More or Less: Behind the Stats
Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4
In praise of Covid Data8 perc 300. rész
On this week’s programme we talk to Clare Griffiths from the UK’s coronavirus dashboard and Alexis Madrigal from the Atlantic Magazine’s Covid Tracking Project in the US.
Deciding when to suspend a vaccine8 perc 300. rész
Many countries recently decided to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine over fears it was increasing the risk of blood clots. The European Medicines Agency and the WHO called on countries to continue using the vaccine but regulators in individual countries opted to be cautious, waiting for investigations to take place. But why? Tim Harford explores the risks of blood clots and weighing up whether it was necessary to suspend using the vaccine.
The truth about obesity and Covid 198 perc 300. rész
A widely reported study claims that 90% of Covid 19 deaths across the world happened in countries with high obesity rates. While an individual’s risk of death is increased by having a high Body Mass Index, the broader effect on a country’s death rate is not what it seems.
Sainthood and Cup draws8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford explores the chances of becoming a saint, inspired by a throw away comment by the detective on the TV drama ‘Death in Paradise.’ Plus, a listener has a question about the recent Europa League Draw for the final knockout round. He spotted that none of the teams face a rival from their own country. What were the chances of that happening?
Why are US Covid cases falling?8 perc 300. rész
Cases of Covid 19 began to soar in the US in the autumn. By early January there were around 300,000 new cases a day. But since then the numbers have fallen steeply. What caused this dramatic drop? From herd immunity to the weather, Tim Harford explores some of the theories with Derek Thompson of The Atlantic magazine and Professor Jennifer Dowd, deputy director of the Lever Hume Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford.
Covid 19 death count: which countries are faring worst?8 perc 300. rész
Are different countries counting deaths from Covid 19 in the same way? Tim Harford finds out if we can trust international comparisons with the data available. We discover Peru currently has the most excess deaths per capita over the course of the pandemic, while Belgium has the highest Covid death count per capita. Tim speaks to Hannah Ritchie from Our World in Data and John Burn Murdoch, senior data visualisation journalist at the Financial Times.
Comparing death counts, Lock Down drinking and Long Covid28 perc 300. rész
The UK was the first European country to surpass 100,000 deaths from Covid 19. The UK has one of the worst death rates. But can we trust the numbers? Many of our listeners have asked us to investigate. Long Covid is widely acknowledged as being a growing problem, but what are the numbers involved? Just how many people have longterm symptoms after their initial infection? There have been reports that we are drinking more in Lock Down. We examine the evidence. Dr Natalie MacDermott was one of the first guests invited on to More or Less to talk about the new coronavirus early last year. We revisit what she said then and what we know now. Plus, she tells of her own struggles with Long Covid.
How much Covid in the World?8 perc 300. rész
If we brought all the virus particles of the Sars-CoV-2 virus from every human currently infected, how much would there be? This was a question posed by one of our listeners. We lined up two experts to try to work this out. YouTube maths nerd Matt Parker and Kit Yates, senior lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath, UK give us their best estimates. One believes the particles would fit into a small can of coke, the other a spoonful.
Brexit exports, cladding and are 1 in 5 disabled?28 perc 300. rész
Are exports to the EU from the UK down 68% since Brexit? This apocalyptic statistic is being widely reported, but does it really tell us what’s happening at Dover and Folkstone? Ministers are tweeting reassuring numbers about flammable cladding on high rise buildings. We’re not so sure. Is it really true that one in five people are disabled? Plus, if you assembled all the coronavirus particles in the world into a pile - how big would it be?
Glasgow vs Rwanda8 perc 300. rész
Tim explores a shocking claim that life expectancy in some parts of Glasgow is less than it is in Rwanda. But is that fair on Glasgow and for that matter is it fair on Rwanda? And a listener asks whether loss of smell is a strong enough symptom of Covid that it might be used to help diagnose the virus, replacing rapid testing. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Chloe Hadjimatheou (Left: Rwanda refugee - photo Reza. Right: Glasgow homeless man - photo Christopher Furlong / both Getty images)
Teachers, Test & Trace and Butterflies28 perc 299. rész
Prominent Labour politicians have claimed teachers are more likely to catch Covid-19, is that true? England’s Test and Trace programme has been widely criticised, has it raised its game in recent months? A ferocious row has broken out between scientists about how effective fast turnaround Lateral Flow tests are, and how they should be used. We examine the data. Plus, we examine a claim from Extinction Rebellion that British butterflies have declined by 50% since 1976.
The Rapid Test Row8 perc 300. rész
A ferocious row has broken out among scientists about new coronavirus tests. Lateral flow tests provide results within minutes and some scientists believe they are offer accurate enough results at a speed that could allow us to resume business as usual. Others think they are so poor at detecting the virus that they could pose a huge danger. In this week’s More or Less, Tim Harford looks at the evidence and what we know about these new tests.
Deaths at Home, Supermarket Infections and the Cobra Effect28 perc 298. rész
Since the start of the pandemic there have been many warnings that people might die not just from the coronavirus itself, but also if they didn’t seek medical help out of fear that hospitals might be dangerous. Is there any evidence that this has happened? David Spiegelhalter is on the case. The UK is in lockdown, but tens of thousands of people a day are still testing positive for Coronavirus. Where are they catching it? Grim data on drug deaths in Scotland has been called into question on social media. We ferret out the truth. Plus, what can venomous snakes tell us about the government's plan to increase the number of people self-isolating?
Deaths at home, supermarket infections and the Cobra effect28 perc 300. rész
Since the start of the pandemic there have been many warnings that people might die not just from the coronavirus itself, but also if they didn’t seek medical help out of fear that hospitals might be dangerous. Is there any evidence that this has happened? David Spiegelhalter is on the case. The UK is in lockdown, but tens of thousands of people a day are still testing positive for Coronavirus. Where are they catching it? Grim data on drug deaths in Scotland has been called into question on social media. We ferret out the truth. Plus, what can venomous snakes tell us about the government's plan to increase the number of people self-isolating?
Counting Covid’s impact on GDP8 perc 300. rész
GDP figures for the period covering lockdown appear to show that the UK suffered a catastrophic decline, worse than almost any other country. But as Tim Harford finds out, things aren’t quite as bad for the UK as they might seem - though they might be worse for everywhere else. Also, alarming claims have been circulating in the UK about the number of suicides during lockdown. We look at the facts. There is support for the issues discussed in the programme at help.befrienders.org Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower and Chloe Hadjimatheou (Robots work on the MINI car production line at the BMW plant in Cowley, Oxford, UK. Credit: Tolga Akmen/ Getty Images)
Will the vaccine bring back normal life? GDP and Fishing27 perc 300. rész
The vaccine rollout continues: how long will it take before we see the benefits, and what benefits will we see? Figures suggest the UK’s economy performed worse than almost anywhere else in the world during the pandemic. But are the numbers misleading us? Alarming claims have been circulating about the number of suicides during lockdown. We look at the facts. Plus, will UK fishing quotas increase two thirds in the wake of Brexit? We trawl through the data.
How effective is one dose of the vaccine?29 perc 300. rész
A lot has changed since More or Less was last on air. We give you a statistical picture of the second wave: how bad is it, and is there hope? The new vaccine regime is to delay the booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for up to 3 months. But is the first dose 52% or 90% effective? A new virus variant is meant to be 70% more transmissible, what does that mean? Plus, one of our youngest loyal listeners has a question about her classmates names.
Ants and Algorithms8 perc 300. rész
What can ants tells us about whether something deserves to be popular? This is a question tackled in David Sumpter’s book – ‘The Ten Equations that Rule the World: And How You Can Use Them Too.’ He tells Tim Harford about some of the algorithms that you see in nature, and those harnessed by tech companies such as YouTube.
Numbers of the year: Part two8 perc 300. rész
From the economic impact of Covid 19 to the number of people who have access to soap and water, we showcase figures that tell us something about 2020. Tim Harford asks a group of numbers-minded people to take a look back on the year and think of one statistic that really stands out for them. We speak to Razia Khan, the head of research and chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered; Sana Safi, presenter for BBC Pashto TV at the BBC's Afghanistan Service; and Jennifer Rogers, vice president for external affairs at the Royal Statistical Society. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Charlotte McDonald
Numbers of the year: Part one8 perc 299. rész
Tim Harford asks a group of numbers-minded people to take a look back on the year and think of one statistic that really stands out for them. From the spread of Covid-19 to the number of songs added to Spotify this year, we showcase figures that tell us something about 2020. We speak to Oliver Johnson, professor of information theory at the University of Bristol in the UK; Anne-Marie Imafidon, creator and CEO of social enterprise Stemettes; and economist Joel Waldfogel, of the University of Minnesota.
The economics of a Covid Christmas8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford asks economist Joel Waldfogel how Covid 19 could affect spending at Christmas this year. They discuss the usual bump in sales and gift giving. The author of ‘Scroogenomics’ usually argues that presents are rarely as valued by the recipient compared to something they might buy for themselves. But what should people do this year?
QAnon: Child runaways and trafficking numbers debunked8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford looks at false statistical claims online about missing and trafficked children in the US. These numbers have resurfaced online in part due to conspiracy theorists following QAnon. In the past few months they have inspired protests under the banner - ‘Save Our Children’. We wade through some of the false numbers with the help of Michael Hobbes, a reporter for Huff Post and the co-host of the podcast called You're Wrong About.
Vaccines: how safe and who gets it?8 perc 300. rész
The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the use of a vaccine for Covid 19. But some people are worried that the decision was taken too quickly - can we really know it’s safe yet? Tim Harford tackles these safety concerns. Plus, what is the best way to distribute the vaccine? How do you maximise the benefit of the first round of vaccines? Stuart McDonald, a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK works out what groups would benefit most.
Tracking Covid 199 perc 300. rész
This year has shown us the importance of good robust data - as Covid-19 spread around the world it was vital to track where it was, how many people it was infecting and where it might go next. On More or Less we’ve spent months reporting on data inaccuracies and vacuums, but what makes for good or indeed bad data? I’ve been speaking to Amy Maxmen, Senior reporter at the scientific journal ‘Nature’ about which countries are getting data collection right and which aren’t.
Inviting Covid for Dinner9 perc 300. rész
If you go to a gathering of 10 or more people, what are the chances one of you has coronavirus? Imagine that you’re planning to hold some sort of gathering or dinner at your home. Take your pick of big festivities - it’s Thanksgiving in the US, we’ve just had Diwali and Christmas is on the horizon. In some places such a gathering is simply illegal anyway. But if it IS legal, is it wise? Professor Joshua Weitz and his team at Georgia Tech in the US have created a tool which allows people in the US and some European countries to select the county they live in, and the size of gathering they are intending on having, and then it calculates the chances that someone at that party, has Covid 19. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Charlotte McDonald
Vaccine numbers8 perc 300. rész
A vaccine which has shown in a clinical trial to be 90% effective against Covid 19 has been widely welcomed. But what does it mean and how was it worked out? Although experts and politicians urge caution, how excited can we be about the results of this trial of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech? Tim Harford explores what we know about this new vaccine candidate with Jennifer Rogers, vice president of the Royal Statistical Society in the UK, and she also works for Phastar, a consultancy which specialises in analysing clinical trials. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Charlotte McDonald
How deadly is Covid 19?8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford explores what we know about mortality rates in the current pandemic. We discuss the differences between the risks to different age groups, and why that has an effect on a country’s Covid 19 fatality rate. We speak to Dr Hannah Ritchie from the University of Oxford and Dr Daniel Howdon of the University of Leeds in the UK.
Asymptomatic Covid19 Cases8 perc 300. rész
A headline in a British tabloid newspaper claimed that ‘Staggering 86% who tested Covid positive in lockdown had NONE of the official symptoms’ but what does this mean and is it true?
US election: facts or fiction8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford hears about the sheer volume of false claims made during the campaign. President Trump is well known for making wild statements, but has his behaviour changed? And what about Joe Biden? So much attention is concentrated on Trump’s claims, how does the Democratic candidate fare? Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post and Katherine J Wu at the New York Times tell us about fact-checking during the run up to the election.
Auction Theory - Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson8 perc 300. rész
Paul Milgrom and his former tutor Robert Wilson worked together for years developing ways to run complicated auctions for large resources. This month the two Stanford University professors were awarded the Nobel memorial prize in economics for their work. The auction formats they designed facilitated the sale of goods and services that are difficult to sell in a conventional way, such as radio frequencies.
A short history of probability8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford speaks to Jacob Goldstein about the unholy marriage of mathematicians, gamblers, and actuaries at the dawn of modern finance.
