miner's canary

miner's canary

Something or someone who, due to sensitivity to his, her, or its surroundings, acts as an indicator and early warning of possible adverse conditions or danger. Refers to the former practice of taking caged canaries into coal mines—the birds would die if methane gas was present, thereby alerting miners to the danger. Wildlife in disaster movies always acts like the miner's canary, fleeing the scene when catastrophe is imminent. John was used as a miner's canary to see the test drug's effects on the human mind.
See also: canary
References in periodicals archive ?
Washington state author Allan White has recently self published a “politically loaded memoir” entitled; "Confessions of the Miner's Canary.
Caltech graduate student Heather McCaig likens the research to replacing a miner's canary with hi-tech environmental monitoring.
Thematically similar though aesthetically and conceptually distant, The Miner's Canary Project presents another form of degradation and imprisonment: Bright yellow birds and luminous coal become metaphors for human consumption and desecration, a pillaging of nature.
Is autism the coal miner's canary of America's health status?
In educating future leaders, the metaphor of the coal miner's canary exemplifies the most civic minded disposition an aspiring administrator can hold at the K-12 or postsecondary level.
Others, such as Virginia Woolf, claim the opposite, that "the biographer goes ahead of us like the miner's canary, testing the atmosphere, detecting falsity, unreality, obsolete conventions.
Cole draws from both personal experience as a civil rights attorney and historical analysis to illustrate the concept that immigrants are like the miner's canary.
The Miner's Canary, by Paul Havemann and indigenous project head Helena Whall, surveyed indigenous issues vis-a-vis sustainable development for the UN 2002 world summit.
They can be considered to be an equivalent of the miner's canary for large tracts of our wilder countryside.
You're the warning system for everyone else, you're the miner's canary.
The seminar grew out of Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres's new book, The Miner's Canary, which argues that race should be understood as a political and not a biological category.
The early Anglo-Saxon cemetery acts as a kind of miner's canary.
Guinier used the metaphor of the miner's canary, where in the mines the more fragile canary would warn the miners when the atmosphere became too toxic to drive home her point.