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Are smart kids more likely to be depressed?

According to psychologists, that depends on what kind of depression you're talking about. They say that "normal" depression can strike anybody, especially those who are genetically pre-disposed to it, but existential depression -- the kind usually reserved for French philosophers and mid-life crises -- has been known to strike kids as well, especially gifted ones. That is to say, if Junior is worrying about the inevitability of death or struggling with meaninglessness in the world, chances are he's above-average in the brains department. But where do these concerns come from? Dr. James Webb:

"Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns ... and by as early as first grade can feel isolated from peers and family members. When their intensity is combined with multi-potentiality, these youngsters become particularly frustrated with the existential limitations of space and time. There are simply not enough hours in the day, and making choices among the possibilities seems indeed arbitrary; there is no 'ultimately right' choice."

I myself went to a "gifted" school growing up, but didn't spend an inordinate amount of time wrestling with questions of existential meaning. (My friends and I played a lot of Nintendo, if I remember correctly.) I'm wondering: how many of you flossers were reading Sartre by age 10 and glumly pondering the meaning of life?

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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