Spreadsheet snafu, ‘Long Covid’ quantified, and the birth of probability21 perc 300. rész
After nearly 16,000 cases disappeared off coronaviruses spreadsheets, we ask what went wrong. How common are lasting symptoms from Covid-19? If you survey people about the death toll from Covid, they’ll make mistakes. What do those mistakes teach us? Pedants versus poets on the subject of exponential growth. And we dive deep into the unholy marriage of mathematicians, gamblers, and actuaries at the dawn of modern finance.
“Record” Covid cases, Trump on the death count, and ant pheromones28 perc 300. rész
Case counts in perspective, a suspect stat from the US, and life lessons from insects.
Covid curve queried, false positives, and the Queen’s head29 perc 300. rész
A scary government graph this week showed what would happen if coronavirus cases doubled every seven days. But is that what’s happening? There’s much confusion about how many Covid test results are false positives - we explain all. Plus, do coffee and pregnancy mix? And the Queen, Mao, and Gandhi go head to head: who is on the most stamps and coins?
The magical maths of pool testing8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford speaks to Israeli researcher, Tomer Hertz, about how the mathematical magic of pool testing could help countries to ramp up their Covid-19 testing capacity.
Covid testing capacity, refugee numbers, and mascara28 perc 300. rész
Amid reports of problems with coronavirus testing across the UK, we interrogate the numbers on laboratory capacity. Does the government’s Operation Moonshot plan for mass testing make statistical sense? Has the UK been taking more refugees from outside the European Union than any EU country? We explore the connection between socio-economic status and Covid deaths. And we do the maths on a mascara brand’s bold claim about emboldening your eyelashes.
Covid cases rising, a guide to life’s risks, and racing jelly-fish28 perc 300. rész
A jump in the number of UK Covid-19 cases reported by the government has led to fears coronavirus is now spreading quickly again. What do the numbers tell us about how worried we should be? Plus a guide to balancing life’s risks in the time of coronavirus, the government’s targets on test and trace, and a suspicious statistic about the speed of jelly-fish.
Schools and coronavirus, test and trace, maths and reality27 perc 300. rész
As children return to school in England and Wales, we hear about what we know and what we don’t when it comes to Covid-19 risks in school settings. What do the numbers tell us about how well test and trace is working? Will reopening universities really kill 50,000 people? Are the UK’s figures on economic growth as bad as they look? And is maths real? When someone goes viral asking maths questions on social media, More or Less finds answers.
Covid plasma therapy27 perc 300. rész
Donald Trump says allowing the emergency use of blood plasma therapy for coronavirus patients will save “countless lives” and is “proven to reduce mortality by 35%”. We look at the evidence. Amid talk of coronavirus being back on the rise in the UK, what does the data show? Could screening for breast cancer from the age of 40 save lives? And can it really be true than one in five women in 18th century London made a living selling sex?
A-level algorithms, poker and buses28 perc 300. rész
We unpick the A-level algoshambles, discover why 1.3 million Covid tests disappeared from the government's statistics last week, and for reasons that may become clear, we examine the chance of being hit by a bus. Plus, what does poker teach us about the role of randomness in our lives?
Belarus’ contested election9 perc 300. rész
Autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko claims to have won a landslide in the country’s presidential elections. But how can we know what really happened? Tim Harford delves into the numbers behind the widely-questioned election result, with Dr Brian Klaas and political analyst Artyom Shraibman.
Hawaiian Pizza, obesity and a second wave?27 perc 300. rész
Covid-19 cases are rising in the UK - is it a sign of a second wave of the virus? We’re picking apart the data and asking how concerned we should be both now and as autumn approaches. Scotland is undercounting Covid deaths, England is overcounting them: we’ll ask why and whether the problems will be fixed. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver claims over a quarter of all the fruit and veg kids eat is in the form of pizza, can this be true? Plus, as some people are blaming obesity for the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, we’ll find out how big a difference it really makes.
Melting Antarctic ice8 perc 300. rész
One More or Less listener has heard that if all the ice in Antarctica melted, global sea levels would rise by 70 metres. But it would take 361 billion tonnes of ice to raise the world's sea levels by just 1 millimetre. So how much ice is in Antarctica? And in the coming years, what impact might temperature changes have on whether it remains frozen? (Gentoo penguins on top of an iceberg at King George Island, Antarctica January 2020. Credit: Alessandro Dahan/ Getty Images)
Covid in Africa10 perc 300. rész
Do we have enough data to know what’s happening on the continent? We talk to Dr Justin Maeda from the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Ghanaian public health researcher Nana Kofi Quakyi about tracking Africa’s outbreak. Producer: Jo Casserly Picture: Volunteers wait to feed local people during the weekly feeding scheme at the Heritage Baptist Church in Melville on the 118 day of lockdown due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2020. Credit: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
Data in the time of cholera8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford speaks to Steven Johnson about William Farr and the birth of epidemiology in the 1800s.
Covid misconceptions and US deaths8 perc 300. rész
Tim Harford talks to statistician Ola Rosling about his research into misconceptions about Covid-19. And an update on the epidemic in the US.
Sweden’s lockdown lite14 perc 300. rész
Unlike its Nordic neighbours, Sweden never imposed a lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus. Tim Harford speaks to statistician Ola Rosling to find out what the results have been. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jo Casserly Picture: A woman wearing a face mask stands at a bus stop featuring a sign reminding passengers to maintain a minimum social distance between each other to reduce the risk of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the pandemic COVID-19 disease, in Stockholm, Sweden, 25 June 2020. Credit: EPA/ Stina Stjernkvist
Why Trump is wrong about the USA’s coronavirus case comeback9 perc 300. rész
Are cases really rising in the US or are they just testing more? Tim digs into the data.
Why did the UK have such a bad Covid-19 epidemic?28 perc 300. rész
The UK has suffered one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus anywhere in the world. We’ve been tracking and analysing the numbers for the last 14 weeks, and in the last programme of this More or Less series, we look back through the events of March 2020 to ask why things went so wrong - was it bad decision-making, bad advice, or bad luck?
A new Covid-19 drug and a second wave9 perc 300. rész
The steroid Dexamethasone has been hailed a “major breakthrough” in the treatment of Covid-19. But what does the data say? Plus, why haven’t mass protests led to a second wave?
Child Poverty, School Inequality and a Second Wave28 perc 300. rész
As lockdown eases, why hasn't there been a spike in infections? We get a first look at the evidence for the much-trumpeted Covid-19 treatment, Dexamethasone. Stephanie Flanders tells us what’s happening to the UK economy. Keir Starmer says child poverty is up; Boris Johnson says it’s down, who's right? Plus which children are getting a solid home-school experience, and who is missing out?
Who Should be Quarantined?9 perc 300. rész
Some countries are requiring new arrivals to self-isolate, a policy designed to stop infection spreading from areas of high prevalence to low prevalence. Tim Harford and Ruth Alexander find out which countries have the highest rate of Covid-19 infection. Plus, is it really true that the coronavirus mostly kills people who would die soon anyway?
Quarantine, Test and Trace and BODMAS28 perc 300. rész
The UK has introduced new rules requiring all people arriving in the country to self-isolate for 14 days. But given the severity of the UK’s outbreak can there be many places more infectious? Is it true that Covid-19 mostly kills people who would die soon anyway? The first figures are out showing how England’s Test and Trace programme is performing, but they contain a mystery we’re keen to resolve. And we play with some mathematical puzzles, courtesy of statistician Jen Rogers.
Antibody tests, early lockdown advice and European deaths27 perc 300. rész
At the start of March the government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said that the UK’s coronavirus outbreak was four weeks behind the epidemic in Italy. This ability to watch other countries deal with the disease ahead of us potentially influenced the decisions we made about which actions to take and when, including lockdown. So was he right?
Keep your distance9 perc 299. rész
What difference does a metre make? The World Health Organisation recommends that people keep at least 1 metre apart from each other to stop the spread of Covid-19, but different countries have adopted different standards. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying six feet apart - that’s just short of 2 metres; in the UK, the rule is 2 metres. But all this has a big impact on the way businesses and societies get back to work. Tim Harford investigates the economic costs and conundrums of keeping our distance in a post-lockdown world. How can we avoid infection spreading again, while getting on with life?
False negatives, testing capacity and pheasants27 perc 298. rész
As lockdowns begin to lift the government is relying on testing and contact tracing programmes to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 infections. But how accurate are the swab tests used to diagnose the disease? The UK Statistics Authority has criticised the government for the way it reports testing figures, saying it’s not surprising that these numbers “are so widely criticised and often mistrusted.” We take a look at how the government achieved its target of developing a daily testing capacity of 200,000 by the end of May. Can we really have only 60 harvests left in the world? Plus, the very pleasant Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a pleasant pheasant question for us.
Obeying lockdown, flight arrivals and is this wave of the epidemic waning?27 perc 300. rész
More than 35,000 people in the UK have now officially died from Covid-19, but what does the data show about whether this wave of the epidemic is waning? We ask who respects lockdown, who breaks it, and why? Our listeners are astounded by how many people allegedly flew into the UK in the first three months of the year - we’re on the story. We look at the performance of the Scottish health system on testing. And some pub-quiz joy involving a pencil.
60 Harvests and statistically savvy parrots8 perc 299. rész
A listener asks if there can really only be 60 harvests left in Earth's soil. Are we heading for an agricultural Armageddon? Plus we meet the parrots who are the first animals, outside humans and great apes, to be shown to understand probability. (image: Kea parrots in New Zealand)
School re-opening, Germany’s Covid-19 success and statistically savvy parrots28 perc 298. rész
Risk expert David Spiegelhalter discusses whether re-opening some schools could be dangerous for children or their teachers. We ask what’s behind Germany’s success in containing the number of deaths from Covid-19. Many governments across the world are borrowing huge sums to prop up their economies during this difficult time, but with everyone in the same boat who are they borrowing from? Plus we revisit the UK’s testing figures yet again and meet some statistically savvy parrots.
Social Distancing and Government Borrowing9 perc 297. rész
As lockdowns start to lift, many countries are relying on social distancing to continue to slow the spread of coronavirus. The UK says we should stay 2 metres apart, the World Health Organisation recommends 1 metre, Canada six feet. So where do these different measurements come from? Plus, governments around the world are trying to prop up their economies by borrowing money. But with everyone in the same situation, where are they borrrowing from?
Vitamin D, explaining R and the 2 metre rule27 perc 296. rész
R is one of the most important numbers of the pandemic. But what is it? And how is it estimated? We return to the topic of testing and ask again whether the governments numbers add up. As the government encourages those who can’t work at home to return to their workplaces - we’re relying on social distancing to continue to slow the spread of the virus. But where does the rule that people should stay 2 metres apart come from? And is Vitamin D an under-appreciated weapon in the fight against Covid-19?
Covid-19 fatality rate8 perc 295. rész
The question of just how dangerous Covid-19 really is, is absolutely crucial. If a large number of those who are infected go on to die, there could be dreadful consequences if we relaxed the lockdowns that have been imposed across much of the world. If the number is smaller, for many countries the worst might already be behind us. But the frustrating thing is: we’re still not sure. So how can we work this crucial number out?
Testing truth, fatality rates, obesity risk and trampolines.27 perc 294. rész
The Health Minister Matt Hancock promised the UK would carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April. He claims he succeeded. Did he? The question of just how dangerous the new coronavirus really is, is absolutely crucial. If it’s high, there could be dreadful consequences if we relaxed the lockdowns. So why is the fatality rate so difficult to calculate? Is it true that being obese makes Covid-19 ten times more dangerous? And whatis injuring more kids in lockdown, trampolines or Joe Wicks’ exercises?
Climate change and birdsong9 perc 293. rész
With much of the world’s population staying indoors, there are fewer cars on the roads, planes in the skies and workplaces and factories open. Will this have an impact on climate change? Plus as the streets become quieter, is it just us, or have the birds begun to sing much more loudly?
Ethnic minority deaths, climate change and lockdown28 perc 292. rész
We continue our mission to use numbers to make sense of the world - pandemic or no pandemic. Are doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds disproportionately affected by Covid-19? Was the lockdown the decisive change which caused daily deaths in the UK to start to decrease? With much of the world’s population staying indoors, we ask what impact this might have on climate change and after weeks of staring out of the window at gorgeous April sunshine, does cruel fate now doom us to a rain-drenched summer? Plus, crime is down, boasts the home secretary Priti Patel. Should we be impressed?
Comparing countries' coronavirus performance9 perc 291. rész
Many articles in the media compare countries with one another - who’s faring better or worse in the fight against coronavirus? But is this helpful - or, in fact, fair? Tim Harford and Ruth Alexander discuss the limitations that we come across when we try to compare the numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths in different countries; population size, density, rates of testing and how connected the country is all play a role.
