News Alarm [blog.blprnt.com] is a physical computing device that sounds a 85dB alarm when specific news stories are detected 'off the wire' of The New York Times. The tracked news data is based on the recently released New York Times NewsWire API, an up-to-the-minute stream of published items at The Times and The International Herald Tribune.
The project consists of hacking an off-the-shelf smoke detector and connecting it with Arduino to a Processing application that connects to the API. The application is currently configured to sound if more than 50% of the NYTimes headlines contain the word 'aliens'. As the author puts it: "You never know... right?"
I guess it would make real sense as a low-cost alert for tsunamis.