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Brainiac: Viewer Abuse

I can't believe that some people actually consider the British TV show Brainiac: Science Abuse to be better than the US show Mythbusters. Why do they think that? I have no freaking idea.

Like Mythbusters, Brainiac is supposed to have a similar concept, in other words, test in practice whether popular notions, old wisdom, sayings and urban legends have any accuracy to them, by putting them to actual scientifically accurate testing.

The problem is that while Mythbusters do it for real and always show the results of their experiments as they happened, even if the experiment failed completely (in other words, even if replicating the tested myth failed because of technical reasons or bad luck), Brainiac is just made as entertainment rather than real science. If entertainment means that they have to fake a result and outright lie to the viewers, that's exactly what they will do.

The problem with this is that they pretend to do accurate testing, giving the impression that what the viewer sees is an accurate legit test, but oftentimes what the viewer sees is a total fabrication and the results completely faked.

Everyone knows about the infamous rigged alkali metal experiment where they rigged the sodium and potassium tests with actual explosives just to make it look cooler (when in fact sodium and potassium do not cause anywhere near such strong effects with the shown quantities in the shown test situation). However, that's not their only faked test.

The results of a test related to the so-called "brown note" were completely fabricated, just for the sake of being funnier.

In one episode they test how a monkey playing poker with a human would react if the human clearly cheats. In the test the monkey was shown to have extreme facial reactions to the "cheating". However, in reality the monkey had no idea whatsoever about poker and the video was just a result of clever editing.

Their "science" is also completely bogus. For instance, one episode had a viewer mail question: "Will those things that make your bike sound like a motorcycle make it run faster?". They tested this by measuring the speed of a bike without and with the device, and in the latter case the bike was faster by one second. They instantly stated that the device will make your bike run faster.

Of course that kind of conclusion is completely bogus and made just to be funny. The problem is that the show is confusingly presented as having legit tests with accurate results (even if humor might be involved sometimes), and many people are fooled into believing it.

At least in Mythbusters if an experiment is an utter failure they don't try to rig it to work just for the sake of the show. They just present the failed test honestly and that's it.

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