Bonus Podcast: Professor John Horton Conway14 perc 290. rész
John Horton Conway died in April this year at the age of 82 from Covid-19 related complications. An influential figure in mathematics, Conway’s ideas inspired generations of students around the world. We remember the man and his work with mathematician Matt Parker and Conway’s biographer Siobhan Roberts.
Comparing countries, the risk to NHS staff, and birdsong27 perc 289. rész
We compare Covid-19 rates around the world. Headlines say NHS staff are dying in large numbers, how bad is it? And is it just us, or have the birds started singing really loudly?
Superforecasting the Coronavirus8 perc 288. rész
Scientific models disagree wildly as to what the course of the coronavirus pandemic might be. With epidemiologists at odds, Tim Harford asks if professional predictors, the superforecasters, can offer a different perspective. (Image: Coronovirus graphic/Getty images)
Should you wear a face mask?8 perc 287. rész
Do face masks stop you getting coronavirus? You might instinctively think that covering your mouth and nose with cloth must offer protection from Covid-19. And some health authorities around the world say people should make their own masks. But expert opinion is divided. Tim Harford and Ruth Alexander unpick the arguments.
Coronavirus deaths, face masks and a potential baby boom27 perc 286. rész
Is the coronavirus related death count misleading because of delays in reporting? Do face masks help prevent the spread of the virus? Was a London park experiencing Glastonbury levels of overcrowding this week? And after reports of condom shortages, we ask whether there’s any evidence that we’re nine months away from a lockdown-induced baby boom. Plus in a break from Covid-19 reporting we ask a Nobel-prize winner how many Earth-like planets there are in existence.
Are more men dying from coronavirus?8 perc 285. rész
Tim Harford and Ruth Alexander examine the statistics around the world to see if more men are dying as a result of Covid-19, and why different sexes would have different risks. Plus is it true that in the US 40% of hospitalisations were of patients aged between 20 and 50?
Supermarket stockpiling, A-level results and Covid-19 gender disparity28 perc 284. rész
This week, we examine criticisms of Imperial College’s epidemiologists. We ask how A-Level and GCSE grades will be allocated, given that the exams have vanished in a puff of social distancing. Adam Kucharski, author of The Rules of Contagion, tells us about the history of epidemiology. We look at the supermarkets: how are their supply chains holding up and how much stockpiling is really going on. And is coronavirus having a different impact on men than on women?
The Risk9 perc 283. rész
Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, Chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, puts the risks of Covid-19 into perspective. He found that the proportion of people who get infected by coronavirus, who then go on to die increases with age, and the trend matches almost exactly how our background mortality risk also goes up. Catching the disease could be like packing a year’s worth of risk into a couple of weeks. (Mathematician and Risk guru, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter at the University of Cambridge. Credit: In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)
Coronavirus Special27 perc 282. rész
We’ve dedicated this special episode to the numbers surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic. Statistical national treasure Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter put the risks of Covid-19 into perspective. We ask whether young people are safe from serious illness, or if statistics from hospitalisations in the US show a high proportion of patients are under 50. We try to understand what the ever-tightening restrictions on businesses and movement mean for the UK’s economy, and we take a look at the mystery of coronavirus numbers in Iran. Presenter: Tim Harford
Mitigation or Suppression: What’s best to tackle Coronavirus?9 perc 281. rész
Last week, while schools and businesses across Europe closed in an attempt to halt the spread of Coronavirus the UK stood alone in a more relaxed approach to the pandemic; letting people choose whether they wanted to go to work, or socially distance themselves. This week, things have changed. Schools are closing for the foreseeable future and exams have been cancelled. The British government says their change of heart was based on the work scientists like Christl Donnelly from Imperial College London and the University of Oxford. So what has Christl found that has caused such concern? (Image: A lollipop lady helps children cross the road in Glasgow. Credit: EPA/Robert Perry)
The mystery of Iran’s coronavirus numbers13 perc 280. rész
Does Iran have a lot more covid-19 cases that its figures suggest?
How much heat do you lose from your head?9 perc 279. rész
Every winter its the same, someone will tell you to put a hat on to save your body from losing all of its heat. But how much heat do you actually lose from your head? We take you on a journey from arctic conditions to a hot tub in Canada to explain why there might actually be more than one answer... Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Leoni Robertson and Lizzy McNeill
Netflix vs the environment8 perc 278. rész
Does watching 30 minutes of Netflix have the same carbon footprint as driving four miles?
More or Less: Superforecasting, wood burning stoves and the real story of Hidden Figures25 perc 277. rész
Dipping into the archive for stories on the art of prediction and wood burner pollution
Artificial (not so) Intelligence8 perc 276. rész
Artificial Intelligence – or AI for short – is often depicted in films in the shape of helpful droids, all-knowing computers or even malevolent ‘death bots’. In real life, we’re making leaps and bounds in this technology’s capabilities with satnavs, and voice assistants like Alexa and Siri making frequent appearances in our daily lives. So, should we look forward to a future of AI best friends or fear the technology becoming too intelligent. Tim Harford talks to Janelle Shane, author of the book ‘You Look Like a Thing and I Love you’ about her experiments with AI and why the technology is really more akin to an earthworm than a high-functioning ‘death bot’.
WS More or Less: Coronavirus - The Numbers8 perc 275. rész
A lot has changed since our last episode covering the numbers behind the coronavirus - for a start it now has a name, Covid-19. This week news has broken that deaths are 20 per cent higher than thought, and the number of cases has increased by a third. Tim Harford talks to Dr Nathalie MacDermott, a clinical lecturer at King’s College London about what we know – and what we still don’t.
Coronavirus, jam, AI and tomatoes23 perc 274. rész
Covid-19 stats, spreading jam far and wide, cooking with AI, and James Wong on vegetables
WS More or Less: How fast are Alligators and Hippos?10 perc 273. rész
We all know that you should never smile at a crocodile, but rumour has it that alligators are great perambulators – at least that’s what a booklet about Florida’s wildlife claimed. Tim Harford speaks to John Hutchinson, Professor of evolutionary bio-mechanics to see whether he could outrun one of these reportedly rapid retiles. Also – our editor thinks he could outrun a hippo, is he right? (…probably not).
Tracking terror suspects28 perc 272. rész
Costing counter-terrorism, interrogating tomatoes, the UK's reading age, politics and GDP
WS More or Less: Coronavirus8 perc 271. rész
The WHO have declared a ‘Global Health Emergency’ as health officials are urgently trying to contain the spread of a new coronavirus in China and beyond; but not all the information you read is correct. We fact-check a particularly hyperbolic claim about its spread that’s been doing the rounds on social media.
Coronavirus, emotions and guns.28 perc 270. rész
Fact checking claims about coronavirus and whether more guns equal fewer homicides.
WS More or Less: Dozy Science9 perc 269. rész
Anxiety around sleep is widespread. Many of us feel we don’t get enough. An army of experts has sprung up to help, and this week we test some of the claims from one of the most prominent among them: Professor Matthew Walker. He plays ball and answers some of the criticisms of his bestselling book Why We Sleep.
Netflix and Chill28 perc 268. rész
The list of ways campaigners say we need to change our behaviour in response to climate change seems to grow every week. Now, streaming video is in the frame. We test the claim that watching 30 minutes of Netflix has the same carbon footprint as driving four miles. We hear scepticism about a report that sepsis is responsible for one in five deaths worldwide. Author Bill Bryson stops by with a question about guns – and gets quizzed about a number in his new book. And, how much sleep do we really need? Find out if we need more or less.
WS More or Less: Japan’s 99% Conviction Rate8 perc 267. rész
The fugitive former Nissan boss, Carlos Ghosn, has raised questions about justice in Japan. The government in Tokyo has defended its system, where 99% of prosecutions lead to conviction. Prof Colin Jones, from Doshisha Law School in Kyoto, explains what's behind this seemingly shocking statistic. And a listener asks if it’s true Canada’s is roughly the same. Toronto lawyer Kim Schofield sets them straight.
Weighing the Cost of Brexit16 perc 266. rész
Is it possible to calculate the cost of Brexit? Gemma Tetlow from the Institute for Government helps us weigh the arguments. How much does luck play into Liverpool FC's amazing season? And, crucially, how fast is an alligator?
WS More or Less: Bushfire mystery9 perc 265. rész
Have a billion animals died in Australia’s fires? And which ones are likely to survive?
Australian Animal Deaths, Carbon Emissions, Election Mystery34 perc 264. rész
Tim Harford on animal deaths in Australia's fires, how many Labour voters went Conservative and are UK carbon emissions really down 40%. Plus: have we really entered a new decade?
C-sections and sharks8 perc 263. rész
How many women in China give birth in hospitals, and whether it was true that 50% of births there are delivered by caesarean section. Oh, and we also mention guts and bacteria… Sharks kill 12 humans a year but humans kill 11,417 sharks an hour. That’s the statistic used in a Facebook meme that’s doing the rounds. Is it true?
Presidential candidates and dementia8 perc 262. rész
We talk about the age of some of the frontrunners in the Democrat nomination race and President Donald Trump and the health risks they face. Also, More or Less listeners were surprised by a claim they read on the BBC website recently: “Pets are estimated to be consuming up to 20 percent of all meat globally.” So we – of course – investigated and will explain all.
The Simpsons and maths8 perc 261. rész
We explore the maths secrets of The Simpsons on their 30th anniversary.
Koalas8 perc 260. rész
As bushfires rage in Australia, the plight of the koala made front-page news around the world. There were warnings that fires wiped out 80% of the marsupial's habitat and that koalas are facing extinction. We check the claims with the help of National Geographic's Natasha Daly and Dr Christine Hosking of the University of Queensland. (A Koala receives treatment at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie after its rescue from a bushfire. Credit: Safeed Khan/Getty Images)
Election Special (2/2)27 perc 259. rész
Labour's spending plans, Conservatives claims on homelessness, the SNP's education record
Tree Planting Pledges8 perc 258. rész
The UK General Election is fast approaching, top of the agenda are the political parties green ambitions and one particular initiative is garnering a lot of attention, tree planting. The Labour Party has the most ambitious target – a whopping 2 billion trees planted by 2040. How much land would this take, how does it stack up against other party pledges and what difference will it make? Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Lizzy McNeill
Election Special 1/227 perc 257. rész
50,000 nurses? 40 new hospitals? Big corporate tax rises? Childcare promises? Election pledges might sound good, but do they stand up to scrutiny? In the run up to the General Election on 12th December, Tim Harford takes his scalpel of truth to the inflamed appendix of misinformation. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Neal Razzell
Testing tomatoes8 perc 256. rész
Have these saucy fruits become less healthy over time?
The world’s busiest shipping lanes9 perc 255. rész
A listener wrote in asking which is the busiest shipping lane in the world. Ruth Alexander tries to find out with sea traffic analyst and former captain, Amrit Singh and Jean Tournadre, a researcher that uses satellite date to ships. Producer: Darin Graham Editor: Richard Vadon Image: Freighter ships in Thessaloniki, Greece Credit: Getty Images
Bolivia: Can statistics help detect electoral fraud?11 perc 254. rész
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s longest-serving leader and first indigenous president, stepped down last week amid weeks of protests sparked by a dispute over a recent presidential election in the country. His opponents say the election was rigged but the embattled former president said it was a cunning coup. We take a closer look at the election results and ask if statistics can tell whether it was fair or fraudulent. Dr Calla Hummel of the University of Miami and Professor Romulo Chumacero of the University of Chile join Ruth Alexander to discuss.
Reducing your risk of death8 perc 253. rész
Two statistics about reducing your risk of an early death made headlines around the world recently. The first seems to be a great reason to add a four-legged friend to your life. It suggests that owning a dog is tied to lowering your chance of dying early by nearly a quarter. The second statistic claims that even a minimal amount of running is linked to reducing your risk of premature death by up to 30%. Ruth Alexander finds out what’s behind these numbers and we hear from epidemiologist, Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz. Producer: Darin Graham
Unbelievable: The forgotten rape data8 perc 252. rész
In the United States, some police jurisdictions didn’t send off DNA evidence from people who were raped for testing in a crime lab and for uploading into a national criminal database. Instead, the sets of evidence, known as rape kits, were sat on shelves and in warehouses. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands need processing. In this edition, Ruth Alexander explores how some jurisdictions are testing the kits now and using the data to catch criminals. Producer: Darin Graham Presenter: Ruth Alexander (Untested sexual assault kits on warehouse shelves. Image: courtesy Joyful Heart Foundation)
Edith Abbott and crime statistics8 perc 251. rész
Social worker and economist Edith Abbott and her contribution to crime statistics.
