More or Less: Behind the Stats (2024)

More or Less: Behind the Statshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrss1<![CDATA[

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

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<![CDATA[

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

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BBC Radio 4episodicBBCpodcast.support@bbc.co.ukhttps://podcasts.files.bbci.co.uk/p02nrss1.rssenhttp://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/3000x3000/p058ggtp.jpgMore or Less: Behind the Statshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrss1(C) BBC 2024Sat, 06 Jul 2024 05:00:00 +0000nononadultThe magic of trigonometry<![CDATA[

You might have found it boring in school maths classes, but Matt Parker thinks we should all learn to love trigonometry.

The ‘Love Triangle’ author talks to Tim Harford about the maths used in GPS, architecture and special effects.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom CollsProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Nigel AppletonEditor: Richard Vadon

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Tim Harford interviews Matt Parker on his latest book ‘Love Triangle’<![CDATA[

You might have found it boring in school maths classes, but Matt Parker thinks we should all learn to love trigonometry.

The ‘Love Triangle’ author talks to Tim Harford about the maths used in GPS, architecture and special effects.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom CollsProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Nigel AppletonEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 06 Jul 2024 05:00:00 +0000575urn:bbc:podcast:p0j8nh23http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j8nh23cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j8nh23
Election endings, tennis and meeting men in finance<![CDATA[

Are Labour right about employment? Are the Conservatives right about cutting NHS managers? Are the Lib Dems right about share buyback? Are Reform UK right about their tax plans?

How do they make the exit poll so accurate?

What are the odds of meeting a very tall man in finance (with a trust fund)?

What does it mean that Roger Federer only won 54% of the points he played?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead Latham and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

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Exit polls, election claims, and a 54% chance of winning a point in tennis<![CDATA[

Are Labour right about employment? Are the Conservatives right about cutting NHS managers? Are the Lib Dems right about share buyback? Are Reform UK right about their tax plans?

How do they make the exit poll so accurate?

What are the odds of meeting a very tall man in finance (with a trust fund)?

What does it mean that Roger Federer only won 54% of the points he played?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead Latham and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 03 Jul 2024 08:30:00 +00002244urn:bbc:podcast:p0j7xtxjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j7xtxjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j7xtxj
How a tick box doubled the US maternal mortality rates.<![CDATA[

he US has been portrayed as in the grip of a maternal mortality crisis. In contrast to most other developed nations, the rate of maternal deaths in the US has been going up since the early 2000s.

But why? With the help of Saloni Dattani, a researcher at Our World in Data, Tim Harford explores how a gradual change in the way the data was gathered lies at the heart of the problem.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Emma HarthEditor: Richard Vadon

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We investigate changes to the way the US gathers their maternal mortality statistics<![CDATA[

he US has been portrayed as in the grip of a maternal mortality crisis. In contrast to most other developed nations, the rate of maternal deaths in the US has been going up since the early 2000s.

But why? With the help of Saloni Dattani, a researcher at Our World in Data, Tim Harford explores how a gradual change in the way the data was gathered lies at the heart of the problem.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Emma HarthEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 29 Jun 2024 05:00:00 +0000543urn:bbc:podcast:p0j74zfshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j74zfscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j74zfs
Election claims and erection claims<![CDATA[

Are Labour right about the Liz Truss effect on mortgages? Are the Conservatives right about pensioners? Are Plaid Cymru right about spending? Are the Lib Dems right about care funding? Is Count Binface right about croissants?

Why are MRP polls coming up with such different numbers?

Do erections require a litre of blood?

Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Kate LambleProducers: Simon Tulett, Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead Latham and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Rod FarquharEditor: Richard Vadon

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What did Liz Truss do to mortgage rates? Do erections use a litre of blood?<![CDATA[

Are Labour right about the Liz Truss effect on mortgages? Are the Conservatives right about pensioners? Are Plaid Cymru right about spending? Are the Lib Dems right about care funding? Is Count Binface right about croissants?

Why are MRP polls coming up with such different numbers?

Do erections require a litre of blood?

Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Kate LambleProducers: Simon Tulett, Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead Latham and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Rod FarquharEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 26 Jun 2024 09:33:00 +00001709urn:bbc:podcast:p0j6kccchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j6kccccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j6kccc
Do ‘pig butchering’ cyber scams make as much as half Cambodia’s GDP?<![CDATA[

So-called “pig butchering” scams take billions of dollars from people around the globe. But do the cyber scams run from compounds in Cambodia really take an amount of money equivalent to half that country’s GDP? We investigate how the scale of these criminal operations has been calculated.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Andrew GarrattEditor: Richard Vadon

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We investigate the money made by an international cybercrime operation<![CDATA[

So-called “pig butchering” scams take billions of dollars from people around the globe. But do the cyber scams run from compounds in Cambodia really take an amount of money equivalent to half that country’s GDP? We investigate how the scale of these criminal operations has been calculated.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Andrew GarrattEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 22 Jun 2024 05:00:00 +0000571urn:bbc:podcast:p0j5qznkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j5qznkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j5qznk
Worse mortgages, better readers, and potholes on the moon<![CDATA[

Will Conservative policies raise mortgages by £4800, as Labour claim? Are primary school kids in England the best readers in the (western) world, as the Conservatives claim? Are there more potholes in the UK than craters on the moon?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Simon Tullet Beth Ashmead-Latham and Debbie RichfordProduction coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

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We check some of the numbers that are flying about in the election campaign<![CDATA[

Will Conservative policies raise mortgages by £4800, as Labour claim? Are primary school kids in England the best readers in the (western) world, as the Conservatives claim? Are there more potholes in the UK than craters on the moon?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Simon Tullet Beth Ashmead-Latham and Debbie RichfordProduction coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 08:30:00 +00001912urn:bbc:podcast:p0j4zsz6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j4zsz6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j4zsz6
Shakespeare’s maths<![CDATA[

AWilliam Shakespeare might well rank as the most influential writer in the English language. But it seems he also had a knack for numbers.

Rob Eastaway, author of Much Ado about Numbers, tells Tim Harford about the simple maths that brings Shakespeare’s work to life.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReadings: Stella Harford and Jordan DunbarProducer: Beth Ashmead-LathamSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Author Rob Eastaway on the numbers in Shakespeare’s writing<![CDATA[

AWilliam Shakespeare might well rank as the most influential writer in the English language. But it seems he also had a knack for numbers.

Rob Eastaway, author of Much Ado about Numbers, tells Tim Harford about the simple maths that brings Shakespeare’s work to life.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReadings: Stella Harford and Jordan DunbarProducer: Beth Ashmead-LathamSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 05:00:00 +0000593urn:bbc:podcast:p0j497fthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j497ftcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j497ft
Leaflets, taxes, oil workers and classrooms<![CDATA[

What’s going on with the dodgy bar charts that political parties put on constituency campaign leaflets?

What’s the truth about tax promises?

Are 100,000 oil workers going to lose their jobs in Scotland?

Will class sizes increase in state schools if private schools increase their fees?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Kate LambleProducers: Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead-Latham, Debbie RichfordProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

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We look at bad graphs, oil rig extrapolations and pupil populations<![CDATA[

What’s going on with the dodgy bar charts that political parties put on constituency campaign leaflets?

