike barrier with a 200-foot-wide top and reaching 120 feet from seafloor to storm-surge top would require some 246 million cubic yards of material. Bi-directional locks could provide access for all crafts, protecting Boston’s commercial activity and its waterfront integrity.

The new dike system will prevent storm tides from inundating the entire metropolitan estuary while allowing rivers to discharge their water into a harbor reservoir capable of holding more than 10 billion gallons of river-fed water… By lowering the reservoir level to half the current tidal range, the cherished Boston Harbor Islands and their recreational potential would be protected.

At a cost of $100 per cubic yard, with two bi-directional shipping locks of $500 million each (plus soft and contingency costs), this macro-engineering and macro-economic project would probably cost between $30 billion and $50 billion. The 200-foot wide top of the 14-mile stretch would create 68 acres of new dike lands, which in turn would need to be supported by a complete infrastructure system of water, sewer, electricity, and transportation …

The project could help pay for itself if the newly-created, flat-top area of the dike, amounting to some 68 acres, was sold as waterfront property at between $3 and $7 million per acre. That would raise between $100 billion and $400 billion (after return on invested capital)

Source: 14-mile dike could protect Greater Boston from sea level rise, Commonwealth Magazine, Jan 2018, Peter Papesch, Franziska Amacher and A. Vernon Woodworth, members of the Boston Society of Architects

Plan details Metro-Boston-Dike-Barrier.pdf


II. Climate Ready Boston: Planning three possible harbor dikes

The team, led by Paul Kirshen, a professor of climate adaptation at UMass’ School for the Environment, is weighing three harbor barrier configurations. The barrier study was recommended in the city’s Climate Ready Boston report.

The smallest would connect Logan Airport in East Boston with Castle Island in South Boston, protecting the city’s inner harbor and downtown from tidal flooding.

The medium-sized solution is a barrier from Deer Island, in the harbor, to Quincy, which would wall off all of Boston’s neighborhoods.

The largest of the proposed harbor barriers would protect not just Boston, but also Weymouth, Hingham, Quincy and Hull.

Boston Harbor Dike barrier proposals


III. Resilient Boston Harbor

Learn about our climate-ready vision to enhance Boston’s waterfront. We want to protect Boston’s neighborhoods from sea level rise and flooding due to climate change.

Adapted infrastructure: Elevated roadways, strengthened seawalls, and flood barriers.

Protective Waterfront parks: Waterfronts include living shorelines, beaches, elevated parks, and access to water transportation.

Boston protective waterfront parks sea level

Elevated harborwalks: By improving elevation and access, we can use our harborwalk system to protect against floods.

Boston sea level elevated Harborwalks


IV. Make parts of Boston a city of canals

From the Urban Land Institute of Boston/New England’s “The Urban Implications of Living with Water”

Boston: The urban implications of living with water. Urban land institute

With the future unclear about exactly when the full impacts of sea level rise will occur, designing now for flexibility and the ability to adapt becomes critical. For example, with major street sections to be rebuilt, the typical 60 or 75 foot cross-section can be planned to be able to change when conditions warrant.

The goal is to provide for current urban linkages across the district without limiting the ability to accommodate future needs. Such needs could take the form of green infrastructure or surface channels to move water safely and quickly back to the ocean.

Build canals through Boston’s Back Bay

Canals in Boston Back Bay

A street view of what this could look like

Boston canal Michael Wang, Arlen Stawasz, and Dennis Carlberg

Report offers ideas for a Boston beset by rising seas Envisions canals, fortifications. Boston Globe, 2014

V. As done in the past, raise the level of parts of Boston

Can lessons from Boston’s landfill, 250 years ago, help Boston deal with sea level rise today?

Alex Wilson, in A Bold Idea for Addressing Sea Level Rise, writes

… I was struck by the realization that 250 years ago Boston was an island, connected by just a single land-bridge …there must have been a fairly massive effort to build the current land base of Boston. Might strategic land-building be an option for us as we are forced over the next century to address sea level rise as global warming melts the huge ice masses in Greenland and Antarctica?

…Rising seas are making life increasingly difficult in low-lying portions of dozens of U.S. cities today. The journal Nature Climate Change published a paper projecting the number of people in coastal regions of the U.S. who would be affected by sea level rise of 0.9 meters (3 feet) and 1.8 meters (5 feet). Unlike previous assessments of impact, this study considered not only current populations, but also projected population growth in these regions.

Sea level rise impact by state
Populations in U.S. states that would be affected by 0.9 and 1.8 meter sea level rise.

Source: Nature Climate Change paper, “Millions Projected To Be At Risk From Sea-Level Rise in the Continental United States,” by Matthew Hauer, et. al., published online March 14, 2016.

By the year 2100, U.S. residents affected by 0.9 m and 1.8 m sea level rise would total 1.46 million and 3.85 million, respectively. Factoring in projected population growth in these regions, however, the number of people affected increases to 4.31 million and 13.1 million, respectively.

