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More or Less: Behind the Stats-logo

More or Less: Behind the Stats


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.

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.
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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.




Gender Pay Gaps and How to Learn a Language

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...

Duration: 00:27:47

WS More or Less: How Louis Bachelier Scooped Economists by Half a Century

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: A pocket watch)

Duration: 00:09:09

Missed appointments, graduate pay, plus cocaine on bank notes

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...

Duration: 00:28:13

WS More or Less: Just how rare is a hole-in-one?

Why it isn’t as simple to work out as you think.

Duration: 00:08:58

More or Less: Statistics of the Year 2017

Phones, lawn mowers and how Kim Kardashian helped the public understanding of risk.

Duration: 00:09:25

WS More or Less: Will Bitcoin use more electricity than the United States?

Measuring the energy used to keep the cryptocurrency secure.

Duration: 00:09:40

WS More or Less: Diet Coke Habit; 'Contained' Wildfires

Could the US President’s Diet Coke habit affect his health? and 'contained' wildfires

Duration: 00:09:43

WS More or Less: Does Eating Chocolate Make Your Brain Younger?

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

Duration: 00:10:20

WS More or Less: Just how lucky are regular lottery winners?

Are some people just very lucky? The maths suggest that is unlikely.

Duration: 00:10:04

WS More or Less: How Rich was Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy?

What the Pride and Prejudice character would have earned in today’s money.

Duration: 00:08:58

How expensive is Italy's World Cup failure?

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....

Duration: 00:08:58

Why albums are getting longer

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. Presenter: Jordan Dunbar Producer: Xavier Zapata (Image: Chris Brown performs...

Duration: 00:13:18

WS More or Less: Do Nigerian lawmakers get $1.7m and do Yams cause twins?

Finding out if Nigerian politicians really get paid more than the American President.

Duration: 00:08:59

Novelists in numbers

Counting the favourite words of well-known authors: Stephen King, Hemingway and others

Duration: 00:08:58

WS More or Less: Are US millennials more politically engaged online?

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics?

Duration: 00:08:58

How Richard Thaler changed Economics

The behavioural economist who has inspired governments around the world.

Duration: 00:22:16

WS More or Less: Kilobyte to Brontobyte

Naming the monster numbers - how the names of digital storage files evolved.

Duration: 00:08:58

WS More or Less: Big polluters - ships versus cars

Do the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world?

Duration: 00:09:12

Uber; EU passports; counting domestic violence

Is Uber safe? The post Brexit dual nationality surge and measuring partner abuse.

Duration: 00:24:12

WS More or Less: Sperm - Are we going extinct?

How much of a problem is falling sperm count?

Duration: 00:09:19

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