What’s the truth about tax promises?

Are 100,000 oil workers going to lose their jobs in Scotland?

Will class sizes increase in state schools if private schools increase their fees?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Kate LambleProducers: Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead-Latham, Debbie RichfordProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 08:30:00 +00001711urn:bbc:podcast:p0j3lrsshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j3lrsscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j3lrss
Why medical error is not the third leading cause of death in the US<![CDATA[

The claim that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US has been zooming around the internet for years.

This would mean that only heart disease and cancer killed more people than the very people trying to treat these diseases.

But there are good reasons to be suspicious about the claim.

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, director of The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute, or THIS Institute, at Cambridge University, explains what’s going on.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

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Investigating how many deaths are caused by mistakes by doctors and nurses<![CDATA[

The claim that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US has been zooming around the internet for years.

This would mean that only heart disease and cancer killed more people than the very people trying to treat these diseases.

But there are good reasons to be suspicious about the claim.

Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, director of The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute, or THIS Institute, at Cambridge University, explains what’s going on.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 08 Jun 2024 05:00:00 +0000553urn:bbc:podcast:p0j2wtgdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j2wtgdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j2wtgd
Debate, Reform, tax evasion and ants<![CDATA[

Were there any suspicious claims in the election debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer?

Do the claims in Reform UK’s policy documents on excess deaths and climate change make sense?

Can the Conservatives and Labour raise £6bn a year by cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion?

And do all the humans on earth weigh more than all of the ants?

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporters: Kate Lamble and Nathan GowerProducer: Beth Ashmead-LathamSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Fact-checking the leaders' debate, tax evasion savings and the weight of ants<![CDATA[

Were there any suspicious claims in the election debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer?

Do the claims in Reform UK’s policy documents on excess deaths and climate change make sense?

Can the Conservatives and Labour raise £6bn a year by cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion?

And do all the humans on earth weigh more than all of the ants?

Presenter: Tim HarfordReporters: Kate Lamble and Nathan GowerProducer: Beth Ashmead-LathamSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 05 Jun 2024 08:30:00 +00001805urn:bbc:podcast:p0j287s5http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j287s5cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j287s5
Data for India<![CDATA[

India’s election has been running since 19 April. With results imminent on 4th June, More or Less talks with Chennai based data communicator Rukmini S. She founded Data for India, a new website designed to make socioeconomic data on India easier to find and understand. She talks us through the changing trends to help give a better picture of the type of country the winning party will govern.

Producers: Bethan Ashmead and Nathan GowerSound Engineer: Nigel AppletonProduction Coordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Changing India in numbers: what type of country will the next administration lead?<![CDATA[

India’s election has been running since 19 April. With results imminent on 4th June, More or Less talks with Chennai based data communicator Rukmini S. She founded Data for India, a new website designed to make socioeconomic data on India easier to find and understand. She talks us through the changing trends to help give a better picture of the type of country the winning party will govern.

Producers: Bethan Ashmead and Nathan GowerSound Engineer: Nigel AppletonProduction Coordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 01 Jun 2024 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0j1jqj1http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j1jqj1cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j1jqj1
UK growth, prisons and Swiftonomics<![CDATA[

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK economy is growing faster than Germany, France and the US, while Labour says the typical household in the UK is worse off by £5,883 since 2019. Are these claims fair? We give some needed context.

Net migration has fallen - we talk to someone who predicted it would - Dr Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.

Is Taylor Swift about to add £1 bn to the British economy as some media outlets have claimed? The answer is ‘No’.

Why are our prisons full? We ask Cassia Rowland from the Institute for Government.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan Gower, Bethan Ashmead Latham and Ellie HouseSeries producer: Tom Colls Sound mix: Neil Churchill Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Editor: Richard Vadon

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Is the UK economy growing faster than Germany, France and the US?<![CDATA[

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK economy is growing faster than Germany, France and the US, while Labour says the typical household in the UK is worse off by £5,883 since 2019. Are these claims fair? We give some needed context.

Net migration has fallen - we talk to someone who predicted it would - Dr Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford.

Is Taylor Swift about to add £1 bn to the British economy as some media outlets have claimed? The answer is ‘No’.

Why are our prisons full? We ask Cassia Rowland from the Institute for Government.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan Gower, Bethan Ashmead Latham and Ellie HouseSeries producer: Tom Colls Sound mix: Neil Churchill Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Editor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 29 May 2024 08:30:00 +00001721urn:bbc:podcast:p0j0t5yfhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j0t5yfcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j0t5yf
Is intermittent fasting going to kill you?<![CDATA[

News stories earlier in the year appeared to suggest that time restricted eating – where you consume all your meals in an 8 hour time window – was associated with a 91% increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

But is this true? Tim Harford looks into the claim with the help of Cardiologist Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University in the US.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

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Investigating research which suggested time restricted eating increased the risk of death.<![CDATA[

News stories earlier in the year appeared to suggest that time restricted eating – where you consume all your meals in an 8 hour time window – was associated with a 91% increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

But is this true? Tim Harford looks into the claim with the help of Cardiologist Dr Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University in the US.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 25 May 2024 05:00:00 +0000616urn:bbc:podcast:p0j04qd8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0j04qd8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0j04qd8
MP misconduct, NHS waiting lists and gold (gold)<![CDATA[

Is it going to take 685 years to clear NHS waiting lists in England?

Are 10 per cent of MPs under investigation for sexual misconduct?

How does gold effect the UKs export figures?

What does it mean to say that a woman has 120% chance of getting pregnant?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower and Bethan Ashmead LathamSeries producer: Tom CollsSound mix: Neil ChurchillProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Will it take 685 years to clear the NHS waiting list? Are 10% of MPs under investigation?<![CDATA[

Is it going to take 685 years to clear NHS waiting lists in England?

Are 10 per cent of MPs under investigation for sexual misconduct?

How does gold effect the UKs export figures?

What does it mean to say that a woman has 120% chance of getting pregnant?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower and Bethan Ashmead LathamSeries producer: Tom CollsSound mix: Neil ChurchillProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 22 May 2024 08:30:00 +00001745urn:bbc:podcast:p0hzf1wghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hzf1wgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hzf1wg
Are falling marriage rates causing happiness to fall in the US?<![CDATA[

It’s long been known that marriage is associated with happiness in survey data. But are falling marriage rates in the US dragging down the mood of the whole nation?

We investigate the statistical relationships with Professor Sam Peltzman from the University of Chicago, and Professor John Helliwell, from the University of British Columbia.

Presenter: Tom CollsReporter: Natasha Fernandes Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Nigel AppletonEditor: Richard Vadon

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Investigating the relationship between matrimony and melancholy.<![CDATA[

It’s long been known that marriage is associated with happiness in survey data. But are falling marriage rates in the US dragging down the mood of the whole nation?

We investigate the statistical relationships with Professor Sam Peltzman from the University of Chicago, and Professor John Helliwell, from the University of British Columbia.

