The horrible and heartbreaking events in Japan present a strange "concatenation" (connected or linked in a series or chain) of disasters. First, the planet unleashed one of its primordial shocks, an earthquake, of a magnitude greater than any previously recorded in Japan. The earthquake, in turn, created a colossal tsunami, which, when it struck the country's northeastern shores, pulverized everything in its path, forming a filthy wave made of mud, cars, buildings, houses, airplanes and other debris. In part because the earthquake had just lowered the level of land by two feet, the wave rolled as far as six miles inland, killing thousands of people. In a stupefying demonstration of its power, as the New York Times has reported, the earthquake moved parts of Japan thirteen feet eastward, slightly shifted the earth's axis and actually shortened each day that passes on earth, if only by 1.8 milliseconds. But this was not all: Another shock soon followed. Succumbing to one the one-two punch of the earthquake and the tsunami, eleven of Japan's fifty-four nuclear power reactors were shut down. At this writing, three of them have lost coolant to their cores and have experienced partial meltdowns.