My good deed for the week

Desperate for a mocha on the way home, I ended up stopping at the 86th St. Barnes and Noble last night and grabbed the only available seat, next to a frazzled-looking girl arguing on a cell phone. She apologized to me once she hung up, saying she was stressed about a grad school exam for journalism, heavy on the essays. I mentioned that I’d just taken a GRE course with a great essay section, and ended up spending an hour and a half walking her through one mock essay after another, calming her down and trying to get her to absorb the basic structure instead of just tackling each thesis on its own, so she’d have that flexibility for the test. Definitely not how I planned to spend my evening, but I hope it helps her get in!

Google Earth

I tried Google Earth beta last night, with mixed results. The level of resolution detail and information seems to vary massively based on country: I was able to get a detailed view of my apartment building, the seminary, my parents’ house, my step-granny’s apartment, the house where I grew up (with such detail that I could pick out which trees I had climbed as a kid!), and my elementary school (although my middle school was mislabeled, grr!), but when I tried to search overseas, I ran into minor problems like, oh, the fact that only London and Glasgow are visible for the British Isles, so I couldn’t get a view of Edinburgh no matter how I tried to coax the program. Similarly, the resolution for Israel is terrible, and aside from one marker for “Yerushalayim,” there are no cities labelled, and certainly no streets. The resolution was so bad I couldn’t even wing it by finding the Old City and guesstimating from there. I’m wondering if that’s a terrorist thing or just a question of which countries are participating in the beta by offering satellite footage and map overlays. But it’s amazing how the “green line” shows up when you’re looking at satellite footage: Israel wasn’t labeled, I just double-clicked the green patch on the edge of a wide swatch of desert, and Bob’s your uncle. Very cool. But it would have been nice to thumbtack the Ephrata school or Dostrovsky street, or at least scope out the Tayelet. Maybe when it gets beyond the beta stage.

On a totally unrelated matter, I know if you’re on a moving transport like a cart, subway, or train, you should stop and get out to pray. But is there a ruling on what to do if you do not have time to stop, and it’s a choice between praying in motion or not praying at all?