Presenter: Tom CollsReporter: Natasha Fernandes Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Nigel AppletonEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 18 May 2024 05:00:00 +0000589urn:bbc:podcast:p0hyps7nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hyps7ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hyps7n
Is reading for pleasure the single biggest factor in how well a child does in life?<![CDATA[

If a child loves reading, how big a difference does that make to their future success?

In a much-repeated claim, often sourced to a 2002 OECD report, it is suggested that it makes the biggest difference there is – that reading for pleasure is the biggest factor in future success.

But is that true? We speak to Miyako Ikeda from the OECD and Professor Alice Sullivan from University College London.

Presenter / series producer: Tom CollsReporter / producer: Debbie RichfordProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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What research says about the connection between reading and success in later life.<![CDATA[

If a child loves reading, how big a difference does that make to their future success?

In a much-repeated claim, often sourced to a 2002 OECD report, it is suggested that it makes the biggest difference there is – that reading for pleasure is the biggest factor in future success.

But is that true? We speak to Miyako Ikeda from the OECD and Professor Alice Sullivan from University College London.

Presenter / series producer: Tom CollsReporter / producer: Debbie RichfordProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 11 May 2024 05:00:00 +0000620urn:bbc:podcast:p0hx1drchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hx1drccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hx1drc
Do one in five young Americans think the holocaust is a myth?<![CDATA[

Polling by YouGov made headlines around the world when it suggested 20% of young adults in the US thought the holocaust was a myth.

But polling experts at the Pew Research Centre thought the result might not be accurate, due to problems with the kind of opt-in polling it was based on. They tried to replicate the finding, and did not get the same answer.

We speak to Andrew Mercer from the Pew Research Centre and YouGov chief scientist Douglas Rivers.

Presenter /series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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How problems with opt-in polling can lead to controversial headlines<![CDATA[

Polling by YouGov made headlines around the world when it suggested 20% of young adults in the US thought the holocaust was a myth.

But polling experts at the Pew Research Centre thought the result might not be accurate, due to problems with the kind of opt-in polling it was based on. They tried to replicate the finding, and did not get the same answer.

We speak to Andrew Mercer from the Pew Research Centre and YouGov chief scientist Douglas Rivers.

Presenter /series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 04 May 2024 05:00:00 +0000583urn:bbc:podcast:p0hvtlmhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hvtlmhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hvtlmh
Has Milei fixed Argentina’s inflation problem?<![CDATA[

Libertarian populist Javier Milei won the presidential election in Argentina on a promise austerity and economic “shock” measures for the ailing economy.

Just a few months in, some are hailing the falling rate of inflation as showing those measures are working.

Economist Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, explains whether that thinking is correct.

Presenter/producer: Tom CollsProducer: Ajai Singh Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon.

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What falling inflation means for Milei’s austerity plan and economic “shock” measures<![CDATA[

Libertarian populist Javier Milei won the presidential election in Argentina on a promise austerity and economic “shock” measures for the ailing economy.

Just a few months in, some are hailing the falling rate of inflation as showing those measures are working.

Economist Monica de Bolle, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, explains whether that thinking is correct.

Presenter/producer: Tom CollsProducer: Ajai Singh Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon.

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Fri, 26 Apr 2024 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0htd5dphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0htd5dpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0htd5dp
98%: Is misinformation being spread about a review of trans youth medicine?<![CDATA[

The Cass Review is an independent report on the state of gender identity services for under-18s in England’s NHS.

It found children had been let down by a lack of research and "remarkably weak" evidence on medical interventions in gender care.

But before it was even released, claims were circulating online that it ignored 98% of the evidence in reaching its conclusion.

Is that claim true?

We speak to Dr Hilary Cass, the author of the review, Professor Catherine Hewitt of York University, who analysed the scientific research, and Kamran Abbasi, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal.

Presenter: Kate LambleProducer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Investigating claims that the Cass Review ignored valuable evidence<![CDATA[

The Cass Review is an independent report on the state of gender identity services for under-18s in England’s NHS.

It found children had been let down by a lack of research and "remarkably weak" evidence on medical interventions in gender care.

But before it was even released, claims were circulating online that it ignored 98% of the evidence in reaching its conclusion.

Is that claim true?

We speak to Dr Hilary Cass, the author of the review, Professor Catherine Hewitt of York University, who analysed the scientific research, and Kamran Abbasi, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal.

Presenter: Kate LambleProducer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 20 Apr 2024 05:00:00 +0000713urn:bbc:podcast:p0hry4wjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hry4wjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hry4wj
Tackling The Three-Body Problem<![CDATA[

Netflix has a big new show named after and inspired by a classic problem in astrophysics, 'The Three Body Problem', where predicting the course and orbits of three or more celestial bodies proves near impossible.

But how faithful is the Netflix show - and original novel - to the actual physics?Dr Anna Lisa Varri from the University of Edinburgh explains what we can and can't say about the complex and beautiful motions of planets, stars and moons, and brings a dose of scientific facts to science fiction.

Presenter: Kate LambleProducer: Nathan GowerSound Engineer: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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Is the physics in Netflix's new show accurate?<![CDATA[

Netflix has a big new show named after and inspired by a classic problem in astrophysics, 'The Three Body Problem', where predicting the course and orbits of three or more celestial bodies proves near impossible.

But how faithful is the Netflix show - and original novel - to the actual physics?Dr Anna Lisa Varri from the University of Edinburgh explains what we can and can't say about the complex and beautiful motions of planets, stars and moons, and brings a dose of scientific facts to science fiction.

Presenter: Kate LambleProducer: Nathan GowerSound Engineer: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 13 Apr 2024 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0hqh7jrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hqh7jrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hqh7jr
Is loneliness as bad for you as smoking?<![CDATA[

Is loneliness as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes per day? That’s the claim circulating on social media.

We trace this stat back to its source and speak the scientist behind the original research on which it is based, Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad.

Presenter / series producer: Tom CollsReporter: Perisha Kudhail Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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The connection between being alone and an early death<![CDATA[

Is loneliness as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes per day? That’s the claim circulating on social media.

We trace this stat back to its source and speak the scientist behind the original research on which it is based, Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad.

Presenter / series producer: Tom CollsReporter: Perisha Kudhail Production co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 06 Apr 2024 05:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0hncdtkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hncdtkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hncdtk
Remembering Daniel Kahneman<![CDATA[

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel prize-winning behavioural economist and More or Less hero, has died at the age of 90. Tim Harford explains his ideas and influence.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldSeries producer: Tom CollsSound mix: Hal HainesProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Tim Harford on the great social scientist, who has died at the age of 90<![CDATA[

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel prize-winning behavioural economist and More or Less hero, has died at the age of 90. Tim Harford explains his ideas and influence.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldSeries producer: Tom CollsSound mix: Hal HainesProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 30 Mar 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0hmn7hghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hmn7hgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hmn7hg
Bonus episode: Daniel Kahneman on Thinking, Fast and Slow<![CDATA[

In an episode of More or Less from 2012, Daniel Kahneman – the Nobel prize-winning behavioural economist who has died at the age of 90 – explains the big ideas in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

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In an episode of More or Less from 2012, Daniel Kahneman explains his big ideas.<![CDATA[

In an episode of More or Less from 2012, Daniel Kahneman – the Nobel prize-winning behavioural economist who has died at the age of 90 – explains the big ideas in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

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Thu, 28 Mar 2024 19:52:00 +0000552urn:bbc:podcast:p0hmn3k8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hmn3k8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hmn3k8
What's happening to Arctic ice?<![CDATA[

The area of ice covering the Arctic ocean has been in a state of long decline, as climate change takes effect. But recent fluctuations in the ice have been seized on by climate change sceptics, who say it tells a different story.

