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How to Make a Very Loud News Alarm

Jer Thorp's News Alarm

Artist and educator Jer Thorp has done something extraordinary and absurd—he’s wired a smoke alarm to his computer and set it to go off if the New York Times Newswire registers something catastrophic

It’s all because of a nagging feeling we can all relate to: “When I check news websites in the morning,” Thorp writes at his blog, blprnt, “somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspect that the world might have caught on fire while I was asleep.”

Thorp’s news alarm tutorial is almost as delightful as the back and forth in the comment section:

Commenter: While I applaud your ingenuity, I must raise the question as to whether it’s wise to use a smoke alarm as the alert signal. Smoke alarms have a distinctive, fairly-unique alarm sound that has so far been reserved for the event of smoke or fire. Using this sound for another purpose diminishes its capacity to do its intended purpose effectively.

Thorp: This is an art project. Quite frankly, you’d have to be insane to want an 85 dB alarm telling you when news has arrived.