Repeatedly solving a simple puzzle only makes you good at repeatedly solving a simple puzzle.
Yes. My pet theory is that the brain is just a huge pattern matching engine. Formal education is mostly about training the pattern recognizer with new patterns.
Whenever you talk to people that are "uneducated" (or whatever word you may want to choose for that) that struggle with basic concepts, try to probe deeper. You'll find that, in many cases, they are being overwhelmed with new concepts being presented simultaneously.
People with extensive formal education will have been exposed to innumerable problems and concepts by the time they reach adulthood. There's a wealth of information the brain can use to speed up comprehension.
This is a pet theory though, being reinforced over the years by my own cognitive biases :)
I also experience that line of thinking in learning math. Mathematics seem like the perfect example of pattern matching. You progressively learn to adapt to a certain kind of thinking by solving a multitude of different exercises that broaden your conceptual understanding of a field. At least that's how it works for me. You keep exercising and at some point you experience an epiphany and then everything becomes crystal clear.
Summary: there is gold here, utter gold. There is also shit, reeking shit. Make your choice, choose your focus, then tune your dial.
Did these possibilities not occur to you?
I await your ban from @dang. otherwise I will re-conclude that HN has too high a ratio anymore of assholes-to-signal.
however... I've looked at your follow-up comments since, and I've spelunked through your post history. Therefore I now believe you did truly make a mistake, and that you honestly did not intend to sound the way that you did. And you gave some reasonable responses. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.
I've learned to take an increasingly hard-line against assholes in real life. But I've also learned to try even harder to show empathy and see things from other people's shoes. Therefore I apologize if you felt I over-reacted. And I look forward to seeing awesome contributions from you here in the future. ;-)
Good ole' placebo effect :-)
think there is more to it than this, especially on the highest ends
think the next biggest impact comes from having a large solid internal mental model of the world, of cause-and-effect, of action-reaction, perhaps two or more separate models, one or more models are "the way it is supposed to work" and one or more models are "the way it might work"
think the next higher level of smart/genius is the purely creative/original/innovative/brainstorming/fount-based: ideas and urges and visions and impulses that arise from somewhere that a purely logical/controlling/categorical mindset can't nail down, and yet, it... happens. and yet we feel it, we experience it, we feel it, we can imagine it. whether it is real or fantastical, possible or impossible.
I'd argue that the very smartest of us all may somehow leverage from all three of these levels
As I get into it, it suddenly snaps into place, and I have a mental picture (which is more visceral than visual) of how all the moving pieces fit (or will fit) together, and can start adding on to it. With coding in particualr, usually my brain is going faster than my ability to type.
I absolutely love that feeling.
Imo someone "smart" is someone who is smart enough to admit what they don't know.
Of course "smart" is even less well-defined than intelligence, so it's not a very useful word for such a discussion.
I.e. if you have solved a lot of "guess the next shape" or "find the odd element" you are probably going to perform better because you know how the thing work.
Likewise, literature and basic math seem to be widely influenced by education, and don't measure intelligence.
Are there tests that really measure intelligence? And if there aren't, are the qualities really separated?
I hear this repeated a lot. I happen to have worked with someone who was into this (former something in Mensa), and as far as I understood one of the hallmarks of a good IQ test is when previous experience have small influence on the testscore.
Some people tend to say that anyone can train for this. I guess if that was true, Mensa would have a lot more members.
I started taking online IQ tests. I looked around for the really hard ones, and found that they fall into a couple of categories. Some focused on obscure vocabulary, featuring lists of hundreds of words that I, a native speaker with a pretty good vocabulary, had never seen. Others tested spatial awareness, logic, whatever.
What I discovered, after taking a few of these tests (I skipped the vocab ones; what's the point of learnin' fancy words no one else knows?), is that you get better at them, and fast. I only took maybe 2 or 3 a day, a couple times a week, but it didn't take more than a week to start testing a lot higher.
It got kinda boring once I started seeing that kind of improvement, so I stopped. I'm curious what it'd be like to try again, though.
>I started taking online IQ tests.
Clinical IQ tests are administered by psychologists and created by publishers. Pearsons WISC-IV Basic Kit costs $1,123.40.
It's a bit like brand-name drugs and generics, except that the generics aren't allowed to copy the exact chemical structure of the brand name drug in a similar way that research substances copy controlled substances with minor chemical alterations, with unknown effects.