We speak to polar climate scientist Professor Julienne Stroeve to better understand how to read the ice data.

Presenter / producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

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Arctic ice has been in long decline. Do recent fluctuations change the story?<![CDATA[

The area of ice covering the Arctic ocean has been in a state of long decline, as climate change takes effect. But recent fluctuations in the ice have been seized on by climate change sceptics, who say it tells a different story.

We speak to polar climate scientist Professor Julienne Stroeve to better understand how to read the ice data.

Presenter / producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

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Mon, 25 Mar 2024 17:20:00 +0000588urn:bbc:podcast:p0hltprghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hltprgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hltprg
Does the Russian government really spend 40% of its budget on the military?<![CDATA[

According to the head of the British military, the Russian government spends 40% of its budget on its war machine. But is it true? With the help of Professor Bettina Renz from Nottingham University and Dr Richard Connolly from The Royal United Services Institute, Olga Smirnova investigates the figure. Presenter: Tom CollsProducer: Olga SmirnovaProduction Co-ordinator Katie MorrisonSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

Image: Russian Military Perform Victory Day Parade Night Rehearsal in Moscow Credit: (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

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We investigate how much the Russian state is spending on the war in Ukraine.<![CDATA[

According to the head of the British military, the Russian government spends 40% of its budget on its war machine. But is it true? With the help of Professor Bettina Renz from Nottingham University and Dr Richard Connolly from The Royal United Services Institute, Olga Smirnova investigates the figure. Presenter: Tom CollsProducer: Olga SmirnovaProduction Co-ordinator Katie MorrisonSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

Image: Russian Military Perform Victory Day Parade Night Rehearsal in Moscow Credit: (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)

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Sat, 16 Mar 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0hjy95shttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hjy95scleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hjy95s
Is public speaking really our biggest fear?<![CDATA[

For over 50 years it’s been widely reported that speaking before a group is people’s number one fear. But is it really true? With the help of Dr Karen Kangas Dwyer, a former Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Dr Christopher Bader, Professor of Sociology at Chapman University, Tim Harford tracks the source of the claim back to the 1970’s and explores whether it was true then, and whether it’s true today.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

Picture Credit: vchal via Getty

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Tim Harford investigates the claim that public speaking is people’s number one fear.<![CDATA[

For over 50 years it’s been widely reported that speaking before a group is people’s number one fear. But is it really true? With the help of Dr Karen Kangas Dwyer, a former Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Dr Christopher Bader, Professor of Sociology at Chapman University, Tim Harford tracks the source of the claim back to the 1970’s and explores whether it was true then, and whether it’s true today.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

Picture Credit: vchal via Getty

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Sat, 09 Mar 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0hhdyx9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hhdyx9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hhdyx9
Ultramarathons: Are women faster than men?<![CDATA[

As running races get longer, the gap between male and female competitors seems to close. Tim Harford and Lucy Proctor investigate the claim that when the race is 195 miles long, women overtake men to become the fastest runners. Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Lucy ProctorProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

(Image:Male and female running together up a mountain trail. Credit: nattrass via Getty)

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Is it really true that in extremely long races, women run faster than men?<![CDATA[

As running races get longer, the gap between male and female competitors seems to close. Tim Harford and Lucy Proctor investigate the claim that when the race is 195 miles long, women overtake men to become the fastest runners. Presenter: Tim HarfordReporter: Lucy ProctorProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

(Image:Male and female running together up a mountain trail. Credit: nattrass via Getty)

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Sat, 02 Mar 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0hg2764http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hg2764cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hg2764
School spending, excess deaths and billions of animals at Heathrow<![CDATA[

Is school funding at record levels as the education secretary claimed? Why did the ONS change how they measure excess deaths? Is there a shoplifting epidemic? Did 6.5bn creatures arrive in the UK by plane last year?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower, Perisha Kudhail, Debbie Richford and Olga SmirnovaSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSound mix: Sarah HockleyEditor: Richard Vadon

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Is school funding at record levels? Did 6.5bn creatures come to the UK by plane last year?<![CDATA[

Is school funding at record levels as the education secretary claimed? Why did the ONS change how they measure excess deaths? Is there a shoplifting epidemic? Did 6.5bn creatures arrive in the UK by plane last year?

Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower, Perisha Kudhail, Debbie Richford and Olga SmirnovaSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSound mix: Sarah HockleyEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 28 Feb 2024 09:30:00 +00001739urn:bbc:podcast:p0hfgy9xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hfgy9xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hfgy9x
NBA basketball: Is height more important than skill?<![CDATA[

In the NBA, the US professional basketball league, the average player is a shade over 6ft 6 inches tall. So just how much does being very tall increase a man’s chances of becoming a professional player?

Tim Harford talks to data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Who Makes the NBA?: Data-Driven Answers to Basketball’s Biggest Questions.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Series Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: David CracklesEditor: Richard Vadon

(Image: Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks. Credit: Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

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How much does a man’s height affect his chances of becoming an NBA basketball player?<![CDATA[

In the NBA, the US professional basketball league, the average player is a shade over 6ft 6 inches tall. So just how much does being very tall increase a man’s chances of becoming a professional player?

Tim Harford talks to data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Who Makes the NBA?: Data-Driven Answers to Basketball’s Biggest Questions.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Series Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: David CracklesEditor: Richard Vadon

(Image: Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks. Credit: Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

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Sat, 24 Feb 2024 06:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0hdqgclhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hdqgclcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hdqgcl
Per capita GDP, MP claims and the entire EU budget<![CDATA[

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 HarfordReporters: Nathan Gower and Lucy ProctorProducers: Debbie Richford, Perisha Kudhail, Olga SmirnovaSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

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What does per capita GDP tell us? How much did the EU spend on covid recovery?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordReporters: Nathan Gower and Lucy ProctorProducers: Debbie Richford, Perisha Kudhail, Olga SmirnovaSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 21 Feb 2024 09:30:00 +00001703urn:bbc:podcast:p0hd42dthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hd42dtcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hd42dt
The digital ‘robots’ unlocking medical data<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Janet StaplesSound mix: Hal HainesEditor: Charlotte McDonald

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Ben Goldacre on OpenSAFELY, protecting patient privacy while analysing health data<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Janet StaplesSound mix: Hal HainesEditor: Charlotte McDonald

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Sat, 17 Feb 2024 06:00:00 +0000587urn:bbc:podcast:p0hcdw8rhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hcdw8rcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hcdw8r
Debt, students, shark and chips<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Janet StaplesSound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Charlotte McDonald

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What is the government’s rule on debt? Do 90% of chip shops sell shark and chips?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Janet StaplesSound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Charlotte McDonald

