turns out node can do some amazingly cool stuff. what most people have heard about is it's pretty good at handling high load situations. slightly less well known are the benefits of using the same code to render HTML in the server as is used to render HTML in AJAXy client apps running in a browser.
ultimately though, it's just a lot of fun to program apps with node.
so... to help spread the node.js gospel, i put together a virtual box appliance you can use to try it out without the fuss of having to download and compile the core packages yourself. i also added mongodb (and the node driver) to the image so you can play with persistence.
anyway... you can find more detailed info over at the node appliance page on my site. it's not a small download, but the time you lose in the download is more than made up for by the time you save by not having to configure it yourself.
you can find more information about node at the official node website (complete with docs!) and tim caswell's "how to node" site. you can keep up with the node community by following the #nodejs hashtag on twitter, visiting nodejs.se or dropping in on the #nodejs IRC channel.