Now these free online IQ tests could create their own IQ test, but that requires both expertise in creating IQ tests, and a large normative sample (WISC used a normative sample of 2,200 children between 6 and 16).
Furthermore, creating more accurate IQ tests does nothing for their bottom line, or may even hurt it as some of these tests are biased to give you higher scores, so that you may share them on social media.
Whilst you could invest in creating an accurate IQ test to be cheaply taken online, you'd have to fight the perception these less accurate tests have created that online IQ tests are about as accurate as horoscopes.
As an interesting note, pearson does offer computer based IQ tests under their Q interactive brand, however, they are not cheap.
Being in Mensa doesn't really "get" you anything, so there's little incentive to train for an IQ test in the same way there are to use the same amount of time to train for other more materially valuable things, like a license or a skill.
Even if you have a number that they would accept you for, that doesn't even mean you would want to be in a back-patting social group.
1) it is uncontroversial that training improves performance on traditional IQ tests. It is true that people aim to minimise this when designing tests. It is also true that so far, nobody has done a great job at that. It's worth noting that Mensa presents different tests in different parts of the world - which is a pretty big hint that they think previous experience/cultural background affects how you perform on the test.
2) Anyone can improve their running performance through training. Not everyone can be a world class marathon runner. The fact that you can improve your performance on an IQ test is not disproven by the claim that not everyone is capable of reaching Mensa levels on it.
You and others here seem to think I'm out to:
* disprove that IQ scores can be trained
* say something about or recommend Mensa (not a member, don't know if I would qualify, never took the official test)
while I only wanted to offer a counterpoint to the IQ-measurement-is-more-or-less-worthless school of thought.
> Anyone can improve their running performance through training. Not everyone can be a world class marathon runner.
Same goes for cognitive skills. I think this sums it up: there are significant differences in both physical and mental capabilities.
My point was that to me it seems clear that IQ tests do measure something outside of previous exposure or training.
IIRC most people will not manage to get 125 (just a number) on a well-designed test even if they are allowed to prepare with the exact same type of questions or even get trained for them.
I view intelligence as like this: in training camps for professional American football, prospective players perform physical tests: 40 yard dash, bench press reps, etc., and scouts for pro teams take note, because the results of those tests are correlated with actual professional performance. However, sometimes the guy that had no impressive stats becomes a stand out player, and sometimes the guy with amazing stats never amounts to much. Richard Feynman had an IQ of 125. JD Salinger had an IQ of slightly above average, and the guy with the highest recorded IQ worked as a bouncer for 20 years and hasn't accomplished anything intellectually ground breaking or significant in life.
Maybe cognitive tests have some correlation with what psychometricians call 'g,' general intelligence, but you're either naive, conceited, misinformed, or just plain stupid to think IQ is a meaningful number within the scope of an individual. Judging someone's intelligence is probably more complex than someone's athletic ability, and it's already not hard to see how ridiculous we're becoming when we ask: who is the best athlete: Usain Bolt or Peyton Manning? It is nothing more than a trait of the human mind that as a product of us defining important concepts such as athleticism and intelligence, we then, of course, desire to place ordinal ranking to answer the next obvious question: what is the most athletic, the most intelligence -- it is in an attempt of the human mind's desire to manipulate the thoughts and emotions of ourselves and the people around us; it is not done to understand reality.
Likely mismeasured. He won the Putnam mathematics competition with a stunning margin without preparation. He reportedly had the highest scores ever on the math/physics graduate admission exams at Princeton. Both of these are reliable indicators of an IQ above 145, probably by a good bit. (And this is if you ignore the dozens/hundreds of theoretical physics professors who thought of him as the fastest thinker among them, and one of the deepest.)
IQ tests are probably both not perfect and administered incorrectly (often enough).
I think it's an almost meaningless number unless we're talking about very large groups of individuals, and there's a lot of evidence and theory to support that.
Mensa accepts a number of tests which are somewhat correlated with IQ but not traditional IQ tests, and for which there is significant research showing training benefits (including a number of the standardized college, graduate, and professional school entrance exams.)
Or in text form, I think your assuming that smart people want to put in the effort required to join Mensa...when in reality it would be filled with mostly insecure people who feel they have something to prove.
