We'll get back to astronomy tomorrow. Today I want to add my voice to the chorus of those asking for donations to help the people of Haiti after the devastation of the major earthquake there.
The first few days after a disaster are the most crucial in terms of saving lives. Medicine, water, personnel, and recovery equipment need to move in quickly. However, many aid organizations are strapped for money due to the ongoing economic downturn and corresponding drop in monetary donations. In short, money is needed, and it is needed now.
Please consider giving money to a reputable aid organization that has people on the ground in Haiti (while other aid agencies may want to help, it is currently very difficult for new people to get into the country). Some of the groups in such a position are (U.S. affiliates are listed):
- American Red Cross: Donate through their website: http://www.redcross.org or text "HAITI" to 90999 for a $10 instant donation that will appear on your next cell phone bill.
- UNICEF USA: the United Nations Children's Fund, http://www.unicefusa.org
- Doctors Without Borders: http://doctorswithoutborders.org
I purposefully did not include HTML links in the list above as a reminder to be cautious. In times of disaster, many disreputable people will try and take advantage of human generosity. Such scams can include providing links to websites that look legitimate, but are really scam sites. When making donations, ALWAYS double-check URLs and make sure you are on the real site, even if you are entering a site from a blog or email you trust. If you are not convinced you are on the right website, consider calling or mailing your donation. Again, just be cautious.
Please help, both now and in the future. The window for saving lives is short, and the rebuilding process will take years.