Vehicles float in the city streets, in the tsunami waters following the earthquake. Second Life users are well-known for their generosity, donating and raising hundreds of thousands of US Dollars every year for worthy charities, such as breast-cancer research in the Second Life Relay-For-Life.

Linden Lab, Second Life’s operator, is providing a set of special collectibles to raise additional funds for disaster relief in Japan and the Pacific, after the terrible events of yesterday.

As you may know, the area around Japan rests on a constantly shifting pair of tectonic plates, and while there are lesser earthquakes accompanying the constant motion, approximately every 80 years, there is a severe quake as the plates suddenly snap to new positions to relieve pressure.

The last time this happened was in the 1930s, and the next big quake was about on schedule yesterday. Fortunately, the Hanshin/Kobe earthquake in 1995 (a 6.8) reminded people to be prepared. Many building and engineering designs and disaster-readiness plans helped mitigate the damage, but an 8.9 magnitude quake was vastly more than could have been reasonably prepared for, and the damage is immense, and compounded by aftershocks.

Linden Lab is releasing new, special-edition Linden Bears (a long-standing collectible item, each one usually representing a staff member and normally given away freely). The special bears sell for L$300, L$1,000 and L$3,000 (roughly US$1.10, US$3.70 and US$11.30). Linden Lab has virtually zero costs involved in making them available, and all proceeds will be forwarded to the American Red Cross funds for Japan and Pacific disaster relief.

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