Krakauer: Intelligence is Search. It's the ability to find a least-energy path or solution through an arbitrary n-dimensional space.
Knowledge is having a solid backing of (valid) data and models.
Ignorance is not having that data and model store. It's a curable state, though being primed with bad data and models is very damaging to effective search.
Krakauer gave a really good interview at Nautilus a year or so back on this, it's very highly recommended.
Farmer, quoting Muth, looks at a model of engineering in which engineers generate solutions at random but are very good at identifying the better solution. I'm thinking that there are emperical reasons to suspect that this may not be far from the truth, and methods such as A/B testing seem to explicitly embody the identification element of this.
You'll find this covered in many of Farmer's recent talks (past few years), Martin School at Oxford and Nanjing University in particular, at YouTube.
Like everyone in his field he has probably encountered Herbert Simon before. But as far as "Intelligence is Search" goes, Herb thought that "search" is a subset of problem solving, next to "reasoning" and "constraints". In the end they could all be considered as being unified under "traversal of state-space" for a given problem. Creativity or imagination can be thought of as generating useful representations and possibilities for states within that space.
Anything of his that you find particularly singular or encapsulating these ideas?
Also, it was just Simon's centenary.
Good brief interview with Simon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErnWbP_Wztk
After looking at Herbert's wiki, I feel like I've been creeping around his ideas for much of my life without realizing he was the progenitor, to the point where a few comments ago I used a word he invented. Krakauer's ideas too really resonate, these guys are really onto something.
Tentatively dipping a toe into complex adaptive systems and the Sante Fe institute also keeps coming up time and time again, they seem to have captured everybody thinking about this in depth.
Does anybody have good leads on Krakauer and Simon's ideas? e.g. books for a dive into?
Hoping for a Adaptive Complexity for Dummies!
I had this exact feeling as well. Herb thought at the exact same level of abstraction that I like to think in, broadly construed as "models", not too rigorous to be mathematics, but not too loose to be raw observational psychology. Just right. Marvin Minksy is precisely the same but for AI systems rather than humans.
Krakauer's website is where I would read Krakauer: http://tuvalu.santafe.edu/~krakauer/Site/Publications.html
Scott E Page and his "Model Thinking" course on Coursera is in the same vein as these two. He's a complexity theorist that deals with proper representation of social networks and distributed decision-making. His books "The Difference" and "Complex Adaptive Systems" are academic but extremely readable, and don't harken after the same Cellular Automata and Chaos examples without at least operationalizing them into some application first.
I'm not sure regarding Krakauer, though I'm pretty positive he's published. SFI are _quite_ good about posting papers and such online, something I discovered after scanning in two books on a 30s/page scanner.... (I've since found faster scanners to use...) Though the published papers don't have the full formulae and typesetting of the published work.
> Though the published papers don't have the full formulae and typesetting of the published work.
Maybe email the author.
So for a random example: if you can go from comfortably holding 5 random objects in your working memory to 8, that's going to manifest itself in a variety of ways.
I wonder if people get different results from these puzzles based on how they approach the puzzle. Maybe they can solve the puzzle by avoiding the cognitive function the puzzle was designed to use and thus they get no/limited benefit.
I think the argument that chess has improved my underlying hardware sounds reasonable, but it's also necessary that hardware be able to adapt to different scenarios in life. If I spend too much time on chess, it feels like that would end in a place where that hardware would be specifically tailored to just playing chess.
I'm not a chess player, but I recognize that it can be a very valuable tool for understanding what I might call the "while loop" of chess
* any given position has multiple options for action
* how to anticipate what moves an opponent may make in response to each of those options
* how you will, in turn, respond to the opponents responses
IOW, it teaches tactics and strategy, both of which we engage in countless times each day, whether or not we consciously realize it.
I just found at a point getting better meant memorizing a lot of opening game theory, as well as memorizing end game tactics. Then, I'd probably still never be world class because I don't think I'm exceptional at visualizing chess piece movements--I may be better than 99% of all people but the way the top 1% of chess players can do it is just phenomenal. I feel like it's a specific skill that some people just have and get extremely good at. You really need to spend some time playing the game and getting better and better to realize how good at visualizing the ability to think ahead the top players are. Magnus Carlsen never studied chess using a board -- it is just natural for him to think about.
And at the same time, training for better performance on IQ test questions does NOT increase performance on those otherwise-unrelated things.
