Spend the winter in Firenza to catch a dose of influenza

By D. Zambra

Living like acanary in a coal mine

Life for an actual canary in a coal mine could be described in three words – short but meaningful. Early coal mines did not feature ventilation systems, so miners would routinely bring a caged canary into new coal seams. Canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, which made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the canary in a coal mine kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary in a coal mine signaled an immediate evacuation.

Even as gas detection technology improved, some mining companies still relied on the ‘canary in a coal mine’ method well into the 20th century. Other animals were used occasionally, but only the canary had the ability to detect small concentrations of gas and react instinctively.

Today, the practice of using a canary in a coal mine has become part of coal mining lore, but the ideology behind it has become a popular expression. The phrase living like acanary in a coal mine often refers to serving as a warning to others. The actual canary in a coal mine had little control over its fate, but it continued to sing anyway. In one sense, living like a canary in a coal mine indicates a willingness to experience life’s dangers without compromise.

In another sense, many business and political analysts use the term canary in a coal mine to describe a harbinger of the future. A melting glacier in Alaska, for example, may be described as a canary in a coal mine for global warming. One small event in an isolated area may not seem especially noteworthy, but it may offer the first tangible warning of a larger problem developing. In a political sense, a country’s delegation abruptly leaving a meeting could be described as a canary in a coal mine for future negotiations.

Some large corporations also use a ‘canary in a coal mine’ strategy for future growth or reduction. A small company may be used to test the waters for a new product line, for instance. Even if the company only experiences modest profits or losses, the parent corporation can evaluate the feasibility of the product without risking a large investment. By carefully observing a canary in a coal mine, industries can avoid major failures down the road or benefit from a jump on the competition.

Via (http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-canary-in-a-coal-mine.htm)

The Police “Canary In A Coalmine” lyrics by Sting

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line
You say you want to spend the winter in Firenza
You’re so afraid to catch a dose of influenza
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line
Canary in a coalmine
Now if I tell you that you suffer from delusions
You pay your analyst to reach the same conclusions
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line
Canary in a coalmine
First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line
Canary in a coalmine

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