Esther Duflo and women in economics20 perc 250. rész
Discussing Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer’s economics Nobel Prize.
The Extra Episode: Minimum wage, drinking in Scotland and identical twins.28 perc 249. rész
We explore the numbers behind the new minimum wage announcements, whether drinking is going up or down in Scotland, the truth about squeezing people onto the Isle of Wight and how long one identical twin lives after the other twin dies. You’ll want to hear our special extra episode.
WS More or Less: Does San Francisco have more rough sleepers than Britain?8 perc 248. rész
Are the shocking statistics true? and how do you count people who don't wish to be found?
New hospitals promised, aid to Ukraine, and bacon sandwiches27 perc 247. rész
Dissecting the government’s hospitals announcement and President Trump’s Ukraine claims.
WS More or Less: Who fought in World War 1?8 perc 246. rész
Were a third of those that fought for Britain in WW1 black or Asian?
Austerity Deaths, C-Sections and being struck by lightning23 perc 245. rész
Has Austerity caused 120 thousand deaths in the UK and does God hate men?
WS More or Less: Peaty v. Bolt: Which is the greatest world record?8 perc 244. rész
Using statistics to compare world records in athletics and swimming.
Dementia, inflation and shark deaths24 perc 243. rész
Health risks for Presidential hopefuls, falling inflation, shark deaths and salary claims
WS More or Less: Cape Town murders8 perc 242. rész
Are eight people a day murdered in Cape Town and is that number unusually high?
Maternal deaths, taxi driver earnings and statistical pop music24 perc 241. rész
Are black women five times more likely to die in childbirth? Plus making pop music.
WS More or Less: Deforestation in Brazil8 perc 240. rész
Has it increased significantly since President Bolsonaro took office in January?
Climate deaths, austerity and pet food24 perc 239. rész
Challenging the idea of six billion deaths due to climate change; plus what pets eat.
WS More or Less: Amazon forest fires8 perc 238. rész
Are they really 85 percent worse than last year?
Amazon fires, state pension and American burgers27 perc 237. rész
Are forest fires in Brazil the worst in recent times? What is the state pension worth?
WS More or Less: Ethiopia’s 350m trees in a day8 perc 236. rész
Were millions of trees planted in just one day in Ethiopia?
Exam grades, Chernobyl and Ethiopian trees24 perc 235. rész
Was your A Level grade correct? Plus were 350m trees planted in one day in Ethiopia?
Mice and mind blowing maths9 perc 234. rész
Re-inserting a caveat and discussing a really cool numbers trick.
Immigrant Crime Rate in the US8 perc 233. rész
Do immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans in the United States?
The spread of fact-checking in Africa8 perc 232. rész
With misinformation so easy to spread, how can it be stopped or challenged?
Pregnancy prohibitions – the evidence8 perc 231. rész
Taking a statistical look at what expectant mothers should avoid.
Missing women from drug trials9 perc 230. rész
How medical testing on just men causes problems.
Zimbabwe’s economy: Are sanctions to blame?8 perc 229. rész
We look at politicians’ claims that sanctions are to blame for Zimbabwe’s difficulties.
Two World Cups: Football and Cricket8 perc 228. rész
On this week’s More or Less, Ruth Alexander looks at the numbers involved with the two world cups that are going on at the moment. Are more men than women watching the Women’s World Cup and how accurate is the Cricket World Cup rule of thumb that suggests if you double the score after 30 overs you get a good estimate of the final innings total? Producer: Richard Vadon Image: Cricket World Cup Trophy 2019 Credit: Getty Images/ Gareth Copley-IDI
Is nuclear power actually safer than you think?9 perc 227. rész
We questioned the death count of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in last week’s More or Less podcast. In the end, Professor Jim Smith of Portsmouth University came up with an estimate of 15,000 deaths. But we wondered how deadly nuclear power is overall when compared to other energy sources? Dr Hannah Ritchie of the University of Oxford joins Charlotte McDonald to explore. Image:Chernobyl nuclear plant, October 1st 1986 Credit: Getty Images
Questioning the Chernobyl disaster death count15 perc 226. rész
The recent TV miniseries ‘Chernobyl’ has stirred up debate online about the accuracy of its portrayal of the explosion at a nuclear power plant in the former Soviet state of Ukraine. We fact-check the programme and try and explain why it so hard to say how many people will die because of the Chernobyl disaster. Image: Chernobyl nuclear power plant a few weeks after the disaster. Credit: Getty Images
WS More or Less: Dealing with the Numbers of Cancer9 perc 225. rész
How one woman used statistics to help cope with cancer.
WS More or Less: The things we fail to see9 perc 224. rész
The hidden influences that a make a big difference to the way the world works.
Are married women flipping miserable?23 perc 223. rész
Measuring happiness, university access in Scotland, plus will one in two get cancer?
WS More or Less: Volcanoes versus humans9 perc 222. rész
Does Mount Etna produce more carbon emissions than humans? We check the numbers.
Hay Festival Special27 perc 221. rész
What does it mean to say that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world?
WS More or Less: Florence Nightingale – recognising the nurse statistician10 perc 220. rész
How collecting data about the dead led the famous nurse to promote better sanitation.
Eurovision and fact-checking Naomi Wolf24 perc 219. rész
The stats behind making a successful song, plus misunderstanding Victorian court records.
Making music out of Money9 perc 218. rész
Data visualisation is all the rage, but where does that leave the old-fashioned values of audio? Some data visualisation experts are starting to explore the benefits of turning pictures into sound. Financial Times journalist Alan Smith plays his musical interpretation of a chart depicting the yield-curve of American bonds. Image: Human heart attack, illustration Credit: Science Photo Library
Heart deaths, Organised crime and Gender data gaps27 perc 217. rész
Are deaths from heart disease on the rise? This week the British Heart Foundation had us all stopping mid-biscuit with the news that the number of under 75s dying from cardiovascular disease is going up for the first time in half a century. It sounds like bad news – but is it? Does Huawei contribute £1.7billion to the UK economy? People were sceptical that the Chinese telecom company could contribute such a large amount to the UK economy. We take a deeper look at the number and discuss whether it is reasonable to include such a broad range of activities connected to the company to reach that figure. Deaths from organised crime The National Crime Agency (NCA) said this week that organised crime kills more people in the UK than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined. But what does the evidence say? The NCA also said that there are 181,000 offenders in the UK fueling serious and organised crime. That’s more than twice the strength of the British Army. We try to find out where those figures came from. The absence of women’s lives in data Do government and economic statistics capture the lives of women fairly? If not, does it matter? How could things be changed? Tim Harford speaks to Caroline Criado-Perez about her new book ‘Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.’ Image: Human heart attack, illustration Credit: Science Photo Library
Sex Every Seven Seconds15 perc 216. rész
We revisit some classic topics from past years. We hear which statistics about sex you should trust, and which are less robust. Do men think about sex every seven seconds? Plus, did the arrival of royal baby Princess Charlotte really contribute to the British economy?
Sex, coal, missing people and mice27 perc 215. rész
Sex Recession This week it was reported that British people are having less sex than they used to. Similar statistics are cropping up elsewhere in the world too. But one US stat seemed particularly stark: the number of young men having no sex at all in the past year has tripled in a decade. But is it true? No coal power for a week There were many reports in the newspapers this week saying the UK has set a new record for the number of consecutive days generating energy without burning any coal. So where is our electricity coming from? Missing people Some listeners got in touch to say they were surprised to hear that a person is reported missing in the UK every 90 seconds. Dr Karen Shalev Greene of the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons joins us to explore the numbers. In Mice One scientist is correcting headlines on Twitter by adding one key two-word caveat – the fact that the research cited has only been carried out "in mice". We ask him why he’s doing it.
Avengers - Should we reverse the snap?10 perc 214. rész
*Spoiler-free for Avengers: Endgame* At the end of Avengers: Infinity War film the villain, Thanos, snapped his fingers in the magical infinity gauntlet and disintegrated half of all life across the universe. The Avengers want to reverse the snap but would it better for mankind to live in a world with a population of less than 4 billion? Tim Harford investigates the economics of Thanos with anthropologist Professor Sharon DeWitte and fictionomics blogger Zachary Feinstein PHD. Image: The Avengers Endgame film poster Credit: ©Marvel Studios 2019
Nurses, flatmates and cats23 perc 213. rész
Nurse suicide rates There were some worrying figures in the news this week about the number of nurses in England and Wales who died by suicide over the last seven years. We try to work out what the numbers are really telling us. Are 27 million birds killed a year by cats? Newspapers reported this week that 27 million birds are killed by cats each year. We find out how this number - which might not really be "news" - was calculated. How rare are house shares? A listener got in touch to say she was surprised to read that only 3% of people aged 18 to 34 live in a house share with other people. She feels it must be too low – but is she living in a London house-sharing bubble? We find out. Proving that x% of y = y% of x Why is it that 4% of 75 is the same as 75% of 4? Professor Jennifer Rogers from the University of Oxford joins Tim in the studio to explore a mind-blowing maths ‘trick’. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Charlotte McDonald, Darin Graham and Beth Sagar-Fenton
Bernie Sanders and the cost of having a baby9 perc 212. rész
Bernie Sanders, a Senator in the United States and one of the front-runners in the campaign to be the Democratic presidential candidate, said on Twitter that it costs $12,000 to have a baby in his country. He compared that figure to Finland, where he said it costs $60. In this edition of More or Less, Tim Harford looks at whether Sanders has got his figures right. With Carol Sakala of US organisation Childbirth Connection and Mika Gissler of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland. Producer: Darin Graham Presenters: Tim Harford and Charlotte McDonald Image: A newborn baby's hand. Credit:Getty Images/TongRo Images Inc
Hottest Easter, Insects, Scottish villages27 perc 211. rész
Was it a surprise that Easter Monday was so hot? A heatwave struck the UK over Easter – and in fact Easter Monday was declared the hottest on record in the UK. But listeners asked - is it that surprising that it was the warmest when the date fell so late in April? We crunch the numbers supplied by the Met Office. Insectageddon Insects live all around us and if a recent scientific review is anything to go by, then they are on the path to extinction. The analysis found that more than 40% of insect species are decreasing and that a decline rate of 2.5% a year suggests they could disappear in 100 years. And as some headlines in February warned of the catastrophic collapse of nature, some More or Less listeners questioned the findings. Is insect life really in trouble? Collecting income tax from the 1% Recently Lord Sugar said in a Tweet “The fact is if you taxed everyone earning over £150k at a rate of 70% it would not raise enough to pay for 5% of the NHS.” Is that true? Helen Miller, Deputy Director and head of tax at the Institute for Fiscal Studies looks at how much such a policy might raise from the 1% of tax payers who earn over £150,000. Where is Scotland’s highest village? A battle is brewing in the Southern Scottish uplands between two rival villages. How can statistics help determine which village should take the crown? Wanlockhead and Leadhills both lay claim to the title of Scotland’s highest village but there can only be one winner. More or Less attempts to settle the age old dispute once and for all. Image: A man and woman sitting on deckchairs on the beach Credit: Getty Images
The economic impact of mega sporting events8 perc 210. rész
The Olympic Games and the football World Cup, two of the biggest events in the world which are each hosted every four years, are big business. And it costs a lot of money to host them, and a lot of the money comes from public funds. In this week’s edition of More or Less, we’ll be finding out – after all the sporting activities are over – how realistic were those economic predictions? Producer: Darin Graham Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Editor: Richard Vadon Picture Credit: Fang Guangming/Southern Metropolis Daily/VCG
Where is Scotland’s highest village?8 perc 209. rész
A battle is brewing in the Southern Scottish uplands between two rival villages. How can statistics help determine which village should take the crown? Wanlockhead and Leadhills both lay claim to the title of Scotland’s highest village but there can only be one winner. More or Less attempts to settle the age old dispute once and for all. Presenter: Phoebe Keane Picture: A village in the Southern Scottish uplands. Credit: Jan Halfpenny
Rounding up the weed killer cancer conundrum8 perc 208. rész
A recent scientific review claims the weed killer glyphosate raises the risk of developing the cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41 percent. But deciding what causes cancer can be complicated and there are lots of people and organisations on different sides arguing for against this. So in this edition of More or Less, we look at the disagreements and how the authors of the review came up with the results. With cancer epidemiologist Dr Geoffrey Kabat, Toxicologist Dr Luoping Zhang and statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter. Producer: Darin Graham Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Editor: Richard Vadon Picture: Tractor spraying a field of wheat Credit: Getty Images
Chess cheats and the GOAT10 perc 207. rész
Who is the greatest chess player in history? And what does the answer have to do with a story of a chess cheating school from Texas? In this week’s More or Less, the BBC’s numbers programme, David Edmonds finds out what a statistical analysis of chess moves can teach us about this ancient board game. Presenter: David Edmonds Producer: Darin Graham Image: A Chess Board Credit: Getty Images
Is Mansa Musa the richest person of all time?8 perc 206. rész
Mansa Musa, the 14th century Mali king, has nothing on Jeff Bezos - read one recent news report. Musa set off on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in the 1300s and it’s said he left with a caravan of 60,000 people. Among them were soldiers, entertainers, merchants and slaves. A train of camels followed, each carrying gold. In recent reports, he has been described as the richest person that ever lived. He has been compared to some of the wealthiest people alive today. But how can we know the value of the ‘golden king’s’ wealth and can we compare a monarch to the likes of Amazon founder Bezos? In this edition, historian Dr Emmanuel Ababio Ofosu-Mensah of the University of Ghana in Accra explains who Mansa Musa was and Kerry Dolan of Forbes talks to us about rich lists. Producer: Darin Graham Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Painting of Mansa Musa, Credit: Getty Images)
Day light saving time and heart attacks8 perc 205. rész
Does the sudden loss of an hour of sleep raise the risk of having a heart attack?