So it's that thing that correlates across those unrelated things. That's what the intelligence researchers define as intelligence, even though it's popular to redefine it as something else that is entirely nurture and not nature.
In order to perform such a test, however, we will need to find two people with equal knowledge. To find two such people I propose we use a Knowledge Quotient test (aka KQ test)
The problem is, it is hard to find distinction between the word knowledge and intelligence. However, there is one metric we can use to define the difference between the two: Given two entities with equal intelligence the one who is more knowledgeable can perform better on an Knowledge Quotient test (aka KQ test).
In order to perform such a test, however, we will need to find two people with equal intelligence. To find two such people I propose we use a Intelligent Quotient test (aka IQ test).
By your definition, smart is knowledge AND the ability to draw connection between facts and ideas. And although solving simple puzzles may not train you for the latter, continuously solving mathematical problems (that may otherwise not have any real world applications) will train your brain to find patterns.
If someone can make Calculus, Graph Theory and Discrete Mathematics fun enough for people to tackle daily, you'll have a real brain exercise platform.
I think these brain games actually bring a lot of value to people who have retired and are no longer required to exercise their brains in order to fulfill their basic requirements of life.
Maybe they don't make you smarter, but perhaps they help prevent you from getting stupid.
a.k.a programming interviews
'Smart' people will consistently go straight to: A -> C
It different than just having access to information, speed and how it's processed makes a significant difference.
> 'Smart' people will consistently go straight to: A -> C
Cutting out intermediate steps in a chain of analysis is more typical of people with applicable, domain-specific expertise than general smarts. Being smart isn't the same as being an expert.
General smarts is reflected more in a reduction in the average number of dead-end side paths pursued before making the connection from A -> B and again before making the one from B -> C.
We have no idea how brain works, so we can only make hypotheses based on experience. When someone can "see" an answer without being able to explain how he came up with that answer, regardless of how useful that skill is in the real world, that is something. Maybe sometimes all his neurons connect instantly in certain circumstances. Who knows.
Another reason I think this is possible is because sometimes I come off that way (to much lesser degree) to other people. Sometimes when I come up with a solution to a problem (not at all domain specific), people wonder how I can do that. I can't explain of course. I am not trying to say I'm a genius. I'm saying things like this happen sometimes for no reason. And "highly intelligent" people tend to have more of these than "normal" people.
Anyway, these are all just theories, yours included. So I think just saying that our brains objectively work in certain ways is not a good idea, and is probably wrong.
There's also considerable evidence, IIRC, that, while the upper limit a person can reach in intelligence is genetic, that environmental factors play significant roles in both how closely that limit will ever be approached and how well/long what is achieved will be maintained.
The book I was reading made a point that early learning on a topic is rote (You do this then this because you are supposed to), while advanced practitioners _intuit_ . "I'll check this because it feels like that kind of problem, and if that isn't it I'll hit the other more likely things in turn or question my assumptions, but I don't think those steps out explicitly, I just do them". That certainly matches my programming experience, though my anecdote does not data make.
IIRC, this book was focused on how to improve skills, and was making the point that you can't expect to jump straight to intuit without experience, you have do rote first. So in this example, "smart" people will go straight from A->C, people with only moderate experience will have to go A->B->C, people with enough experience will go from A->C, and careless people MIGHT end up A->C, but more likely never made it to B and so can't even get to C from where they are.
Thus the appeal of "brain training" - people want to up their ability to intuit with less experience, and they feel that training can do it like most skills. This study (I've not yet read article) seems to be saying "no, it doesn't work that way".
Assuming the headline and study are correct, it's shame but I don't feel people should be mocked for feeling it was worth a try. There are certainly a number of other studies that show forced mental effort helps avoid degradation at a minimum. (I recall a study about Bridge delaying Alzheimers as an example, though I can't say anything about how well that study has held up).
Solution that takes a bit of learning is always worse than a solution that does not need any learning and is obvious to anyone, even to someone in my IQ range.
My coworker is, and he bangs the same drum. I agree with him on it, mostly!
And thats exactly why I said "mostly agree" with my coworker! This is my exact gripe. Basically its the same idea, taken to an extreme to the point where it no longer matches the original reason.