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Wed, 14 Feb 2024 09:30:00 +00001715urn:bbc:podcast:p0hbt40lhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hbt40lcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hbt40l
The global gender split in young people’s politics<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom CollsProduction 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)

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Tim Harford investigates the growing political divergence between young men and women.<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom CollsProduction 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)

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Sat, 10 Feb 2024 02:40:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0hb4kcphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0hb4kcpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0hb4kcp
Council tax weirdness: Hartlepool vs Westminster<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower, Debbie Richford and Perisha Kudhail Series producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Council tax comparisons, migration calculations and the carbon footprint of home-grown veg<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower, Debbie Richford and Perisha Kudhail Series producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 07 Feb 2024 09:30:00 +00001723urn:bbc:podcast:p0h9cyx0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h9cyx0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h9cyx0
A pocket-size history of the calculator<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Hal HainesEditor: Richard Vadon

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Tim Harford explores the history of calculators from clockwork to the Kashio brothers<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Debbie RichfordProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Hal HainesEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 03 Feb 2024 06:00:00 +0000551urn:bbc:podcast:p0h8qx1zhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h8qx1zcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h8qx1z
Measles, Traitors and the cost of Brexit<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

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Is measles spreading? How much is Brexit costing? How good are they at traitor guessing?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction coordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 31 Jan 2024 09:30:00 +00001724urn:bbc:podcast:p0h815h8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h815h8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h815h8
Is Oxfam right about the world’s richest and poorest people?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Hal HainesEditor: Richard Vadon

(image: Elon Musk at the Viva Tech fair in Paris June 2023. Credit: Nathan Laine/Getty Images)

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We investigate how Oxfam use wealth stats to illustrate global inequality<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Hal HainesEditor: Richard Vadon

(image: Elon Musk at the Viva Tech fair in Paris June 2023. Credit: Nathan Laine/Getty Images)

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Sat, 27 Jan 2024 06:00:00 +0000605urn:bbc:podcast:p0h7crzzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h7crzzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h7crzz
Shopping, shipping and wind chill-ing<![CDATA[

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 HarfordReporters: Charlotte McDonald and Nathan GowerProducer: Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Rod Farquhar

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We investigate the cost of a weekly shop and explore the workings of wind chill<![CDATA[

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 HarfordReporters: Charlotte McDonald and Nathan GowerProducer: Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Mix: Rod Farquhar

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Wed, 24 Jan 2024 09:30:00 +00001712urn:bbc:podcast:p0h6pnkchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h6pnkccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h6pnkc
Are there more possible games of chess than atoms in the universe?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Debbie Richford and Nathan GowerProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Andy FellEditor: Richard Vadon

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We investigate how the vast possibilities in chess compare to the vastness of the universe<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Debbie Richford and Nathan GowerProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Mix: Andy FellEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 20 Jan 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0h621dvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h621dvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h621dv
Life expectancy, inheritance tax and the NHS vs winter<![CDATA[

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 HarfordReporter: Kate LambleProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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How long will we live? Who pays inheritance tax? How did the NHS perform this winter?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordReporter: Kate LambleProducers: Nathan Gower and Debbie RichfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound mix: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 17 Jan 2024 09:30:00 +00001436urn:bbc:podcast:p0h5ctqzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h5ctqzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h5ctqz
Do we see 10,000 adverts per day?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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We investigate the claim that each of us sees thousands of adverts every single day<![CDATA[

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 HarfordSeries producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 13 Jan 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0h4p2gbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h4p2gbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h4p2gb
Deaths, taxes and missing cats<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerSeries Producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Maria OgundeleSound mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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We investigate claims about gun crime, the UK tax burden, and the number of missing cats<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerSeries Producer: Tom CollsProduction co-ordinator: Maria OgundeleSound mix: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 10 Jan 2024 09:30:00 +00001726urn:bbc:podcast:p0h40366http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h40366cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h40366
How much money do the ‘Ndrangheta mafia make?<![CDATA[

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 KudhailSeries producer: Tom CollsSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

(Picture: Human hands with strings controlling diagram.Credit: Boris Zhitkov/Getty Images)

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We investigate whether one criminal group could have a turnover of billions of dollars<![CDATA[

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 KudhailSeries producer: Tom CollsSound mix: Neil ChurchillEditor: Richard Vadon

(Picture: Human hands with strings controlling diagram.Credit: Boris Zhitkov/Getty Images)

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Sat, 06 Jan 2024 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0h32dy9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h32dy9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h32dy9
Numbers of the year 2023<![CDATA[

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)

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Hand-picked stats that tell you something interesting about the world<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 30 Dec 2023 02:40:00 +0000788urn:bbc:podcast:p0h11w6lhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h11w6lcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h11w6l
Can chocolate be better than salad?<![CDATA[

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 ConnollyResearcher: 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)

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We investigate a nutritional conundrum – can chocolate ever be better for you than salad?<![CDATA[

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 ConnollyResearcher: 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)

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Sat, 23 Dec 2023 02:40:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0h15qlrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0h15qlrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0h15qlr
China’s missing numbers<![CDATA[

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)

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How the Chinese state make inconvenient statistics disappear<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 16 Dec 2023 02:40:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0gzw3l2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gzw3l2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gzw3l2
Does endurance sport harm your heart?<![CDATA[

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 ConnollySeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Engineer: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

(Picture: A cyclist training in the mountainsCredit: anton5146/Getty Creative)

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We investigate the connection between high levels of exercise and arrhythmia<![CDATA[

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 ConnollySeries Producer: Tom CollsSound Engineer: Graham PuddifootEditor: Richard Vadon

(Picture: A cyclist training in the mountainsCredit: anton5146/Getty Creative)

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Sat, 09 Dec 2023 02:40:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0gygqz3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gygqz3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gygqz3
Will there be a billion climate refugees?<![CDATA[

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)

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We investigate if floods, droughts and storms will cause mass international migration<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 02 Dec 2023 02:40:00 +0000598urn:bbc:podcast:p0gx3qydhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gx3qydcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gx3qyd
A boy meets girl meets stats story<![CDATA[

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)

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A data scientist takes on rom com films to see how women in STEM are represented.<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 25 Nov 2023 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0gvr8cjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gvr8cjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gvr8cj
Are women in the UK the biggest binge drinkers in the world?<![CDATA[

We check out suspect stats on boozing Brits and fishy figures on fishing fleets in the South China Sea.

With the help of Professor John Holmes from the University of Sheffield's School of Medicine and Population Health and Simon Funge-Smith, a senior fishery officer at the FAO.

Presenter and producer: Charlotte McDonaldSeries Producer: Tom CollsEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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Checking out stats on boozing Brits and fishing fleets in the South China Sea<![CDATA[

We check out suspect stats on boozing Brits and fishy figures on fishing fleets in the South China Sea.

With the help of Professor John Holmes from the University of Sheffield's School of Medicine and Population Health and Simon Funge-Smith, a senior fishery officer at the FAO.

