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More or Less: Behind the Stats

BBC

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

Location:

London, United Kingdom

Networks:

BBC

Description:

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

Language:

English


Episodes

Per capita GDP, MP claims and the entire EU budget

2/21/2024
What does per capita GDP tell us about the UK economy? Did the government spend £94bn helping with rising energy prices? Was Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg right about the cost of the EU covid recovery scheme? How did Ben Goldacre persuade scientists to publish all their medical research? Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Reporters: Nathan Gower and Lucy Proctor Producers: Debbie Richford, Perisha Kudhail, Olga Smirnova Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Sound mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:28:23

The digital ‘robots’ unlocking medical data

2/17/2024
Big medical datasets pose a serious problem. Thousands of patients’ health records are an enormous risk to personal privacy. But they also contain an enormous opportunity – they could show us how to provide better treatments or more effective health policies. A system called OpenSAFELY has been designed to solve this problem, with the help of a computer code “robot”. Professor Ben Goldacre, director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford, explains how it works. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Janet Staples Sound mix: Hal Haines Editor: Charlotte McDonald

Duration:00:09:47

Debt, students, shark and chips

2/14/2024
What is the government’s fiscal rule on the national debt? Are international students stealing places from the UK’s young people? How much social housing is really being built? Do 90% of chip shops sell shark and chips? Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Janet Staples Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Charlotte McDonald

Duration:00:28:35

The global gender split in young people’s politics

2/9/2024
In a surprising new trend, young men and women around the world are dividing by gender on their politics and ideologies. Whilst young women are becoming more liberal, young men are becoming more conservative. Tim Harford speaks to John Burn-Murdoch, Columnist and Chief Data Reporter at the Financial Times, about why this global phenomena may be occurring and Dr Heejung Chung, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, explains why the ideological divisions between young men and women in South Korea are some of the most extreme. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom Colls Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: A couple with their back to each other busy with their mobile phones Credit: Martin DM / Getty)

Duration:00:08:58

Council tax weirdness: Hartlepool vs Westminster

2/7/2024
Do you really pay more in council tax on a semi in Hartlepool than a mansion in Westminster? How do the Office for National Statistics work out how much the UK population is going to grow by? How much do junior doctor strikes cost? Is home grown veg worse for climate change than veg grown on a farm? Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower, Debbie Richford and Perisha Kudhail Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:28:43

A pocket-size history of the calculator

2/3/2024
How was the calculator invented? How did it go from something the size of a table to something that could be carried in your pocket, the must-have gadget of the 1970’s and 80’s? Tim Harford unpicks the history of the calculator with Keith Houston, author of Empire of the Sum: The Rise and Reign of the Pocket Calculator. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Hal Haines Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:09:11

Measles, Traitors and the cost of Brexit

1/31/2024
Was there really a 5% measles vaccination rate in Birmingham? Has Brexit already cost 6% of the UKs economy? For how long has crime been falling? And are contestants on the reality gameshow any good at finding traitors? Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:28:44

Is Oxfam right about the world’s richest and poorest people?

1/27/2024
We investigate Oxfam’s claim that “since 2020, the five richest men in the world have seen their fortunes more than double, while almost five billion people have seen their wealth fall”. With the help of Johan Norberg, Historian and Author of ideas and Felix Salmon, Financial Correspondent at Axios, we explore the figures behind the wealth of the richest and uncover what it really tells us about the world’s financial markets. And Charles Kenny, senior fellow at the Centre for Global Development in Washington DC, helps us unpick why, when looking at the world’s poorest people, measurements of wealth don’t always tell us what we really need to know. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Hal Haines Editor: Richard Vadon (image: Elon Musk at the Viva Tech fair in Paris June 2023. Credit: Nathan Laine/Getty Images)

Duration:00:10:05

Shopping, shipping and wind chill-ing

1/24/2024
Was Labour shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves wrong about the increase in the price of the weekly shop? What has the violence at sea done to the cost of shipping? Why did YouGov feel the need to correct an analysis of their polling? Are there 30 million GP appointments every month? And how does wind chill work? Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Reporters: Charlotte McDonald and Nathan Gower Producer: Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: Rod Farquhar

Duration:00:28:32

Are there more possible games of chess than atoms in the universe?