Most people when they begin playing can't stand games longer than fifteen minutes or so. They have not trained their brains to focus over extended periods of times. But the more you play, the better you become at sitting still and concentrating on the position on the board. Eventually after years of practice, you'll be able to play games where both players have 120 minutes+increment and use your time without getting bored.
Replace chess with any other brain teaser, like a quiz or an iq test. If you can sit and stare at the same problem uninterrupted for hours trying to work out a solution, then you will condition your brain to be able to do just that.
I firmly believe that is useful in all parts of life. Random example, you are thinking about divorcing your wife. Now if you are able to spend several hours analyzing the possible ramifications of that decision you will be better of than if you can only think about it for twenty minutes without losing your train of thought.
So I don't think it is all placebo. Ability to concentrate and perseverance through difficulties are two very important skills to have.
Not sure of similarities to brain training games, but I would bet there is something there.
After that diffing it with a dictionary file for each language to see the gaps.
This will probably take forever, but it could be worth the time.
So, shouldn't it be used by people who believe it works?
It's clear, studies should recruit participants using neutral language like the right poster of the article to remove as much selection bias as possible.
You can't ignore opportunity cost when evaluating value/ROI. It's not merely about the absolute benefit any given method/material provides, but about how that compares to whatever else might have been done instead. This stuff is very much not free (hence being a "billion dollar industry"), either in terms of money or time, so the only way it "should be used" is if there was no superior (cheaper, faster or both) way to induce the equivalent placebo effect, and no other way whatsoever to produce an actual effect beyond placebo. That seems highly doubtful, given proven benefits from other forms of actual study. With the time/money spent on this sort of pure-placebo "Brain Training" someone could have worked on learning another language for example, or invested in other valuable training.
The same argument you propose here is commonly applied to other highly profitable placebos pushed to the public, and in general the flaw in reasoning is always the same one of ignoring comparative ROI. Probably the most classic example would be homeopathy, wherein people literally just buy bottled water for hundreds to thousands of dollars per gallon. By definition there should be no negative effects, because there is nothing there but water (perhaps with a few flavors or non-bioactive aromatics), so worst case there is no harm, best case somebody experiences a bit of placebo benefit. That leads to "well what's the problem then, it can't hurt." But people don't have unlimited resources, any spending on pricey water directly subtracts from what they might have spent more productively elsewhere. Worse, choosing a non-medicine placebo may result in them failing to use actual medicine that was appropriate.
So it does matter when something like this is pure placebo. Perhaps most humanly, it matters because it's not what people were being advertised, signing up or working for. "We lied to them because it was good for them" does not cut it.
I also guess without immediate proof that the placebo effect is likely to be temporary and represent no real, persistent change to intelligence at all.... another reason to not give them your money. There are cheaper and much more entertaining ways to obtain "no change to your intelligence".
There might be cheaper ways, but paying money has an impact too. That's why more expensive painkillers often work better than generic ones, despite having identical ingredients .
It would be pretty simple to design another trial to test this.
That doesn't follow. Both factors could have an effect at the same time and both effects could, in principle, go in either direction. The only thing that we can conclude from the present study is that the joint effect of placebo and selection bias is positive.
In math and logic, I've found a pretty great resource in https://brilliant.org/ with many quizzes and wikis that focus on the underlying connections and general problem-solving approaches, which has made me better at solving actual problems.
CBC's Marketplace also did a show about this, pretty much crapping on the evidence for the whole thing:
This one has extensive research literature, and many free/ad-supported and cheap ones on android and iPhone app-stores.
For a critical discussion of the research see: https://www.quora.com/How-does-dual-n-back-actually-increase...
It seems to be one of the best if you interested in this sort of thing.
Claims include: improved working memory, improved executive functioning (great for ADHD/ADD), improved emotional control, self control and regulation, minor bump in IQ.
Gwern’s DNB FAQ offers some favorable opinion on DNB (in that it’s fascinating, though much larger gains can be achieved via many other means—meditation, environmental changes, etc.—before DNB can start to give any meaningful effect). Later meta-analysis links post-DNB IQ gains to methodological problems in studies, with quite small remaining positive effect that may be linked to further biases.
(Note that currently the FAQ is marked “unlikely” and the meta-analysis is marked “highly likely”.)
The results are overall not so rosy and I personally am under the impression that DNB is of little utility, if not a waste of time or highly depending on luck.
