Help_Japan on LiveJournal, along the same model as Help_Haiti etc. An auction where people offer things and other people bid on them, and the winning bidders donate directly to aid orgs and the offerors fulfill the bids. No money changes hands between offeror and bidder unless shipping costs are figured in, but that's at the discretion of the individual offerors. The comm is also collecting links to charities and of news value here.
I have four auctions up. Bidding is open, and the comm is still open to new listings. The auction will be open for new offerings through the 26th and will close bidding on March 31st.
Custom yarn or Corriedale spinning fiber offer - 2 100g skeins of wool/nylon sock or superwash worsted or 12oz of fiber.
2 skeins of 2ply New Zealand Gottland wool in natural grey. (I've decided to match this donation myself to NZ earthquake relief.)
Autographed Equus playbill, signed by Richard Griffiths.
Knitted dumpling toys, catnip optional.
And some links I've collected from friends, etc.
Global Voices Online - Waiting for the right moment to help - this is addressed to people who could conceivably get up and drive to the affected areas, etc, but I think it's worthwhile to think about what it says regardless. Aid efforts have to be coordinated to be useful.
Oregon Live blog - Helping Japan: how your knitting can (and can't) help. - I pretty much agree, so I'm putting this here. I've seen a lot of people eager to knit for Japan and I know that impulse too. It's a generous one and it's not coming from just knitters but all sorts of people who feel helpless and that cash is not enough. Still, misguided or unfocused assistance can cause more difficulties than it alleviates and it can divert energy that eventually goes nowhere instead of into actual assistance. Which is actually what the previous article was kind of saying. So really, my plea is that we all be thoughtful about giving and whether or not we're actually helping, or if we're making more work.
AsiaJin blog - lots of interesting content about internet efforts since the disaster began.
MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub - There's a lot of scaremongering about the nuclear power plants, as well as misinformation, truncated information, etc. (including the jerk who spread the fake nuclear fallout map). This blog is updating regularly with more information as they get it, but of the greatest value to me was the first post at the bottom explaining how reactors of this type work. The entire blog is useful, however, in explaining and contextualizing the actual information, rather than saying "radiation contamination" and leaving us to wonder if things are going to start glowing in the dark.
Scientific American - Radiation's Complications: Pinning Health Problems on a Nuclear Disaster Isn't So Easy This article is talking about Chernobyl and is interesting in its own right, but it's additionally topical now of course. For another interesting read, check out The worst nuclear plant accident in history: Live from Chernobyl.
ShelterBox - they're not taking directed donations, but they are on the ground in Japan working to get their boxes to the critical areas. I'm posting this here because I'd never heard of it before this event, and it's fascinating what they're doing.
I know some people want their money to go to whatever cause they specify. I'm comfortable with MSF/Doctors Without Borders being my "go to" charity in situations like this even without a directed donation set up. I'm not so picky as long as it's an organization I trust to actually spend the money wisely instead of eat it up in administrative costs. There's so much need, after all. New Zealand and China are both still recovering from recent earthquakes. Haiti is still trying to recover, and there's no lack of disasters both natural and human created before or since. CharityNavigator is helpful when making choices as well as weeding out potential scams.