The gender gap in tech9 perc 204. rész
Are women really less likely than men to be hired for jobs in tech just because of their sex? A study claims that sexism in the recruitment process is holding women back from entering the tech sector. But the study is not all it seems. There are much better statistics that can help explain why fewer women than men work in tech in the USA and lessons to be learned from India, where there is a much smaller gender gap in the tech sector. Presenter: Phoebe Keane Photo: An engineer looking at information on a screen interface Credit: Metamorworks / Getty Images
Insectageddon12 perc 203. rész
Insects live all around us and if a recent scientific review is anything to go by, then they are on the path to extinction. The analysis found that more than 40 percent of insect species are decreasing and that a decline rate of 2.5 percent a year suggests they could disappear in one hundred years. And as some headlines in February warned of the catastrophic collapse of nature, some More or Less listeners questioned the findings. Is insect life really in trouble? Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Darin Graham (Image: Hairy hawker dragonfly. Credit: Science Photo Library)
How To Make Your Art Work More Valuable9 perc 202. rész
Die, sell on a sunny day, place your work a third of the way through the auction….There are some surprising factors that can affect the price of an art work. Here are six top tips on how to get the best price for your art or, for art buyers, how to make a big return on your investment. Presenter: Dave Edmonds Producer: Darin Graham Editor: Richard Vadon Picture Credit: BBC
WS More or Less: When maths mistakes really matter9 perc 201. rész
Tim Harford talks to Matt Parker on how simple maths mistakes can cause big problems.
Climate Change, Victorian Diseases, Alcohol23 perc 200. rész
Tim Harford on climate change, Victorian diseases, maths mistakes and alcohol consumption
WS More or Less: From the archives: Groundhogs and Kings18 perc 199. rész
Who can better forecast the weather – meteorologists or a rodent? What percentage of the English public are related to King Edward the III, and is malnutrition really on the rise in the UK? Sit back, relax and enjoy some of the good stuff from the More or Less archives.
Teen Suicide; Brexit Business Moves; Wood-Burner Pollution28 perc 198. rész
Tim Harford finds untrue a recent report that there is a 'suicidal generation' of teens.
WS More or Less: You have 15,000 likes!9 perc 197. rész
A listener doubts her popularity on the dating app Tinder. We investigate the numbers.
Holocaust Deniers; Venezuelan Hyperinflation; Tinder Likes28 perc 196. rész
Tim Harford on Holocaust deniers; food prices in Venezuela, and dating app statistics
WS More or Less: Is Suicide Seasonal?9 perc 195. rész
Tim Harford asks which times of the year are riskiest for suicide.
Domestic Violence, Jobs, Easter Snowfall23 perc 194. rész
Tim Harford on domestic violence, employment numbers, and the chance of a white Easter.
WS More or Less: Close Encounters of a Planetary Kind9 perc 193. rész
Which planet is closest to Earth?
Intersex Numbers, Fact-Checking Facebook, Jack Bogle30 perc 192. rész
Tim Harford asks whether 1.7% of people are intersex, and examines false claims about MPs
WS More or Less: The Mathematics of Fever10 perc 191. rész
We look at the numbers behind body temperature – what is normal?
Sugar, Outdoors Play and Planets28 perc 190. rész
Tim Harford on sugar, train fares, children's outdoors play and Earth's closest neighbour
WS More or Less: Numbers of the Year Part 28 perc 189. rész
Helena Merriman with numbers about water shortage, plastic recycling and American jobs.
WS More or Less: Numbers of the Year Part 18 perc 188. rész
The numbers that made 2018.
WS More or Less: Mission Impossible - Quantifiying Santa8 perc 187. rész
What to look out for on Christmas Eve.
WS More or Less: Dam Lies and Statistics8 perc 186. rész
Are mega-dams really sustainable?
WS More or Less: Sex and Heart Attacks8 perc 185. rész
Are women more likely to die from a heart attack than men?
WS More or Less: Are 90% of War Fatalities Civilians?16 perc 184. rész
Xavier Zapata examines what the data tells us about the deadly impact of war on civilians
WS More or Less: When’s a Kilogram Not a Kilogram?9 perc 183. rész
Updating the kilogram.
WS More or Less: Do Assassinations Work?8 perc 182. rész
How likely are assassination attempts on heads of state to succeed?
WS More or Less: Vaccines - The importance of the herd and social media11 perc 181. rész
What proportion of a population needs to be vaccinated to stop a disease spreading?
WS More or Less: Foreign Aid: Who’s the most generous?8 perc 180. rész
In foreign aid terms what’s the best way of measuring how generous a country is?
WS More or Less: Paul Romer and William Nordhaus’ Big Ideas9 perc 179. rész
The economists tackling climate change and growth.
Loneliness, School Funding, Same-Sex Divorce9 perc 178. rész
New figures reveal that same-sex divorce rates are much higher among women than among men. The pattern is the same in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Everywhere where there are statistics on same-sex divorce it is the same sex doing the bulk of the divorcing. Tim Harford discusses why this may be with Marina Ashdade, economist at Canada’s Vancouver School of Economics and author of Dirty Money, a book which applies economic ideas to the study of sex and love. Producer: Ruth Alexander (Photo: Same-sex wedding cake toppers. Credit: Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
WS More or Less: Why are Lesbians More Likely to Divorce than Gay Men?9 perc 177. rész
New figures reveal that same-sex divorce rates are much higher among women than among men. The pattern is the same in Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Everywhere where there are statistics on same-sex divorce it is the same sex doing the bulk of the divorcing. Tim Harford discusses why this may be with Marina Ashdade, economist at Canada’s Vancouver School of Economics and author of “Dirty Money”, a book which applies economic ideas to the study of sex and love. Producer: Ruth Alexander Image: Same-sex wedding cake toppers Credit: Lucas Schifres/Getty Images
Loneliness; School Funding; Same-Sex Divorce.20 perc 176. rész
This week BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind programme announced the results of The Loneliness Experiment. It was a large survey conducted by the programme in collaboration with the Wellcome Collection. The largest survey into the issue of loneliness to date, said All in the Mind, while the accompanying BBC press release reported that “The survey results indicate that 16-24 year olds experience loneliness more often and more intensely than any other age group. 40% of respondents aged 16-24 reported feeling lonely often or very often, while only 29% of people aged 65-74 and 27% of people aged over 75 said the same.” In the editors' notes, the press release cautions that “This was a self-selecting sample, so people experiencing loneliness might have been more attracted to take part, inflating reported levels of loneliness.” But much of the reporting by other BBC outlets and the wider media was not so restrained. Tim Harford speaks to Deirdre Toher from the University of the West of England about why the survey's results need careful interpretation. Listeners have been asking us to explain the schools funding row. When headteachers marched in protest at school spending last week, the Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb, went on BBC Radio 4's Today programme to say "We are spending record amounts on our school funding. We are the third highest spender on education in the OECD”. BBC Education correspondent Sean Coughlan explains how he discovered that the OECD figure includes university tuition fees paid by students. Is it true that "Polish Pilots Shot down 60% of German Aircraft on Battle of Britain Day"? Lizzie McNeill fact-checks this claim found on the side of a van. New figures reveal that same-sex divorce rates are higher among women than among men. Tim Harford discusses why this may be with Marina Ashdade, economist at the Vancouver School of Economics and author of “Dirty Money”, a book about the economics of sex and love. Plus, what makes a listener loyal? A nine-year debate rages on. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Ruth Alexander Image: A single fan sits in the stands before a college football game Credit: Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
WS More of Less: Surviving the Battle of Britain9 perc 175. rész
Were Spitfire pilots killed after an average of four weeks in the World War Two battle?
Surviving the Battle of Britain; the World Cup and Domestic Violence; Buckfast and Arrests in Scotland22 perc 174. rész
Tim Harford on Spitfire pilots, and whether football triggers violence in the home.
WS More or Less: Trump and the Puerto Rico Death Toll8 perc 173. rész
How can we calculate excess mortality after a natural disaster?
How Many Schoolchildren are Carers? Shareholder Income, and Museum Visitors Vs Football Fans25 perc 172. rész
Tim Harford on child carers, shareholder income, football vs museums and dangerous sports
WS More or Less: DNA - Are You More Chimp or Neanderthal?9 perc 171. rész
What is the difference between 96% similarity or sharing 20% of our DNA?
Male suicide, school ratings, are female tennis players treated unfairly by umpires?24 perc 170. rész
Tim Harford with statistics on suicide, good schools and sexism in tennis. Plus goats
WS More or Less: The Safest Car in the World?9 perc 169. rész
A listener asks whether his Volvo is the safest car on the road?
Heart Age Calculator; Danish Sperm Imports; Counting Goats23 perc 168. rész
Tim Harford questions the usefulness of a popular heart age calculator.
WS: More or Less - How well do you understand your world?8 perc 167. rész
Tim Harford talks to Bobby Duffy about why we are often wrong about a lot of basic facts
African Trade Tariffs; Alcohol Safe Limits; President Trump's Popularity23 perc 166. rész
Tim Harford fact checks EU trade deals with Africa, and whether one drink is one too many
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - Coffins Full of Car Keys28 perc 165. rész
BONUS PODCAST: For the rest of August, in addition to More or Less you’ll get a brand new podcast, Economics with Subtitles. It’s your everyday guide to economics and why you should care. In this edition, Ayeisha and Steve make sense of interest rates. Why did they lead to coffins full of car getting sent to the US Federal Reserve? What factors affect what you have to pay on your loans? And what do your film choices say about why you decide to borrow? Producers: Simon Maybin & Phoebe Keane Presenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja
WS: More or Less - Automated fact-checking8 perc 164. rész
Computer programmes are being developed to combat fake news.
A no-frills life, automated fact-checking and Lord-of-the-Rings maths24 perc 163. rész
What would have been the most efficient way to get to Mordor?
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - How Condoms Can Cost a Week’s Wages27 perc 162. rész
BONUS PODCAST: For the rest of August, in addition to More or Less you’ll get a brand new podcast, Economics with Subtitles. It’s your everyday guide to economics and why you should care. In this show, Ayeisha and Steve make sense of inflation. They’ll explain how hyperinflation is affecting how Venezuelans have sex, why you can’t afford a ticket to see your favourite band in concert anymore and why a sale on sofas isn’t always a good thing. Producers: Simon Maybin & Phoebe Keane Presenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja
WS More or Less: Are Wildfires Really Burning More Land?8 perc 161. rész
Are Wildfires in the United States and Southern Europe burning more land than before?
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - Bracelets for Bullets28 perc 160. rész
BONUS PODCAST: For the rest of August, in addition to More or Less you’ll get a brand new podcast, Economics with Subtitles. It’s your everyday guide to economics and why you should care. In this show, Ayeisha and Steve explore government debt. Why did an anonymous mother send her bracelet to the government to be turned into a bullet? How are you lending the government money without even realising? And when should you be worried about how much debt the government is in? Producers: Simon Maybin & Phoebe Keane Presenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja
Numbers Behind a Tweetstorm8 perc 159. rész
How do you get a hashtag to trend around the world?
