New research finds that the punch-and-jab style of President Donald Trump’s speech — pugnaciously declarative, larded with personal pronouns, and light on the kinds of phrases that can elevate an idea — appears to be where presidential discourse is headed.
The sweeping linguistic analysis of U.S. leaders suggests Trump’s style of communication — called “intuitive” because it resembles conversational speech — is just the most recent exemplar of a trend that goes back to the early 1900s. For more than a century, presidents’ public speech patterns have been evolving toward more forceful assertions of personal leadership — a measure the researchers call “clout.” At the same time, the complexity of presidential speech has been trending downward.
“Voters may increasingly be drawn to leaders who can make difficult, complex problems easier to understand with intuitive, confident answers,” the University of Texas psychology researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings “confirm that President Trump and leaders like him did not emerge out of nowhere,” they added, but “are the most recent incarnation of long-term political trends.”
Shipworm may offer clues to antibiotics
Shipworms loomed large in the fears of sailors for centuries, as they can sink a vessel with little more than concerted munching. But they now hold intrigue as potential sources for new antibiotics.
Northeastern University researchers discovered a new species of shipworm, which they named Tamilokus mabini, in the Philippines. Researchers confirmed that the pink-striped shipworm, ranging from about 2.5 to 6 inches long, was also a new genus. Using CT scanning, they found its organs are arranged in an unusual pattern — with its heart and kidneys swapping places and a digestive system that was extremely long.
The researchers plan to sequence the genomes of the bacteria inside the shipworm, which could provide leads for substances that are useful to people, like digestive enzymes that could help make biofuels.