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 ?
The idiom of a 'miner's canary' is used throughout toxicological risk assessment, whether testing for potential risks to human health or for environmental impacts.
Ellensburg, WA, October 13, 2014 --(PR.com)-- "Confessions of the Miner's Canary" is now available in both ebook and POD format.
By drawing from the theory that African Americans serve as the nation's "miner's canary," he underscores Guinier and Torres's argument that "their distress is the first sign of danger that threatens us all."
Caltech graduate student Heather McCaig likens the research to replacing a miner's canary with hi-tech environmental monitoring.
Let's hope Hungary will be our "miner's canary" that helps us to reverse the course we've been on for decades.
Notes from a Miner's Canary: Essays on the State of Native America.
The right of the People to keep and bear arms disturbs the ruling class like no other, making support for the Second Amendment the "miner's canary" of the Constitution.
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." In either case, biography is a literary form specifically suited to helping readers make sense of life.
"It would almost be like sending the miner's canary down and then ignoring the canary when it came back up" for individual senators to ignore the findings of the committee staff.
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 denial of constitutional protections to foreign nationals is a harbinger of the loss of rights and liberties for American citizens.