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - How Buying Cocaine Helps the Government28 perc 158. rész
BONUS PODCAST: For the rest of August, in addition to More or Less, you’ll get four bonus editions of Economics with Subtitles. It’s a brand new podcast that will bring you an everyday guide to economics and why you should care. In this edition, Ayeisha and Steve look at how we quantify economic success. Should dodgy drug deals be included? What is Steve’s contribution to GDP? And should we ban people who pinch too many of your crisps? Producers: Simon Maybin & Phoebe Keane Presenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja
Carbs, Sugar and the Truth8 perc 157. rész
Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar?
Getting Creative with Statistics8 perc 156. rész
How big are your testicles and what does that mean?
Should we have smaller families to save the planet?10 perc 155. rész
Having one fewer child could be the biggest thing you do to reduce your carbon footprint
How to Cycle Really Fast8 perc 154. rész
How much better are the pros than the rest of us and how effective is slipstreaming?
Are there more stars than grains of beach sand?8 perc 153. rész
The astronomer, Carl Sagan, famously said that there were more stars in our Universe than grains of sand on the Earth’s beaches. But was it actually true? More or Less tries to count the nearly uncountable. Content warning: This episode includes gigantically large numbers. (Photo: The barred spiral galaxy M83. Credit: Nasa).
Running at the World Cup10 perc 152. rész
This week we take a look at some of the statistics which have caught our attention at the World Cup. There has been much debate in both the press and social media about the large distances which Russian football players have run in their first two games. We look at how they compare to other teams and what it might signify. Also –is it just bad luck that Germany has crashed out of the competition? Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Richard Vadon (Picture: Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates scoring against Saudi Arabia. Credit: Xin Li/Getty Images)
How many words do you need to speak a language?8 perc 151. rész
Ein Bier bitte? Loyal listener David made a new year's resolution to learn German. Three years later, that's about as far as he's got. Keen to have something to aim for, he asked More or Less how many words you really need to know in order to speak a language. Reporter Beth Sagar-Fenton finds out with help from Professor Stuart Webb, and puts Tim through his paces to find out how big his own English vocabulary is. (Image: The World surrounded by Flags. Credit: Shutterstock) Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Beth Sagar-Fenton Producer: Charlotte McDonald, Lizzy McNeill
FIFA World Cup Extravaganza8 perc 150. rész
The World Cup starts this week and the More or Less team is marking the event by looking at the data behind all the World Cups since 1966 (our data shows that this was the best world cup because England won). We’ll answer all football fans most burning questions; which World Cups have seen the most shots, fouls, dribbles and most importantly goals? Do the statistics back up the reputations of famous players like Pele, Cruyff, Maradona and Paul Gascoigne? And which of them actually committed the most fouls at one World Cup? Ben Carter talks to Author and Opta Sports football statistician Duncan Alexander about how the ‘beautiful game’ has changed…through numbers. (Picture: The World Cup, credit: Shutterstock)
WS More or Less: How Many Animals are Born Every Day?15 perc 149. rész
From penguins to nematodes, is it possible to count how many animals are born around the world every day? That’s the question one 10-year-old listener wants answered, and so reporter Kate Lamble sets off for the zoo to find out. Along the way, she discovers that very, very small animals are much more important than very, very big animals when it comes to the sums. (09.05) Artificial Intelligence or A.I. has been hailed as the answer to an easier life – but will it really make the world a better place, or just reinforce existing prejudices? Tim Harford speaks to author Meredith Broussard about ‘techno-chauvinism’.
Infant Mortality, How to Reduce Exam Revision With Maths, London’s Murder Rate24 perc 148. rész
(0.24) Infant mortality is on the rise in England and Wales – but is this change down to social issues such as obesity and deprivation, as claimed, or the way doctors count very premature babies? (9.45) A self-confessed lazy student wrote in to ask how he can minimise exam revision, while still ensuring a high chance of passing – we do the sums. (15.44) Do a billion birds really die each year by flying into buildings? We explain another zombie statistic which refuses to die. (18.40) It was reported earlier this year that London’s murder rate was higher than New York City’s – but how do the two cities compare now, and is there any value in these snapshot comparisons?
Counting Rough Sleepers12 perc 147. rész
How do you count the number of people sleeping rough? According to the latest official figures around 4700 people were sleeping in the streets in the autumn of 2017. And that got us thinking. These statistics aren’t just downloaded from some big database in the sky. They need – like any statistic – to be collected and calculated. So how is it done?
The High Street, Home Births and Harry Potter Wizardry20 perc 146. rész
Is WH Smith really the worst shop on the High Street? Harry Potter fans want to know how many wizards there are – we try to work it out. Is giving birth at home as safe as giving birth in hospital? (Photo: Mother and baby. Credit: Shutterstock)
WS More or Less: Australia Calling11 perc 145. rész
This week we tackle some of our listeners’ questions from Australia: do one in seven businessmen throw out their pants after wearing them once? This is a claim made by an expert talking about clothes waste – but what does it come from? Do horses kill more people than venomous animals? Australia is known for its dangerous wildlife, but how deadly is it for humans? Plus, a politician says lots of Australians have used cannabis – we take a look at the evidence. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker (Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)
Forecasting rain, teabags and voter ID trials23 perc 144. rész
(00.28) Reading the BBC weather app – we explain the numbers on the forecast (06:55) University of Oxford Admissions: how diverse is its intake? (11:37) Voter idea trial at the local elections – counting those who were turned away from the polling station. (15:46) How much tea do Brits drink? We investigate a regularly cited estimate (20:06) Are pensioners richer than people of working age?
WS More or Less: James Comey - Basketball Superstar?9 perc 143. rész
Former FBI Director James Comey is very, very tall – over two metres tall, or 6’8” - and many media outlets commented on his height during his recent run-in with President Trump. But to what extent does being very tall improve your chances of becoming a professional basketball player? In this week’s programme Tim Harford looks at the likelihood that James Comey – or any very tall person - might make it as a pro in the NBA. He speaks to data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz who has crunched the numbers on height and class to find out who is more likely to make it as a pro baller. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith (Picture: Former FBI Director James Comey, Credit: Shutterstock)
Poverty, Progress 8 and how green is grass?24 perc 142. rész
(0.22) Are more children from working families in poverty? (6.50) Progress 8 – explaining the new school league tables for England (12.51) Can a garden product really make your grass 6 times greener? (18.03) ‘Data is’ versus ‘data are’ (20.21) Royal Wedding economics
WS More or Less: Tulipmania mythology11 perc 141. rész
The story goes that Amsterdam in the 1630’s was gripped by a mania for Tulip flowers. But then there was a crash in the market. People ended up bankrupt and threw themselves into canals. This story is still being trotted out when people talk about financial markets, lately as a comparison to buying and selling bitcoin. But how much of what we know of the Tulip craze is fact, and how much is myth? We speak to Anne Goldgar at Kings College London who explains all.
Abortion, modern slavery, math versus maths23 perc 140. rész
(00:26) The UK abortion statistics gaining attention in Ireland’s referendum debate (03:49) Superforecasting author Phillip Tetlock talks to Tim Harford (09:51) Modern Slavery figures in the UK (17:43) Should you say math or maths?
WS More or Less: Exposing the biases we have of the world9 perc 139. rész
The great statistician, Hans Rosling, died in February last year. Throughout his life Hans used data to explain how the world was changing – and often improving – and he would challenge people to examine their own preconceptions and ignorance. Before he became ill, Hans had started working on a book about these questions and what they reveal about the mental biases that tend to lead us astray. Tim Harford speaks to his son Ola and daughter in law Anna who worked on the book with him.
Cancer screening, the Windrush Generation, Audiograms23 perc 138. rész
(0:32) Breast screening – the Numbers: 450,000 women have accidentally not been invited for breast cancer screening (07:26) Counting the Windrush Generation: What do we know about those who might be lacking documentation (11:15) Has Nigel Farage been on Question Time too often? We chart his appearances over 18 years (16:32) Painting a picture with an audiogram: Data journalist Mona Chalabi talks about her unusual approach to analysing numbers. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Charlotte McDonald Editor: Richard Vadon
WS More or Less: Puerto Rico - statistics versus politics10 perc 137. rész
The government of Puerto Rico has developed a plan to strip the island’s statistical agency of its independent board as part of a money saving enterprise. But as the Caribbean island recovers from a debt crisis and the devastation of Hurricane Maria which struck last year, many are questioning whether the move could have long reaching implications. Presenters: Tim Harford and Kate Lamble Producer: Kate Lamble (Photo: Damage to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: The La Perla neighbourhood, San Juan. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.)
Straws, women on boards, plus animals born each day23 perc 136. rész
Does the UK throw away 8.5 billion straws a year? (0’33’’) Women on FTSE 100 boards (4’35”) We explore whether the proportion of female directors has changed over time, and what it tells us about women in business. Using personal data for the public good (11’28”) Hetan Shah, the Executive Director of the Royal Statistical Society, talks about storing people’s data. How many animals are born every day? (15’39”)
WS More or Less: How Should We Think About Spending?8 perc 135. rész
Tim Harford talks to economist Dan Ariely about the psychology of money. They discuss how understanding the way we think about our finances can help us to spend more carefully and save more efficiently. Plus Dan explains how to never have an argument over sharing a restaurant bill again. (Photo: Mannequins in a shop window wearing sale t-shirts. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
WS More More or Less: Are We Breathing Unsafe Air?9 perc 134. rész
The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world? Plus Mt Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is calculating this? And how do they know the answer with such accuracy? (Photo: People wear masks as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant, Shanxi, China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
WS More or Less: Why London’s Murder Rate is Being Compared to New York’s8 perc 133. rész
London’s murder rate is on the rise – and for the first time ever it has just overtaken New York’s, according to a number of media outlets. But is it true? And is it appropriate for journalists to compare between the two cities? South Africa’s missing children statistics A viral Facebook post has suggested that one child is kidnapped every thirty seconds in South Africa. We examine the evidence which shows that a child is reported missing every nine hours to the police, and this includes more than just kidnappings. (Photo: Police officers inspect the scene of a knife attack in London. Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
WS More or Less: How Deadly Was 1920s Melbourne?8 perc 132. rész
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is one of Australia’s most popular television series and has been broadcast in 172 territories worldwide. Set in 1920’s Melbourne the series’ protagonist, Miss Phryne Fisher, seems to have a lot of dead bodies on her metaphorical plate. So how does the series compare with the real life murder rate at that time? Join the More Or Less team as we step back in time for some statistical sleuthing.
Were ‘extra’ votes counted in Russia’s presidential election?9 perc 131. rész
Last week Vladimir Putin won a second consecutive and fourth overall term as the Russian President. Official polling results from the election show he received over 76 percent of the vote, with a total turnout of 67 percent, but there were also widespread allegations of irregularities including inflated turnout figures. More or Less takes a closer look at the election data from Russia to see if these complaints have merit.
Factchecking Trump on Trade9 perc 130. rész
Whenever Donald Trump talks about trade he brings up one statistic again and again, the US trade balance. This is the relationship between the goods and services the US imports from other countries and what it exports – if America buys more from a country than that country buys from America there’s a deficit, and Trump claims America has a trade deficit with almost every country in the world. Is he right? We unpick whether President Trump is quoting the correct numbers on trade, hear how trade figures can vary widely between countries and ask if it’s the right approach to focus trade deal negotiations on reducing the US deficit. (Photo: President Donald Trump participates in a meeting with leaders of the steel industry at the White House, Washington, DC. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WS More or Less: Sir Roger Bannister9 perc 129. rész
After Sir Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes, did positive thinking propel dozens to do the same?
WS More or Less: Women, the Oscars and the Bechdel Test13 perc 128. rész
Are Hollywood films ignoring women? As this is the 90th year of the Academy Awards - we find out how many ‘Best Picture’ winners pass the Bechdel Test. This is a light-hearted way of challenging whether a film meets a low standard of female representation. They have to fulfil three criteria: are there at least two named female characters in the cast? Do those two women speak to each other? And do they have a conversation about something other than a man? In collaboration with the BBC’s 100 Women team, we reveal the answer but also look at what other ways we could be assessing representation in film.
WS More or Less: The Winter Olympics11 perc 127. rész
What’s the most successful nation? (0’40”) We look at population, GDP per capita and ski areas of the countries with the most medals. How do you judge a country’s ‘best’ performance? (3.45”) What are the chances of dead heat in a race? (6’35”) The two-man bobsleigh event ended in a dead heat with both Canada and Germany achieving a time of three minutes 16.86 seconds. Is this the coldest winter games? (8’41”)
WS More or Less: Debunking guide – on a postcard10 perc 126. rész
How to question dubious statistics in just a few short steps.