1/20/2024
We investigate how the vast possibilities in a game of chess compare to the vastness of the observable universe. Dr James Grime helps us understand the Shannon number – a famous figure on the chess side of the equation - and astronomer Professor Catherine Heymans takes on the entire observable universe. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Debbie Richford and Nathan Gower Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Andy Fell Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:08:58

Life expectancy, inheritance tax and the NHS vs winter

1/17/2024
We report on the state of the NHS as it struggles through a double wave of Covid and flu infections. We report on the state of the NHS as it struggles through a double wave of Covid and flu infections. Do only 4% of people pay inheritance tax? Paul Lewis sets out the figures. And what do the latest life expectancy figures tell us about how long we’re going to live? Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:23:56

Do we see 10,000 adverts per day?

1/13/2024
How many adverts does the average person see in a day? If you search for this question online, the surprising answer is that we might see thousands – up to 10,000. However, the idea that we see thousands of adverts is a strange and confusing one, without any good research behind it. We investigate the long history of these odd numbers, with the help of Sam Anderson from The Drum and J Walker Smith from Kantar. Presenter: Tim Harford Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:08:58

Deaths, taxes and missing cats

1/10/2024
Did London see a 2500% increase in gun crime? Are taxes in the UK the highest since the 1950s? Did the UK have high excess deaths from Covid, compared to the rest of Europe? Do three cats go missing every second in the UK? Tim and the team investigate a few of the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Nathan Gower Series Producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Maria Ogundele Sound mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

Duration:00:28:46

How much money do the ‘Ndrangheta mafia make?

1/6/2024
The ‘Ndrangheta are one of Italy’s biggest and most dangerous criminal gangs. One piece of research suggested they have an annual turnover of €53bn - more than McDonalds and Deutsche Bank combined. But is that number realistic? Professor Anna Sergi and Professor Francesco Calderoni help us figure out what kind of number makes sense. Reporter: Perisha Kudhail Series producer: Tom Colls Sound mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: Human hands with strings controlling diagram. Credit: Boris Zhitkov/Getty Images)

Duration:00:08:58

Numbers of the year 2023

12/29/2023
Each year we ask some of our favourite statistically-minded people for their numbers of the year. Here they are - from the population of India to the results of a first division football match. Contributors: Hannah Ritchie, Our World in Data Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, Cambridge University Timandra Harkness, writer and comedian Rob Eastaway, maths author Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: Colourful numbers on blue background Credit: Tanja Ivanova / Getty Images)

Duration:00:13:08

Can chocolate be better than salad?

12/22/2023
We investigate a nutritional conundrum –can chocolate ever be better for you than salad? Today we dive in to one of our listener’s family debates and try to find an answer, with the help of nutrition experts Dr David Katz and Professor Bernadette Moore. Reporter: Paul Connolly Researcher: Perisha Kudhail Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Engineer: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: A pyramid made of chocolate and salad Credit: Gandee Vasan / Getty Images)

Duration:00:08:59

China’s missing numbers

12/15/2023
How many young people are unemployed? How much debt does the government owe? How many people have died from Covid? These are questions that many governments will keep regularly updated. But in China they have disappeared. We investigate the reasons behind China’s missing numbers. Reporter: Celia Hatton Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: Chinese flag behind a graph with statistics Credit: Igor Kutyaev/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Duration:00:08:58

Does endurance sport harm your heart?

12/8/2023
Exercise is good for you in all kinds of ways, there is no medicine like it to prevent a whole range of illnesses. But for some endurance athletes, exercise also comes with increased risk of a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. We look for the right way to think about the risks around exercise. Reporter: Paul Connolly Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: A cyclist training in the mountains Credit: anton5146/Getty Creative)

Duration:00:08:58

Will there be a billion climate refugees?

12/1/2023
Former Vice President Al Gore has said that climate change is predicted to lead to a billion climate refugees. But where do these predictions come from and are they realistic? We investigate the idea that floods, droughts, storms and sea level rise will cause a mass migration of people across borders. Reporter and Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon (Photo: Floods in central Somalia Credit: Said Yusuf - WARSAME/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Duration:00:09:58

A boy meets girl meets stats story

11/25/2023
Veronica Carlin is a data scientist who loves romantic comedies. But she had a hunch about those movies, that there aren’t many women like her, women in STEM - science, technology, engineering and maths – taking the lead roles. So she set out on a maths quest to find out what’s what. Presenter: Kate Lamble Series Producer: Tom Colls Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot (Picture: A young couple with a heart-shaped balloon on the street Credit: Cultura RM Exclusive/Spark Photographic / Getty)

Duration:00:08:58