Presenter and producer: Charlotte McDonaldSeries Producer: Tom CollsEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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Sat, 18 Nov 2023 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0gtft50http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gtft50cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gtft50
Can maths prove the existence of aliens?<![CDATA[

Are we alone in the universe – and if not, how many other civilisations might there be? Remarkable images and data sent back to Earth by the James Webb telescope have given a new impetus to a well-worn debate. We ask how far mathematics – and in particular a famous equation called the Drake Equation – can be used to answer one of the most fundamental questions we face. Paul Connolly investigates with the help of Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Professor at the University of Edinburgh and Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute in California.

Presenter: Paul ConnollyProducers: Paul Connolly and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSound Engineer: David Crackles

(Image: : A cluster of young stars, surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust, in a nebula, located in the constellation Carina. Credit: Reuters)

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We look a famous equation which tries to explain whether life exists in outer space<![CDATA[

Are we alone in the universe – and if not, how many other civilisations might there be? Remarkable images and data sent back to Earth by the James Webb telescope have given a new impetus to a well-worn debate. We ask how far mathematics – and in particular a famous equation called the Drake Equation – can be used to answer one of the most fundamental questions we face. Paul Connolly investigates with the help of Catherine Heymans, Astronomer Royal for Scotland and Professor at the University of Edinburgh and Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute in California.

Presenter: Paul ConnollyProducers: Paul Connolly and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Katie MorrisonSound Engineer: David Crackles

(Image: : A cluster of young stars, surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust, in a nebula, located in the constellation Carina. Credit: Reuters)

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Sat, 11 Nov 2023 06:00:00 +0000600urn:bbc:podcast:p0grz4flhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0grz4flcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0grz4fl
Do Indian women own 11% of the world’s gold?<![CDATA[

The cultural importance of gold in India as a symbol of wealth, prosperity and safety is well known – but how much do Indians actually own? Reporter Perisha Kudhail looks at a widely circulated claim about Indian women owning 11% of the world’s gold, with the help of Delhi based journalist Mridu Bhandari and Joshua Saul, CEO of the Pure Gold Company. Presenter: Ben Carter Reporter and Producer: Perisha KudhailSeries Producer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: A saleswoman shows gold bangles to a customer at a jewellery showroom in Kolkata. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo)

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The cultural importance of gold is well known – but how much do Indians actually own?<![CDATA[

The cultural importance of gold in India as a symbol of wealth, prosperity and safety is well known – but how much do Indians actually own? Reporter Perisha Kudhail looks at a widely circulated claim about Indian women owning 11% of the world’s gold, with the help of Delhi based journalist Mridu Bhandari and Joshua Saul, CEO of the Pure Gold Company. Presenter: Ben Carter Reporter and Producer: Perisha KudhailSeries Producer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: A saleswoman shows gold bangles to a customer at a jewellery showroom in Kolkata. Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo)

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Sat, 04 Nov 2023 05:50:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0gqlxy3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gqlxy3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gqlxy3
The Overlooked Mathematicians of History<![CDATA[

Conventional histories of mathematics are dominated by well-known names like Pythagoras, Leibniz or Newton. But to concentrate solely on figures from Europe gives us only a patchwork understanding of the rich and varied history of mathematical achievement around the world. Tim Harford speaks to Dr Kate Kitagawa, co-author of ‘The Secret Lives of Numbers’ to explore the long history of mathematical advances and innovation across civilisations and centuries, from the female mathematician at court in imperial China to the pioneers in the mathematical powerhouses of the Middle East in the first millennium AD.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Picture: Statue of Al Khwarizmi, a ninth century mathematician Credit: Mel Longhurst/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Exploring the global history of mathematics<![CDATA[

Conventional histories of mathematics are dominated by well-known names like Pythagoras, Leibniz or Newton. But to concentrate solely on figures from Europe gives us only a patchwork understanding of the rich and varied history of mathematical achievement around the world. Tim Harford speaks to Dr Kate Kitagawa, co-author of ‘The Secret Lives of Numbers’ to explore the long history of mathematical advances and innovation across civilisations and centuries, from the female mathematician at court in imperial China to the pioneers in the mathematical powerhouses of the Middle East in the first millennium AD.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Picture: Statue of Al Khwarizmi, a ninth century mathematician Credit: Mel Longhurst/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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Sat, 28 Oct 2023 01:40:00 +0000563urn:bbc:podcast:p0gp92dxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gp92dxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gp92dx
What do windscreen splats tell us about insect decline?<![CDATA[

Do you notice fewer insect splats on windscreens than you used to? There’s a study in the UK trying to measure this ‘windscreen phenomenon’, as it’s become known. We hear more about the study and whether we can draw conclusions about insect numbers in general, from reporter Perisha Kudhail, Dr Lawrence Ball from the Kent Wildlife Trust and Professor Lynn Dicks from the University of Cambridge.

Presenter: Ben Carter Reporter/Producer: Perisha Kudhail Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Photo: Dead insects on a windshield Credit: shanecotee / Getty)

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We ask whether the ‘windscreen phenomenon’ suggests falling numbers of insects<![CDATA[

Do you notice fewer insect splats on windscreens than you used to? There’s a study in the UK trying to measure this ‘windscreen phenomenon’, as it’s become known. We hear more about the study and whether we can draw conclusions about insect numbers in general, from reporter Perisha Kudhail, Dr Lawrence Ball from the Kent Wildlife Trust and Professor Lynn Dicks from the University of Cambridge.

Presenter: Ben Carter Reporter/Producer: Perisha Kudhail Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Photo: Dead insects on a windshield Credit: shanecotee / Getty)

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Sat, 21 Oct 2023 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0gmwg6bhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gmwg6bcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gmwg6b
Greedy jobs and the gender pay gap<![CDATA[

Harvard professor Claudia Goldin has become only the third woman to win the Nobel Economics Prize for her groundbreaking research on women’s employment and pay. Tim Harford discusses her work showing how gender differences in pay and work have changed over the last 200 years and why the gender pay gap persists to this day.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: David Crackles

(Picture: Claudia Goldin at Havard University Credit: Reuters / Reba Saldanha)

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Tim Harford discusses the work of Nobel Economics prize winner Claudia Goldin<![CDATA[

Harvard professor Claudia Goldin has become only the third woman to win the Nobel Economics Prize for her groundbreaking research on women’s employment and pay. Tim Harford discusses her work showing how gender differences in pay and work have changed over the last 200 years and why the gender pay gap persists to this day.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: David Crackles

(Picture: Claudia Goldin at Havard University Credit: Reuters / Reba Saldanha)

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Sat, 14 Oct 2023 05:00:00 +0000772urn:bbc:podcast:p0glflm0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0glflm0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0glflm0
Are half the words in English from French?<![CDATA[

Are almost half the words in the English language of French origin? It’s a claim one of our loyal listeners found surprising. Tim Harford talks to Dr Beth Malory, lecturer in English Linguistics at University College London, who explains why so many words derived from French have ended up in English.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Daniel Gordon Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Picture: A French dictionary showing the entry 'Dictionnaire' Credit: NSA Digital Archive / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

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We ask whether almost half the words in the English language are of French origin.<![CDATA[

Are almost half the words in the English language of French origin? It’s a claim one of our loyal listeners found surprising. Tim Harford talks to Dr Beth Malory, lecturer in English Linguistics at University College London, who explains why so many words derived from French have ended up in English.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Daniel Gordon Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Picture: A French dictionary showing the entry 'Dictionnaire' Credit: NSA Digital Archive / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

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Sat, 07 Oct 2023 05:00:00 +0000585urn:bbc:podcast:p0gjy078http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gjy078cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gjy078
Vaccine claims, Alzheimer's treatment and Tim's Parkrun times<![CDATA[

John Campbell, a YouTuber whose posts get millions of views, has made claims about excess deaths and the Covid vaccine. We show why he's incorrect. Also will a much-vaunted new treatment for Alzheimer's really change lives and how much longer can Tim expect his Parkrun times to improve? We look at the trends – and the rest of the team’s times.

