I live in Southern California so I'm always on the lookout for foolproof earthquake detectors. There's one described on the Channel NewsAsia website today:
"SNAKES ON A (TECTONIC) PLATE! BEIJING – Forget the quake experts. How are the snakes behaving? Two days after tremors in Taiwan knocked the digital world off its axis, state media revealed China has come up with its own system to predict the next big one. In it, snakes take centrestage. "Of all the creatures on Earth, snakes are perhaps the most sensitive to earthquakes," said Mr Jiang Weisong, director of the earthquake bureau in Nanning, southern China. He claimed that they could sense an earthquake 120 km away, three to five days before it happens. "When an earthquake is about to occur, snakes will move out of their nests, even in the cold of winter," he said. "If the earthquake is a big one, the snakes will even smash into walls while trying to escape." So, the bureau now monitors snakes at local snake farms via a 24-hour video feed linked to an Internet connection."
How it works, I guess, is, if the picture of the snakes disappears, that means the cable's out, and that means there's earthquake damage heading your way.