A magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011 in the northeastern coast, near Tokyo. The 2008 Sichuan earthquake was a massive 8.0, releasing about 15 megatons (of TNT) or 63.1 petajoules of energy equivalent. At 9.0, it is 474 megatons or 31 times that. (Wikipedia) Given Japan’s relatively earthquake-proof buildings, the resulting tsunami is what causing most of the damage. Japan’s foreign ministry has announced 69 governments pledging support as of today. China’s rescue team has also arrived with personnel and equipment to help find survivors. I just want to take this opportunity to offer condolences to the Japanese people. I was also moved today to see a group of volunteers at a local Chinese grocery store collecting donations for Japan. Some of them represented the The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. U.S. citizens can make tax-deductible donations to them through here. A summary of the earthquake situation can be found here.