Can lessons from Boston’s landfill, 250 years ago, help with sea level rise today?

The comprehensive book, Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston, by Nancy S. Seasholes, describes more than three centuries of effort to the Boston area to create new land and raise the elevation of existing land.

Beginning fairly early in Boston’s history—certainly by the 1700s—there was a massive effort to fill in the tidal flats around Boston. These efforts ultimately created some 5,250 acres of new land in Boston, East Boston, and Charlestown. In other areas, the land was significantly raised with fill. The original peninsula of Boston, known as Shawmut by the Native Americans, was just 487 acres. Today, merged with surrounding land, it is many times that size.

…Boston’s well-known Back Bay region was originally the back bay of the Charles River—an extensive estuary on the western side of the Shawmut Peninsula. The Fenway and Fenway Park (the Boston Red Sox’s home stadium) get their names from the fens or bogs in the area. It was only after extensive filling that building here was possible.

Logan Airport was open water in the 1930s. Today it is part of the extensive new land in East Boston.

I haven’t seen estimates of the amount of fill been used in Greater Boston over the last three centuries. If one assumes an average fill of six feet over the 5,250 acres of made land, that would total roughly 1.4 billion cubic feet or 50 million cubic yards.

I was particularly intrigued to learn in Gaining Ground that not only was new land made on the tidal flats of Boston, but in some places the elevation of existing land was raised. In the Church Street and Suffolk Street Districts (new Bay Village and Castle Square), sewage back-up was a problem in the mid-1800s, because there wasn’t enough pitch to the sewers (which no doubt dumped into the Bay).

The solution was to elevate the land and the buildings that were located there. In the 1860s, the City decided to raise the grade of the entire District. They would fill basements and abandon them, elevate buildings on cribbing and build new foundations beneath them.

On Church Street, starting in July 1868, the City hired contractors to bring in more than 150,000 cubic yards of fill and elevate 296 brick buildings by as much as 14 feet and 56 wooden buildings by as much as 17 feet. Remarkably (by today’s standards), this work was virtually completed by October 1869—ahead of schedule and under budget.

Church Street elevating 1868 Boston_Public_Library

A similar project was carried out in the Suffolk Street District starting in July 1870 and being completed by the end of 1872. Nearly 250,000 yards of fill were brought in, and 600 buildings were elevated—also under budget.

Boston isn’t alone in having seen extensive landmaking over the centuries. In Manhattan, several thousand acres of land were created using fill, and more than 3,000 acres were created in Chicago. But nowhere in the U.S. has the landmaking been as extensive as in Boston.

What this suggests about our long-term response to rising sea levels is that we shouldn’t rule out the idea of raising the grade in our most important cities. I was astounded to learn just how significant the earthmoving was centuries ago; with today’s equipment and engineering prowess, one can imagine raising a low-lying city by tens of feet.

Of course, there would be huge challenges and tremendous costs with such an initiative, not to mention environmental risks. Our buildings are bigger than those in Boston were in the 1860s; they are closer together and more complex. Our infrastructure—streets and highways, bridges, sewers, power grids, pipelines—are tremendously complex. And, we’re much more conscious of ecological damage today than we were 150 years ago.

But consider the alternative. Are we ready to abandon cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charlestown? It could well be easier to raise a city than to move it. And we will have to figure this out before the end of this century. I don’t know if raising the elevation of our low-lying cities will make sense, but I think we should begin that discussion.

We can start by looking at past experience, and Gaining Ground provides a good starting point in doing so. In some cases, it may be possible to fill in basements, compacting the fill to equalize the pressure on the outside of those walls, and turn first floors into basements—essentially eliminating an occupied floor of a building.

In other cases, entire buildings may have to be elevated and new foundations built on compacted fill 15 or 20 feet higher. Streets would have to be covered and rebuilt on fill. Very challenging will be the need for such modifications to be coordinated on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. You can’t raise one building 20 feet and not do anything with the building next door.

This would be an extraordinarily complex process in terms of phasing, implementation, and environmental protection. But it’s time to take sea level rise seriously and begin looking at our options. Raising land mass may be one such option.

Source: Alex Wilson, Resilientdesign.org, A bold idea for addressing sea level rise,  Mar 28, 2016


Boston underwater: How the rising sea levels will affect the city

Underwater: How the rising sea levels will affect various cities

Massachusetts Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer

http://climateactiontool.org: Sea level rise Massachusetts

– and Intro: Massachusetts Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Viewer

Sea Level Rise Viewer NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Surging Seas RISK ZONE MAP

Explore the spatial data used in Climate Ready Boston – This app allows you to learn more about the data layers used in the Climate Ready Boston recommendations for protecting our City from a changing climate, and helps you better understand how projections are influencing resiliency solutions. Read the introduction to this interactive tool.