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We debunk claims about excess deaths and the covid vaccine made by YouTuber John Campbell<![CDATA[

John Campbell, a YouTuber whose posts get millions of views, has made claims about excess deaths and the Covid vaccine. We show why he's incorrect. Also will a much-vaunted new treatment for Alzheimer's really change lives and how much longer can Tim expect his Parkrun times to improve? We look at the trends – and the rest of the team’s times.

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Wed, 04 Oct 2023 08:30:00 +00001705urn:bbc:podcast:p0gj8frdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gj8frdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gj8frd
Is the UK really ahead in cutting carbon emissions?<![CDATA[

The UK Prime Minister has announced several changes to key policies designed to help Britain reach net zero by 2050. In a major speech justifying what many see as a watering down of commitments, Rishi Sunak championed Britain’s achievements to date in cutting emissions. But where does the UK actually stand compared to other countries? Tim Harford talks to Hannah Ritchie from Our World in Data and author of “Not the End of the World”.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower, Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Photo: Smoke rising out of chimneys at Ratcliffe on Soar power station Credit: David Jones / PA)

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As the UK changes course in its path to net zero, how does it compare with other nations?<![CDATA[

The UK Prime Minister has announced several changes to key policies designed to help Britain reach net zero by 2050. In a major speech justifying what many see as a watering down of commitments, Rishi Sunak championed Britain’s achievements to date in cutting emissions. But where does the UK actually stand compared to other countries? Tim Harford talks to Hannah Ritchie from Our World in Data and author of “Not the End of the World”.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower, Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Photo: Smoke rising out of chimneys at Ratcliffe on Soar power station Credit: David Jones / PA)

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Sat, 30 Sep 2023 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0ghk7dmhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ghk7dmcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0ghk7dm
NHS consultant pay, Net Zero claims and Scotland's ferry woes<![CDATA[

NHS consultants in England are striking over a pay offer of 6%. We look at whether they are paid an average of £120,000 a year and examine how much their pay compared to inflation has fallen. Also we fact check some of the claims Rishi Sunak made in his net zero speech, ask whether Britain is really that bad at building infrastructure compared to other countries and investigate the real levels of cancellations at Scotland and the UK's largest ferry company, Calmac.

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Are consultants in England really paid an average of £120,000 a year?<![CDATA[

NHS consultants in England are striking over a pay offer of 6%. We look at whether they are paid an average of £120,000 a year and examine how much their pay compared to inflation has fallen. Also we fact check some of the claims Rishi Sunak made in his net zero speech, ask whether Britain is really that bad at building infrastructure compared to other countries and investigate the real levels of cancellations at Scotland and the UK's largest ferry company, Calmac.

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Wed, 27 Sep 2023 08:30:00 +00001825urn:bbc:podcast:p0ggvbxqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ggvbxqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0ggvbxq
Which city has the longest canals?<![CDATA[

After a listener emailed More or Less to ask whether world famous Venice or the slightly less famous English city of Birmingham has more canals, Daniel Gordon decided to investigate and widen the question to the whole world – with some interesting answers.

Guests: Giovanni Giusto, Venice City Councillor David Edwards-May, Inland Waterways International Dr Hamed Samir, University of Basra Bai Lee, Editor of China Grand Canal

Presenter/Producer: Daniel Gordon Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: David Crackles

(Picture: Gondola in Venice Credit: Jane Worthy/BBC)

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We dive into the world of waterways after a listener asked who has the longest canals.<![CDATA[

After a listener emailed More or Less to ask whether world famous Venice or the slightly less famous English city of Birmingham has more canals, Daniel Gordon decided to investigate and widen the question to the whole world – with some interesting answers.

Guests: Giovanni Giusto, Venice City Councillor David Edwards-May, Inland Waterways International Dr Hamed Samir, University of Basra Bai Lee, Editor of China Grand Canal

Presenter/Producer: Daniel Gordon Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: David Crackles

(Picture: Gondola in Venice Credit: Jane Worthy/BBC)

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Sat, 23 Sep 2023 05:00:00 +0000575urn:bbc:podcast:p0gg676fhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gg676fcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gg676f
Social housing, NHS workforce and Liz Truss debt claims<![CDATA[

Long: Housing minister Rachel Maclean claimed the government has built a record number of social rent homes. Tim and the team investigate. Following Lucy Letby’s conviction, we look at how sentences for murder have changed over the past few decades. Plus after Liz Truss’s speech this week defending her short stint as Prime Minister, Tim reminds us how her mini-budget raised borrowing costs and might have pushed up the national debt even more. And will 1 in 11 workers in England really work for the NHS by the middle of the next decade?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyProducers: Daniel Gordon, Natasha Fernandes, Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonald,Editor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Maria OgundeleSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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Have the Tories really built a record number of social rent homes since 2010?<![CDATA[

Long: Housing minister Rachel Maclean claimed the government has built a record number of social rent homes. Tim and the team investigate. Following Lucy Letby’s conviction, we look at how sentences for murder have changed over the past few decades. Plus after Liz Truss’s speech this week defending her short stint as Prime Minister, Tim reminds us how her mini-budget raised borrowing costs and might have pushed up the national debt even more. And will 1 in 11 workers in England really work for the NHS by the middle of the next decade?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyProducers: Daniel Gordon, Natasha Fernandes, Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonald,Editor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Maria OgundeleSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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Wed, 20 Sep 2023 09:40:00 +00001667urn:bbc:podcast:p0gfm0wkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gfm0wkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gfm0wk
How to approach the world through numbers<![CDATA[

How can we navigate our lives in a more efficient and satisfactory way? It’s a question Professor David Sumpter is looking to answer in his new book, Four Ways of Thinking. He talks to Tim Harford about four different approaches to our day to day challenges.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Sound Engineer: Andy Fell Editor: Richard Vadon

(Picture: Conceptual illustration of mathematics Credit: Science Photo Library / Getty)

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Professor David Sumpter talks to Tim Harford about his new book<![CDATA[

How can we navigate our lives in a more efficient and satisfactory way? It’s a question Professor David Sumpter is looking to answer in his new book, Four Ways of Thinking. He talks to Tim Harford about four different approaches to our day to day challenges.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Sound Engineer: Andy Fell Editor: Richard Vadon

(Picture: Conceptual illustration of mathematics Credit: Science Photo Library / Getty)

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Sat, 16 Sep 2023 05:00:00 +0000568urn:bbc:podcast:p0gdw6yvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gdw6yvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gdw6yv
Skin cancer, London rents and your great great great granddaughter<![CDATA[

A BBC report quoted a study that said 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women in the UK will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Tim Harford and the team look into the detail. Also London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan said London’s average rent will hit £2,700 a month next year, with the average take home salary £2,131. How accurate are the figures and what do they tell us about the affordability of the capital’s rental properties? We fact check Donald Trump’s recent claim that 35,000 Americans died building the Panama Canal. And as noughties band Busted re-release Year 3000 with the Jonas Brothers, just how many greats should be in front of “granddaughter” in that famous lyric?

