There is a bit of a hegemony in science of usefulness. Even those comic asides of improbable research as championed by the Ignoble Prize are only a sliver away from actually being useful. Which is why Sky One’s Brainiac is in theory a very good program. Let us apply scientific method to less pressing questions.

Unfortunately in the five minute segment I saw recently the pursuit of the trivial was let down by poor reasoning.
Question: Is it possible to be a successful teacher whilst being subjected to random electric shocks.
Answer: It does, at first glance, seem to impair the ability to write on the board, or have long thought out conversations with your students, leading to fits of giggles when they realise what pain you are in. However on second thought one also needs to consider the effect of the random spasms on the children. Watching intently for your next fit, they will almost certainly be paying more attention to you than if they had just been hiding at the back of the class laying low. To get the maximum comic effect from you being unable to complete a sentence on the board, they need to know what the sentence was going to be. Hence – learning.

Not only was Brainiac’s scientific method flawed (where was the control teacher NOT getting electrocuted) there was no in depth analysis of the results. Instead one thinks that the actual question was: “Is electrocuting a teacher with a somewhat juvenile voiceover funny.” And the answer to that may not be what the originally thought either.