How Boston’s Preparing For Rising Sea Levels By Anaridis Rodriguez, WBZ-TV

Climate Ready Boston is an initiative to develop resilient solutions to prepare our City for climate change.

Greenovate Boston: Carbon Free Boston is an initiative to prepare the City to go carbon neutral by 2050.

Sasaki : Sea Change Boston. Designing in the Face of Climate Change– Sasaki is a global design firm specializing in architecture, planning, urban design, landscape architecture.

Wall to protect Boston from flooding would cost up to $12 billion to build. MassLive.com

A much-anticipated new report on how best to protect the Seaport District and other Boston neighborhoods from the effects of climate change finds that the cost to build a massive, multibillion-dollar wall in Boston Harbor is not worth the benefits.

Instead, it finds that the city of Boston and other coastal cities and towns should focus on more localized projects to counteract the flooding and higher sea levels wrought by global warming, said the report… “Right now, it doesn’t make sense for the city to consider any kind of harborwide barrier system,” said the report’s lead investigator, Paul Kirshen of UMass Boston’s Sustainable Solutions Lab. “It doesn’t make sense for decades, if not ever.” The report was sponsored by the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, a coalition of business and civic leaders formed more than a decade ago to help the city address climate change

… Either barrier could cut down on coastal flooding without significantly disrupting shipping or the environment, according to the report. But “shore-based” solutions, as the researchers call them, can provide the same level of protection at a cost of just $1 billion to $2 billion, with additional benefits to boot, Kershen told reporters Tuesday. Shore-based systems could include flood walls on a much smaller scale than a harborwide barrier, changes to zoning laws, and the raising of land using berms, among other projects.

Data articles

Boston Sea Level data

Sea Level Rise has Accelerated

Learning Standards

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-ESS2-6. Use a model to describe cycling of carbon through the ocean, atmosphere, soil, and biosphere and how increases in carbon dioxide concentrations due to human activity have resulted in atmospheric and climate changes.

HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of key natural resources and changes due to variations in climate have influenced human activity.

HS-LS2-7. Analyze direct and indirect effects of human activities on biodiversity and ecosystem health, specifically habitat fragmentation, introduction of non-native or invasive species, overharvesting, pollution, and climate change. Evaluate and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on biodiversity and ecosystem health.*

High School Technology/Engineering

HS-ETS1-1. Analyze a major global challenge to specify a design problem that can be improved. Determine necessary qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for
solutions, including any requirements set by society.*

HS-ETS1-2. Break a complex real-world problem into smaller, more manageable problems that each can be solved using scientific and engineering principles.*

HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, aesthetics, and maintenance, as well as social, cultural, and environmental impacts.*

Hovercraft build project

Hovercraft project

Kelvin Hovercraft Kit

From Kelvin Educational

I. Build and demonstrate a hovercraft, or

II. Write a typed report, with a cover page, 3 double-spaced pages of text, and 1 page of citations/references, on what a hovercraft is, how they work, and how they use Newton’s laws of motion, or

III. Create a computer presentation on what a hovercraft is, how they work, and how they use Newton’s laws of motion. Present it to the class.

You may use software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, OpenOffice Impress, Corel Presentations, or any other software you like. All of these programs are very similar. OpenOffice is a package of programs very much like MS Office, but totally free. http://www.openoffice.org/

The entire project may be found in this document: TO BE ADDED

How to build your own hovercraft

Photos from a hovercraft project

Build a remote control hovercraft!

Can a hovercraft go up the walls?

A simple to build project

Mod your toy helicopter; turn it into a hovercraft

Kelvin Educational Kits

Kelvin Educational online catalog

EGR 100 — Hovercraft Design Project: College freshmen majoring in engineering build and design hovercrafts


Hovercraft calculator – used only for building larger hovercraft that can actually carry passengers.


Learning Standards

2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework

HS-ETS4-5(MA). Explain how a machine converts energy, through mechanical means, to do work. Collect and analyze data to determine the efficiency of simple and complex machines.

HS-PS3-3. Design and evaluate a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
• Emphasis is on both qualitative and quantitative evaluations of devices.
• Examples of devices could include Rube Goldberg devices, wind turbines, solar cells, solar ovens, and generators.

Appendix VIII Value of Crosscutting Concepts and Nature of Science in Curricula
Cause and Effect: Mechanism and Explanation. Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science and engineering is investigating and explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts or design solutions.

College Board Standards for College Success: Science
Standard PS.1 Interactions, Forces and Motion
Changes in the natural and designed world are caused by interactions. Interactions of an object with other objects can be described by forces that can cause a change in motion of one or both interacting objects. Students understand that the term “interaction” is used to describe causality in science: Two objects interact when they act on or influence each other to cause some effect. Students understand that observable objects, changes and events occur in consistent patterns that are comprehensible through careful, systematic investigations.

Next Generation Science Standards: Science – Engineering Design (6-8)
• Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.