One thing missing when you see the earth upon opening GE is the lack of any clouds. This link will open a KML file which downloads the latest view from space of clouds for the entire earth. The satellite photo is usually only minutes old, so the coulds are pretty close to real-time. The image file is about 450K, but those of you who use Google Earth probably have the bandwidth.
I keep this “Global Cloud Map” in My Places for a quick look at what kind of weather is out there.
[EDIT: 9/26/05 - This link stopped working, so I've found a new improved Global Cloud map which you can find here]