Some of the links from https://www.quora.com/How-does-dual-n-back-actually-increase..., however, lead to studies supporting DNB’s reputation as a great way to increase anyone’s IQ. I don’t know if newer studies avoid the biases of the ones Gwern looked at.
 There are many options on how to do DNB exercise, including test presentation, features, training length, and so on.
edit: Also, to this thread's OP; Doesn't your link's accepted answer claim n-back doesn't work? There is critical discussion there sure, but the consensus seems to be that it doesn't work. No?
Downvotes exist to improve the signal to noise ratio on HN: please do, generally, downvote without explanation. If something is productive and worth discussing, that's a sign that its not worth a downvote.
It seems the person downvoting would rather me not view it (as it's not "constructive"), but i can view it.. and i am, yet how am i to know why the downvote was given? Is the author lying? Is it a spam link? Is the author wrong? etcetc
Dual N-Back is the only one that has at least SOME indication that it may have actual benefits, and it's not owned by one of these big brain game companies - so you can at least be more impartial and less subject to hype.
You're right, I deliberately pointed everyone to a skeptical discussion of the research.
Brain games as a whole ain't great, but of a bad bunch, this is the best, both in terms of research behind it, and in terms of cost (not some monthly subscription - often a free download) and impartiality.
I started doing crossword puzzles a few months ago. Mainly I've gotten better at doing crossword puzzles. When I started, I had to think about each clue, but now I know the common words that always show up and don't even have to read the clues to get those. Meanwhile, as I never write about "MDs" or the "EPA", this has had no useful impact on my life.
Other than that, forget it. Brain power and being a quick-witted genius is all about GENETICS (like most things in this life)
They were talking about cognitive decline and "brain power," not life outcomes as you seem to think.
The reason I ask is that I personally find I am passionate/hardworking for certain things but for others I'm completely disinterested/lazy.
Likewise I have seen other people who are typically lazy and not hardworking, but get them on the one thing they are interested in (e.g. a specific sport) and they can quote match and player statistics stretching back decades. It's like they have this amazing ability but they've only applied it to a relatively useless part of their life (I say relatively useless because if they'd applied themselves with the same fervour to their work they'd have a much better quality of life).
I'm not sure how that connects that with genetic personality traits.
If you want more:
Scientists are still primitive in the understanding of the human brain, but as you can see, one factor in your behavior and personality (ie. motivation, persistence, ease-of-anger, compulsion, etc) is the complex relationship between neurotransmitters and their receptors (and millions of other factors of which we have no clue) These relationships are largely genetic, they are inherited to us.
I have something to add of my own: Every characteristic about us, every move or action that we make, has a relationship (or is a byproduct) of some sort of gene(s) working together. You can even call it FATE if you want.
I won't discount genetics.
CoQ10, Nicotinamide Riboside, L-Carnitine, Magnesium Malate, B complex, N-Acetyl Cysteine
In terms of just being smarter and quicker to learn I'm not really sure that seems to be a combination of experience and natural factors. The experience part you can obviously change but the other one who knows.
A number of large-scale multi-site randomized controlled trials have shown that specific types of brain training generalize to untrained measures of cognitive function and real-world activities. Here's two examples:
Some brain training works, and some doesn't. Of the ones that work, some show certain types of benefits; and others show other types of benefits. Throwing the whole field out is like saying "laetrile doesn't treat cancer, so no molecules treat cancer."
disclosure: I was an investigator on IMPACT; and I work at a brain training company (Posit Science)
But somehow people that work with their brain think that the brain, the organ, does not work like the rest of the body and that you are smart no matter what an so on. You are smart if you trained, if you sleep right, if you eat right and in general if you take care of yourself.
People say "it's just a puzzle". It's like a football player would say "why do I have to do squats?! I never have to do one while I play". Sure, at some point the puzzle becomes too easy. Thats why they do squats with weights.
Just liking training running will make you good at running, training those puzzles will make you good at... those puzzles. That's not what those game companies sell it as, people want better general intelligence and instead they are just getting really good at matching shapes or solving crosswords.
In your football example, a squat is full body exercise that strengthens numerous different muscle groups. These "brain training games" are not full mind exercises.
I'd like to know why public broadcasters, particularly PBS and NPR in the US, aren't called to task for advertising this crap heavily during their sponsoship drives.
Associating yourself with crap spreads the stains.