UN rape claims, Stalin and Mr Darcy28 perc 125. rész
How many people have UN staff raped? – (0’40’’) It was reported in a number of the newspapers this week that UN staff are responsible for 60,000 rapes in a decade. The wealth of Mr Darcy – (5’10”) The male love interest of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is supposed to be fabulously wealthy. Is he? How many people did Stalin kill? – (10’00”) Why there are so many different figures reported. Avoid splitting the bill – (18’25”) Credit card roulette is Dan Ariely’s preferred way of ending a meal with friends. Gender in literature – (22’15”)How are women depicted in books? Author Ben Blatt does an analysis.
WS More or Less: Has Russian Drinking Fallen by 80% in five years?6 perc 124. rész
Alcohol consumption has fallen sharply according to Russia’s health ministry
The Dow, Tampons, Parkrun part II28 perc 123. rész
Why the biggest ever fall in the Dow wasn't, and how much do women spend on tampons?
WS More or Less: Is China On Track to End Poverty by 2020?13 perc 122. rész
A key pledge of the Chinese President Xi Jinping is that China will have eradicated poverty by 2020. It’s an extraordinary claim, but the country does have a good track record in improving the wealth of its citizens; the World Bank says China has contributed more than any other country to global poverty reduction. So how does China measure poverty? And is it possible for them to make sure, over the next few years, that no one falls below their poverty line? Photo: A woman tends to her niece amid the poor surroundings of her home's kitchen Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Transgender Numbers, Parkrun and Snooker31 perc 121. rész
How many transgender people are there in the UK? The UK produces official statistics about all sorts of things – from economic indicators to demographic data. But it turns out there are no official figures for the number of transgender people in the UK. We explore what we do know, and what is harder to measure. Do 4% of the population drink nearly a third of the alcohol? According to recent headlines, just 4% of the population drink nearly a third of the alcohol sold in England. But can so few people really account for so much of the countries bar tab? We find out where the statistic came from. Bank of England’s Mark Carney says no to RPI At a hearing of the House of Lords’ economic affairs committee, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said it would be useful to have a single measure of inflation for consumers – and that CPI was a much better measure than RPI, which he said had “no merit”. We find out why with the FT’s Chris Giles. A statistical take on parkrun Every weekend over 1.5 million people run 5,000m on Saturday mornings for parkrun which is a free event that takes place all over the UK and indeed across the globe. Each runner is given a bar code, which is scanned at the end of the run and fed into a database showing them what place they came in their race– we take a look at which courses are the fastest, slowest, hardest and easiest. Testing for a cough correlation between snooker and smoking A listener emailed us this week to ask whether you can connect the number of coughs during snooker matches to the decline in smoking. We got counting to see if the theory was a trick shot - with help from John Virgo. Photo: Jimmy White Credit: Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Is the US Census Under Threat?9 perc 120. rész
The survey question that could affect the accuracy of its results. The United States are due to run their next nationwide census in 2020, but already critics are warning that underfunding and proposed question about citizenship could affect the accuracy of its results. We look at the real life consequences if groups choose not to complete the 2020 census, and ask whether the recent politically charged debate is unusual in its two hundred year history. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Kate Lamble Photo: Concerned woman holding a clipboard and a pen Credit: Nicolas McComber/Getty Images
A Girl's First Time, Shark's Stomachs, Prime numbers23 perc 119. rész
First sexual experience - checking the facts A short film for the Draw A Line campaign has made the claim that one in three girls first sexual experience is rape. This seems shockingly high, but what is the evidence? Is it just for the UK or a global figure? We go back to the reports that were used to source the claim, and find the research has been misinterpreted. How long can a shark go for without eating? A recent episode of Blue Planet II stated that after a large meal a Sixgill shark might not have to eat for 'up to an entire year'. Tim Harford speaks to Dr David Ebert, a shark expert who has studied the stomach contents of Sixgills over the years. And to Professor Alex Roger, a zoologist who advised the Blue Planet team, to try and find out how accurate the claim is and why the deep sea is still a mystery. The wonder of Prime Numbers Oxford mathematician Vicky Neale talks about her new book - Closing The Gap - and how mathematicians have striven to understand the patterns behind prime numbers. Multiple grannies A Swiss mummy has recently been identified as a distant ancestor of Boris Johnson. But some people have been getting tangled up over just how many great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmothers the Foreign Secretary might have. We tackle an email from one listener - none other than the broadcaster Stephen Fry.
WS More or Less: Real Lives Behind the Numbers8 perc 118. rész
If you ask an economist to explain what is happening in a country’s economy. They rely on economic data points to describe what is happening – they might talk about the unemployment rate, average wages, and the numbers of people in poverty. They pull together the information available for thousands or millions of people to work out trends. But are we getting the whole picture? We speak to Rachel Schneider, co-author of the book, ‘The Financial Diaries’. It’s based on a large study in the USA. Over a period of a year from 2012 to 2013, researchers interviewed several families about how they were managing their money to find out the personal stories behind economic data. Presenter and Producer: Charlotte McDonald (Photo: A couple looking at their finances. Credit: Wayhome Studio/Shutterstock)
Gender Pay Gaps and How to Learn a Language27 perc 117. rész
Gender Pay Gap This week the Office for National Statistics has published analysis trying to find out why it is that on average women are paid less than men in specific industries and occupations. We examine their findings, as well as taking a look at the current discussion about equal pay at the BBC. Alcohol reaction times We take a look at a study that suggests that people's reaction speeds are affected over time by regular drinking. It recommends that official guidelines for the amount of alcohol consumed a week should be lowered. But what does the evidence show? Bus announcements - when is too many? Transport for London has introduced a new announcement on its buses to warn travellers that the bus is about to move. We discuss the benefit of such messages. How many words do you need to speak a language? Ein bier bitte? Loyal listener David made a new year's resolution to learn German. Three years later, that's about as far as he's got. Keen to have something to aim for, he asked More or Less how many words you really need to know in order to speak a language. We find out with help from Professor Stuart Webb, and put Tim through his paces to find out how big his own English vocabulary is. Producer: Charlotte McDonald. (Photo: Man and woman working on a car production plant. Credit: SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images)
WS More or Less: How Louis Bachelier Scooped Economists by Half a Century9 perc 116. rész
A forgotten French mathematician is the focus of our programme. He anticipated both Einstein's theories and the application of maths to the stock market. Born in the 1870s, his work was unusual at the time. With the help of Alison Etheridge, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, we explain how his ideas were rediscovered decades after his death. (Photo: Pocket watch. Credit: Kanyapak Lim/Shutterstock)
Missed appointments, graduate pay, plus cocaine on bank notes28 perc 115. rész
Did missed appointments cost the NHS £1 billion last year? New figures published recently suggest that the financial cost to the NHS for missed appointments was £1 billion last year. But our listeners are curious. How has this figure been worked out? And don’t missed appointments actually ease the pressure on an overcrowded system? Graduate pay – is it always higher than non-graduates’ pay? It is often claimed that if you go to university and get a degree, you will earn more than those who do not. But is that always true? We take a look to see if there are occasions when having a degree makes little difference or whether the benefit of a degree has changed over time. How much cocaine is on a bank note? Tim Harford speaks to Richard Sleeman who works for a firm, Mass Spec Analytical, that specialises in working out how much cocaine can be found on bank notes across the country. Do some parts of the country have more cocaine on their notes than others? Is it true that 99% of bank notes in London have cocaine on them? Is it true that one in five can’t name an author of literature? Last year the Royal Society of Literature made this claim – but what was it based on? It turns out a polling company found that 20 percent questioned failed to name a single author. Should we be surprised? We took a look at the data. Diet Coke Habit The New York Times claims that Donald Trump drinks ‘a dozen’ Diet Cokes a day. With each can of 330ml containing 42mg of caffeine - what impact, if any, could this have on the President’s health?
WS More or Less: Just how rare is a hole-in-one?8 perc 114. rész
Why it isn’t as simple to work out as you think.
More or Less: Statistics of the Year 20179 perc 113. rész
Phones, lawn mowers and how Kim Kardashian helped the public understanding of risk.
WS More or Less: Will Bitcoin use more electricity than the United States?9 perc 112. rész
Measuring the energy used to keep the cryptocurrency secure.
WS More or Less: Diet Coke Habit; 'Contained' Wildfires9 perc 111. rész
Could the US President’s Diet Coke habit affect his health? and 'contained' wildfires
WS More or Less: Does Eating Chocolate Make Your Brain Younger?10 perc 110. rész
Headlines claim that eating chocolate can protect you from developing Alzheimer’s disease. The theory is that bioactives within chocolate called flavanols can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and even make your brain 30 years younger! But isn’t this all a bit too good to be true? The BBC’s Head of Statistics, Robert Cuffe, investigates whether research findings are misrepresented by funders, PR machines and the media. Presenter: Robert Cuffe Producer: Lizzy McNeill
WS More or Less: Just how lucky are regular lottery winners?10 perc 109. rész
Are some people just very lucky? The maths suggest that is unlikely.
WS More or Less: How Rich was Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy?8 perc 108. rész
What the Pride and Prejudice character would have earned in today’s money.
How expensive is Italy's World Cup failure?8 perc 107. rész
The Italians are calling it the apocalypse. Their team has failed to make it to the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. But it is about more than just national pride - there is a financial cost too. Some have suggested that it will cost FIFA $100m. Is this really true? We speak to sports writer Graham Dunbar who has been counting how much money football's world governing body might lose out on. Also we fact check the claim that 45% of Nigerian women marry before their 18th birthday. Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Xavier Zapata (Image: Alessandro Florenzi of Italy at the end of the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier play-off, November 13, 2017. Credit: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
WS More or Less: Why Albums are Getting Longer13 perc 106. rész
Chris Brown’s latest album is stuffed with so many songs it runs at a sprawling two hours and twenty minutes. It’s only the latest in a string of lengthy album releases that includes artists like Drake, The Weeknd and Lil B. More or Less speaks to Hugh McIntyre, a music journalist who has found out that a numerical change in the way the album charts are measured is tempting artists into making longer albums. We also talk to Marc Hogan, a senior writer at Pitchfork, about a number that is changing the sound of pop music. You can find more of Marc Hogan's writing on pitchfork.com Presenter: Jordan Dunbar Producer: Xavier Zapata (Chris Brown performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards. Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)
WS More or Less: Do Nigerian lawmakers get $1.7m and do Yams cause twins?8 perc 105. rész
Finding out if Nigerian politicians really get paid more than the American President.
WS More or Less: Novelists in numbers8 perc 104. rész
Counting the favourite words of well-known authors: Stephen King, Hemingway and others
WS More or Less: Are US millennials more politically engaged online?8 perc 103. rész
Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics?
How Richard Thaler changed Economics22 perc 102. rész
The behavioural economist who has inspired governments around the world.
WS More or Less: Kilobyte to Brontobyte8 perc 101. rész
Naming the monster numbers - how the names of digital storage files evolved.
WS More or Less: Big polluters - ships versus cars9 perc 100. rész
Do the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world?
Uber; EU passports; counting domestic violence24 perc 99. rész
Is Uber safe? The post Brexit dual nationality surge and measuring partner abuse.
WS More or Less: Sperm - Are we going extinct?9 perc 98. rész
How much of a problem is falling sperm count?
Statistics abuse, tuition fees and beer in 188725 perc 97. rész
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is accused of mis-using official statistics.
WS More or Less: How to measure a Hurricane9 perc 96. rész
What’s the best way to measure a hurricane?
Are Natural Disasters on the Rise?25 perc 95. rész
Has the number of natural disasters really quadrupled in the last forty years?
WS More or Less: More Horses than Tanks?9 perc 94. rész
Is the UK the only country with more horses than tanks in its army?
Electric cars, school-ready and feedback25 perc 93. rész
Will we need more power stations? Plus, are children in Manchester ready for school?
One in 500 Year Storm6 perc 92. rész
Experts are saying that Houston just suffered a one in 500 year storm but what does that mean?
Grenfell Tower's Death Toll27 perc 91. rész
The difficulties of finding the true number of people who died in the fire.
Fantasy Football - How to win10 perc 90. rész
Figuring out the best strategy as a wannabe team manager.
A-levels, drowning and dress sizes27 perc 89. rész
Are boys getting more top A Level grades than girls? Plus why are dress sizes so weird?
The Trump Bump10 perc 88. rész
During a recent press conference President Trump said: “I’ve created over a million jobs since I’m president. The country is booming. The stock market is setting records. We’ve got the highest employment numbers we have ever had I the history of our country.” This is not the first time the American President has taken credit for a booming economy. But is that fair? We take a look at the numbers.
Are there 15,000 transgender people serving in the US military?8 perc 87. rész
President Trump says transgender individuals cannot serve, but how many do already?
