Whistleblowing - Why I Love the Sound of a Whistle
    By Patrick Lockerby | March 27th 2014 04:06 PM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Retired engineer, 60+ years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics....

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    Whistleblowing - Why I Love the Sound of a Whistle

    According to an official U.K. Government source:

    Whistleblowing is when a worker reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’.

    A worker can report things that aren’t right, are illegal or if anyone at work is neglecting their duties, including:

    • someone’s health and safety is in danger

    According to Wikipedia, the term whistle-blower has its origins with the referee in football.

    Not so.

    There were whistle-blowers long before the invention of the Acme whistle.
    Acme Thunder.jpg

    The term has its origins in the metaphorical "giving the game away", which happens when someone blows a whistle in a specific situation.

    46229 DUCHESS OF HAMILTON at Crewe Bank Shrewsbury.jpg

    So, you are a steam locomotive driver and you are way behind your departure schedule. You screw down the safety valve to increase the steam pressure above safe limits at risk to life and limb. This will allow you to go faster to catch up on time. However, even while the loco is standing in the yard, someone notices that the pressure is in the red and vents steam in the quickest possible way for a non-driver. They quite literally blow the whistle.

    The revelation that the safety valve has been screwed down leads to the instant dismissal of the driver.  Or, perhaps, pressure builds until the safety valve emits a whistling sound. If you want to see the first recorded instance of someone trying to silence a whistle-blower, please see -

    PSM V12 D284 The best friend 1830.jpg

    It should be plain, in the words of Peter Rylands M.P. speaking in 1873 that we should alert the public when some organization takes "a course like that of a man who sat upon the safety valve whilst the steam was rising in the boiler, and thus occasioned an explosion which spread death and destruction around".

    Whistle-blowing whether literal or metaphorical can save lives.  And that, my friends, is why I love the sound of a whistle.

    All images above courtesy Wikipedia / Wikimedia.

    Unfortunately, embedding is disabled for the Boxcar Willie video.


    Michael Martinez
    Or maybe it's just a way to let off steam.
    just a way to let off steam.

    The best way to let off steam is through the exhaust ports of a train going full throttle.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat

    As a small child I used to stand on the Yorkshire wall at the end of my Grandmother's garden and wave to the passing steam train drivers. They nearly always took time to wave back and let out a huge blast of steam or a loud toot! These guys knew how to let off steam and be happy :)
    My article about researchers identifying a potential blue green algae cause & L-Serine treatment for Lou Gehrig's ALS, MND, Parkinsons & Alzheimers is at
    Michael Martinez
    I think steam technology is fascinating.  It's amazing how dangerous it can be (at least as portrayed in the media) and how much we depended on it for several generations (over 100 years in some areas).
    Acme Whistles?

    And where is Wile E. Coyote?

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    And where is Wile E. Coyote?

    Waiting for a train.