It would be handy if the page you were on would do some AJAX magic and tell you if you received any new Alerts without having to refresh.
For example, you're browsing a thread. You have no Alerts showing in red at the top of the page.
You finish reading the thread and scroll up to the top.
TADAH! 3 new alerts in the time you spent reading. All without having to navigate to another page or refresh.