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More or Less: Behind the Stats

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London, United Kingdom




Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us.




Statistics abuse, tuition fees and beer in 1887

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is accused of mis-using official statistics.

Duration: 00:25:22

WS More or Less: How to measure a Hurricane

What’s the best way to measure a hurricane?

Duration: 00:09:37

Are Natural Disasters on the Rise?

Has the number of natural disasters really quadrupled in the last forty years?

Duration: 00:25:15

WS More or Less: More Horses than Tanks?

Is the UK the only country with more horses than tanks in its army?

Duration: 00:09:09

Electric cars, school-ready and feedback

Will we need more power stations? Plus, are children in Manchester ready for school?

Duration: 00:25:32

One in 500 Year Storm

Experts are saying that Houston just suffered a one in 500 year storm but what does that mean?

Duration: 00:06:49

Grenfell Tower's Death Toll

The difficulties of finding the true number of people who died in the fire.

Duration: 00:27:39

Fantasy Football - How to win

Figuring out the best strategy as a wannabe team manager.

Duration: 00:10:53

Are boys getting more top A Level grades than girls?

Are boys getting more top A Level grades than girls? Plus why are dress sizes so weird?

Duration: 00:27:58

The Trump Bump

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.

Duration: 00:10:18

Are there 15,000 transgender people serving in the US military?

President Trump says transgender individuals cannot serve, but how many do already?

Duration: 00:08:58

Why is Kenya’s election so expensive?

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...

Duration: 00:08:58

More boys than girls in Sweden?

Exploring if an influx of teenage boys claiming asylum skewed the population’s sex ratio

Duration: 00:08:58

Maryam Mirzakhani – A Genius of Maths

Celebrating the only woman to win the biggest prize in mathematics.

Duration: 00:09:25

Calling the shots at Wimbledon

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...

Duration: 00:08:58

Is Steph Curry cheap and how random is random?

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...

Duration: 00:08:58

In Search of Woodall Primes

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...

Duration: 00:20:00

How rare are deadly tower block fires?

How statistics can help us understand the tragic fire at London’s Grenfell Tower.

Duration: 00:08:59

Trumpton Extra

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.

Duration: 00:16:45

Post-Election Special

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.

Duration: 00:29:33

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