Soda Straw

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Apr 4 23:47:41 UTC 2003

There is a Usenet post from 1997 that uses "soda straw view:"

"Instructor slapped mask back on at 100% O-two. Vision spread out instantly
from the down-the-soda-straw view I had
acquired." QDurham (qdurham at, Subject: Re: questions regarding
oxygen, altitude and cabin pressure, Newsgroup: rec.aviation.homebuilt,
Date: 6 Aug 1997

There is also the following from 1992, about night vision equipment on
fighter planes:

"There is a problem with depth perception, and the view through the HUD FLIR
is best described as 'like looking through a soda straw', but in my
experience, they are appreciated by the aircrews." Mark Shanks
(shanks at, Subject: Re: Falcon OFT night missions
and tidbits, Newsgroup:,  Date: 18 Sep 1992

You also see the term crop up in astronomy circles, enabling the blind, etc.
But it clearly has been used in Air Force circles for at least a decade, so
it's no surprise that Myers, an Air Force general, picked it up.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Kathleen E. Miller
> Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 1:44 PM
> Subject: Soda Straw
> Funny thing about doing research on  words coming out of the
> pentagon while
> a war's going on - their too busy to talk to you. I've
> already searched the
> archives - therefore I have Mr. Popik's 1922 hit for it. And I am not
> interested in the actual soda straw.
> What I would like to find is the origin of it's use meaning
> "narrow" as in
> the phrases, "soda straw snapshot", "soda straw effect" (earliest I've
> found Dow Jones 1998), and "soda straw view."
> Any ideas where I might find that? It came out of the mouth
> of Gen. Myers -
> but like I said, the pentagon ain't answering their phones.
> Thanks again
> Kathleen E. Miller
> Research Assistant to William Safire
> The New York Times

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