While seismologists try to perfect the science of predicting earthquakes, those who live in particularly vulnerable areas might want to invest in a Quakeawake. The small alarm claims to give a 30-second warning by responding to the low-frequency sound waves that precede temblors.
"Every earthquake causes two separate types of seismic shock waves," says Dave Elston of California Quakeawake Inc., Century City. "The first, weaker wave moves very fast, ahead of the second, more powerful, more destructive wave. The alarm senses the first wave so you can protect yourself from the second wave."
The battery-powered Quakeawake is $35 from Hammacher Schlemmer, (800) 543-3366.
You don't need an alarm to alert you to falling leaves. A look out the window will do. You may, however, need a remedy for blisters after a day of raking. Or you may want to try garden tools with comfortable, cushion-grip handles called Gard 'n' Grip. They're made by True Temper of Camp Hill, Pa.
The company says in tests against regular wood handled tools, Gard 'n' Grip caused 50% fewer blisters and required 38% less effort from the forearms. A boon for the elderly or the physically compromised.