Why is Kenya’s election so expensive?8 perc 86. rész
On Tuesday Kenyans go to the polls to elect members of parliament and the next president. A report in Quartz Africa has estimated that the cost of putting on the election by the Government works out at around $25 per head – $480 million in total. It also estimated that it cost Rwanda $1 a head, and Uganda $4 a head to lay on elections. Recently an expert on this programme estimated that the UK General election cost about $4 a head. We explore why there is such a difference in the amounts spent.
More boys than girls in Sweden?8 perc 85. rész
Exploring if an influx of teenage boys claiming asylum skewed the population’s sex ratio
Maryam Mirzakhani – A Genius of Maths9 perc 84. rész
Celebrating the only woman to win the biggest prize in mathematics.
Calling the shots at Wimbledon8 perc 83. rész
Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis is the theme this week. In this digital age we are used to information at our fingertips. This week More or Less finds out how every rally, every shot at this tennis championship is counted and makes its way to our phones, desktops and TV screens. And once you have this information – what can you do with it? Is it useful for players and coaches? Traditionally, players will take a risk on their first chance to serve, and hit the ball as fast as they can, knowing that they have a second chance. On their second attempt, players tend to serve more slowly and carefully to make sure it goes in. But could the statistics show they might as well take a risk again? (Venus Williams plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles first round match against Elise Mertens at Wimbledon. Credit: Getty Images)
Is Steph Curry cheap and how random is random?8 perc 82. rész
Are top basketball players underpaid? The American basketballer Stephen Curry has just signed the biggest contract in NBA history. The new deal will pay him $200 million over 5 years but amazingly, according to fellow superstar player Lebron James, he’s probably being underpaid. It may sound ridiculous but economists agree. How can this be true? We look at the economics of superstar sports salaries. The mystery of Ryanair’s seat allocation Ryanair carries more international passengers a year than any other airline. The European budget carrier is renowned for its low cost seats. If you want to guarantee seating next to people you book with, you have to pay extra. Otherwise, Ryanair says it will allocate seats randomly. We speak to statistician Dr Jennifer Rogers from the University of Oxford about her doubts over the ‘random’ nature of the seat allocation. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Charlotte McDonald and Richard Vadon
In Search of Woodall Primes20 perc 81. rész
It’s the 100 year centenary of an obscure type of prime number – the Woodall Primes. To celebrate, stand-up mathematician Matt Parker is calling on listeners to search for a new one. Ordinary citizens can already help search for Mersenne Prime numbers by lending computer processing power to GIMPS – the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. Matt explains to Tim Harford what a Woodall Prime is, and why it deserves more attention. Also - Making penalty shoot-outs fairer - 60% of penalty shoot-outs are won by the team going first, can this unfairness be overcome? (image Matt Parker / photographer: Steve Ullathorne)
How rare are deadly tower block fires?8 perc 80. rész
How statistics can help us understand the tragic fire at London’s Grenfell Tower.
Trumpton Extra16 perc 79. rész
The Voice of 1960s British children’s TV series ‘Trumpton’, Brian Cant, died this week. The More or Less team has visited the town of Trumpton on a number of occasions so we have brought together a handful of our favourites as a tribute.
Post-Election Special29 perc 78. rész
The results of the general election are in - but what do they mean? Did more young people vote than expected? Have we now got a more diverse parliament? How many extra votes would Jeremy Corbyn have needed to become Prime Minister - these are just some of the claims and questions that have been floating around on social media and in the press. Tim Harford and the team are going to analyse, add context and try and find answers.
WS More or Less: Are African football players more likely to die on the field?9 perc 77. rész
Cheick Tiote, the much loved former Newcastle United player collapsed and died while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises earlier this month. His death and that of other black footballers have caused some commentators to ask – are African or black players more likely to die while playing than other people? The data of footballers deaths is pretty poor but we try to glean some answers from the scant numbers available. It look like one of the most common causes of death among players on the pitch is cardiac arrest – son is this is a greater risk factor for people of African heritage? We speak to statistician Dr Robert Mastrodomenico and Professor Sanjay Sharma, a specialist in sports cardiology. Presented and produced by Jordan Dunbar and Charlotte McDonald
UK Election extra14 perc 76. rész
This podcast is a compilation of interviews by the More or Less team with Eddie Mair from Radio 4’s PM programme. Each interview features a different claim or hotly discussed topic from the UK general election campaign: from school funding, to numbers of armed police officers.
WS More or Less: Samba, strings and the story of HIV9 perc 75. rész
Trumpets are blasting in this week’s musical episode. But can medical statistics be transformed into a jazzy night out? That was the challenge which epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani set for composer Tony Haynes. This June, his Grand Union Orchestra will be performing Song of Contagion, an evening of steel pans, saxophones and singers telling the story of diseases including Zika and AIDs. We met Elizabeth and Tony in an East London music studio, to hear Song of Contagion come together for the very first time. Producer: Hannah Sander (Photo: Detail close up of French Horn musical instrument, part of the Brass family of instruments. Credit: Shutterstock)
Election Special: Tax, borders and climate29 perc 74. rész
On this final programme of the series we try to give some context to some of the issues that are being discussed during the current election campaign. Who pays tax? What proportion of adults are paying income tax? How much are they paying? Where does the highest burden lay? We take a look. Also, we look at the different political parties’ tax policies. This includes corporation tax, but what about National Insurance? How do you cut migration? The Conservative manifesto again includes the aim to lower net migration to tens of thousands. How has this aim fared in the last six years? And what could the Conservatives do in future years to achieve their goal? We also take a look at what impact that might have on the economy. Taking the nations’ temperature Summer has arrived – but we cast our minds to the chilly months ahead and think about the Winter Fuel Payment. The Conservatives are proposing to change this to a means-tested system – everywhere except Scotland. Is this because Scotland is colder than the rest of the UK? BBC Weather Man Phil Avery has the answer. Free School Meals It’s been a popular topic in party manifestos - free school meals. Jamie Oliver thinks school dinners are essential for fighting obesity – but is there really a case to be made for the health benefits of a school lunch? Emily Tanner from the National Centre for Social Research puts the case for and against Universal Free School Meals – while munching a pie and a packed lunch.
WS More or Less: Have 65% of future jobs not yet been invented?9 perc 73. rész
Our entire education system is faulty, claim experts. They worry that schools don’t prepare kids for the world outside. But how could anyone prove what the future will be like? We set off on a round-the-world sleuthing trip to trace a statistic that has been causing headaches for students, teachers and politicians alike. Helping us on our quest are educators Cathy Davidson, Daisy Christodoulou and Andrew Old – plus a little bit of Blade Runner and a lot data-wrangling. Producer: Hannah Sander (Photo: Classmates taking part in peer learning. Credit: Shutterstock)
Spies, care homes, and ending sneak peeks23 perc 72. rész
Can security services follow everyone known to them? The attack on Manchester Arena took place exactly four years since the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. Back in 2013 we broadcast an interview with the former Head of MI5, Dame Stella Rimmington, about the difficulties of monitoring people who have been flagged up to the services. We are re-visiting that interview. Chances of ending up in a care home There are around 11.6 million people over the age of 65 in the UK, but how many need social care services? A listener got in chances to say that he was 72 - what are the chances that he will need social care services in his lifetime? We look at the numbers of people in both residential care and receiving formal care services in the home currently. Penalty shoot outs update A few weeks ago we explained UEFA's new procedure for carrying out penalty shoot outs. We bring news of how that system is playing out, and how a loyal listener has spotted a famous pattern in Blur's song, 'Girls and Boys'. Stop sneak peak access For years statisticians have been calling for an end to the practice of allowing ministers and officials to see official numbers before everyone else. Why does it matter? We tell the strange tale exploring whether economic data is leaked to City traders before its official publication. Could pre-release access to Government statistics be behind strange movements on financial markets? With help from Mike Bird of the Wall Street Journal, and Alex Kurov of the University of West Virginia, we take a look at the evidence. Also - a tribute to Sir Roger Moore.
WS More or Less: Uganda’s refugees9 perc 71. rész
Has Uganda been accepting more refugees on a daily basis than some European countries manage in an entire year? That is the claim from the Norwegian Refugee Council – and it is a claim we put to the test. Civil war and famine in South Sudan have forced millions to leave their homes, and this has had a colossal impact on neighbouring Uganda. We speak to Gopolang Makou, a researcher at Africa Check who has some startling figures to share. (Photo: Children wait as WFP, 'World Food Programme' prepare to deliver food aid at the Bidi Bidi refugee camp Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Tax, speed dating and sea ice24 perc 70. rész
Exploring the Labour manifesto's tax plans for high earners.
Nurses' pay, Scottish seats, Penalty shootouts23 perc 69. rész
What is happening to nurses pay? Amid reports of nurses using food banks, Jeremy Hunt said he doesn’t recognise claims their wages are worth less now than in 2010. He says nurses are actually paid £31,000 - more than the average person. If he’s right, why do so many nurses say they’re earning much less than that? The Great Scottish Election Conspiracy The reporting of the Scottish council elections has caused a bit of a stir. Did the SNP lose seven seats or gain six. The media including the BBC reported that they had lost seats, the many SNP supporters are sure that this isn’t a fair representation of their performance. This all hinges on how you look at the results last time around and how you account for the major boundary review that took place between elections. Tim tries to get to the bottom of what has happened with Professor David Denver from Lancaster University. Penalty shootout maths What do coffee, stew and nerve-biting football finales have in common? Maths whizz and football aficionado Rob Eastaway explains all. UEFA, European football’s governing body, is currently trialling a new system for penalty shootouts. But what is the maths behind the new system – and could a century-old Scandinavian mathematical sequence offer a better approach? Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Charlotte McDonald
WS More or Less: Is my Baby a Giant?9 perc 68. rész
All over the world mothers are given numbers as their baby grows. The numbers are from ‘growth charts’ showing how a baby is developing in comparison to others. Seven month old Baby Arlo has particularly big numbers, so much so that his parents are worried he’s one of the biggest babies in America. But where do these numbers come from? Is it an average? Why do they measure a baby’s head? Reporter Jordan Dunbar sets out to find out how we get these baby numbers and just how big Baby Arlo is. Presenter: Tim Harford and Jordan Dunbar Producer: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar
WS More or Less: An urban maze9 perc 67. rész
Why some parts of town are hard to navigate.
Is Crime Rising?24 perc 66. rész
It looks like homicides are on the rise - but better check the footnotes
WS More or Less: The Maths of Dating9 perc 65. rész
How to use mathematics to find your partner. And, how reliable are pregnancy due dates?
Fact-checking Boris Johnson28 perc 64. rész
Giant bombs, a war hero and the foreign secretary's stats.
WS More or Less:The death rate of white Americans – What’s going on?9 perc 63. rész
Are middle-aged white Americans dying younger than other groups?
Living standards and Kate Bush maths23 perc 62. rész
Are people's incomes falling? Plus singing Pi like Kate Bush
WS More or Less: The Ignorance Test9 perc 61. rész
How much do you know about the world?
Economics of Overbooking24 perc 60. rész
Why airlines bet that not everybody will turn up for a flight.
WS More or Less: Could North Korea Wipe out 90% of Americans?9 perc 59. rész
A single nuclear weapon could destroy America’s entire electrical grid, claims a former head of the CIA. The explosion would send out an electromagnetic pulse – resulting in famine, societal collapse and what one newspaper has called a “Dark Apocalypse”. But are hungry squirrels a greater threat to the electrical grid than North Korean weapons? We speak to senior security adviser Sharon Burke and Yoni Applebaum from The Atlantic. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Hannah Sander
WS More or Less: Will one in four people develop a mental health problem?9 perc 58. rész
The claim that “one in four” of us will suffer from a mental health problem is popular amongst campaigners, politicians and the media. But this leads you to a simple question – where is this figure from and what’s the evidence? This was exactly what neuroscientist Jamie Horder asked, and far from being simple, it led him on quite a journey. So do we really know how many people are likely to develop mental health problems – Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald find out. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Elizabeth Cassin
WS More Or Less: Baby Boxes – are they really saving infant’s lives?9 perc 57. rész
Ever since a BBC article highlighted the use of baby boxes in Finland they have become a bit of a phenomenon. They’re not new though Finland has been doing this for 75 years. The simple cardboard boxes are given to families for their new born babies to sleep in. Since their introduction cot death and has fallen and child health improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But think about for minute – can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect – Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been looking at the truth behind the story. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Elizabeth Cassin (Photo:One of Scotland's first baby boxes is seen at Clackmannanshire Community Health Centre. Credit: Getty Images)