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Is it true that 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women in the UK will get skin cancer?<![CDATA[

A BBC report quoted a study that said 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women in the UK will get skin cancer in their lifetime. Tim Harford and the team look into the detail. Also London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan said London’s average rent will hit £2,700 a month next year, with the average take home salary £2,131. How accurate are the figures and what do they tell us about the affordability of the capital’s rental properties? We fact check Donald Trump’s recent claim that 35,000 Americans died building the Panama Canal. And as noughties band Busted re-release Year 3000 with the Jonas Brothers, just how many greats should be in front of “granddaughter” in that famous lyric?

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Wed, 13 Sep 2023 08:29:00 +00001732urn:bbc:podcast:p0gd5gflhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gd5gflcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gd5gfl
Did 35,000 Americans die building the Panama Canal?<![CDATA[

The construction of the Panama Canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Central America is considered one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. It also caused enormous human suffering and loss of life. Donald Trump claimed in a recent interview that 35,000 Americans died in the canal’s construction. But is that true? Tim Harford finds out, with the help of Matthew Parker, author of Hell’s Gorge: The Battle to Build the Panama Canal. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot (Boat Crossing on the Panama Canal in Panama Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

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We fact check a claim made by Donald Trump about the world famous canal<![CDATA[

The construction of the Panama Canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through Central America is considered one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. It also caused enormous human suffering and loss of life. Donald Trump claimed in a recent interview that 35,000 Americans died in the canal’s construction. But is that true? Tim Harford finds out, with the help of Matthew Parker, author of Hell’s Gorge: The Battle to Build the Panama Canal. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot (Boat Crossing on the Panama Canal in Panama Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

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Mon, 11 Sep 2023 16:04:00 +0000851urn:bbc:podcast:p0gcyz95http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gcyz95cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gcyz95
Covid deaths, North Sea gas and Chloe Kelly's World Cup penalty<![CDATA[

Covid related deaths are rising in England and Wales - but what do the figures really tell us? Also the UK's GDP during the pandemic has been revised upwards. Tim Harford and team ask why and discuss what it tells us about the UK's economic performance compared to other countries. Is North Sea gas really four times cleaner than gas from abroad? It's a claim recently made by the government. And we ask whether Chloe Kelly's penalty shot at the World Cup was really faster than the Premier League's fastest goal last season.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Natasha FernandesEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Maria Ogundele

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Covid related deaths are rising in England and Wales - we investigate the figures<![CDATA[

Covid related deaths are rising in England and Wales - but what do the figures really tell us? Also the UK's GDP during the pandemic has been revised upwards. Tim Harford and team ask why and discuss what it tells us about the UK's economic performance compared to other countries. Is North Sea gas really four times cleaner than gas from abroad? It's a claim recently made by the government. And we ask whether Chloe Kelly's penalty shot at the World Cup was really faster than the Premier League's fastest goal last season.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Natasha FernandesEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Maria Ogundele

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Wed, 06 Sep 2023 08:30:00 +00001723urn:bbc:podcast:p0gbvhqthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gbvhqtcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gbvhqt
What percentage of our brain do we actually use?<![CDATA[

On this week’s episode of More or Less we interrogate a widely circulated myth relating to how much of our brain power we can access and engage. Ever heard someone say, “You know we can only use 10% of our brains, right?”. Well, they’re wrong. It’s the stuff of make believe and far-fetched movie plots. Science and evidence based research tells us so - and has, it turns out, been telling us so for decades…politely, if impatiently. So, then, if not 10%…what percentage of our brain do we actually use? From dark matter neurons to super-highway synapse and ghost cells that serve as inert echoes of our evolutionary past - with the help of two leading experts in the field, we crack open the figurative cranium of this debate and rummage around for the definitive truth.

Presenter: Paul Connolly Producers: Jon Bithrey, Natasha Fernandes Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

(Artificial intelligence brain network/Getty)

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Do we have access to some or all of our brain-power?<![CDATA[

On this week’s episode of More or Less we interrogate a widely circulated myth relating to how much of our brain power we can access and engage. Ever heard someone say, “You know we can only use 10% of our brains, right?”. Well, they’re wrong. It’s the stuff of make believe and far-fetched movie plots. Science and evidence based research tells us so - and has, it turns out, been telling us so for decades…politely, if impatiently. So, then, if not 10%…what percentage of our brain do we actually use? From dark matter neurons to super-highway synapse and ghost cells that serve as inert echoes of our evolutionary past - with the help of two leading experts in the field, we crack open the figurative cranium of this debate and rummage around for the definitive truth.

Presenter: Paul Connolly Producers: Jon Bithrey, Natasha Fernandes Editor: Richard Vadon Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

(Artificial intelligence brain network/Getty)

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Sat, 02 Sep 2023 05:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0gb3p8xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0gb3p8xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0gb3p8x
HS2 and electric cars, UK vs China emissions & massive maths errors<![CDATA[

Can you really buy an electric car for everybody in the UK for the cost of HS2? That claim was recently made on Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme. Also we look at a viral claim that 1 in 73 people who received the Covid vaccine in England was dead by May 2022. Plus we look at the size of the UK's carbon emissions when compared with China and talk about how a recent More or Less maths error pales in comparison to one in the Guardian.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Natasha FernandesProduction Co-ordinator: Janet StaplesEditor: Richard Vadon

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Can you really buy an electric car for everybody in the UK for the cost of HS2?<![CDATA[

Can you really buy an electric car for everybody in the UK for the cost of HS2? That claim was recently made on Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme. Also we look at a viral claim that 1 in 73 people who received the Covid vaccine in England was dead by May 2022. Plus we look at the size of the UK's carbon emissions when compared with China and talk about how a recent More or Less maths error pales in comparison to one in the Guardian.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Natasha FernandesProduction Co-ordinator: Janet StaplesEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 30 Aug 2023 08:30:00 +00001718urn:bbc:podcast:p0g9hh8mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g9hh8mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g9hh8m
How safe is the release of f*ckushima nuclear plant water?<![CDATA[

Water used to cool nuclear reactors at the stricken f*ckushima nuclear power plant in Japan is being released into the Pacific Ocean by Japanese authorities. The move has sparked protests and concerns about safety in the region and met with retaliation from near neighbour China. But how safe is the water that’s been released? Presenter Charlotte McDonald and reporter Calum Grewar investigate, with the help of Professor Jim Smith of the University of Portsmouth and Professor Gerry Thomas, formerly of Imperial College London and the Chernobyl Tissue Bank.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldReporter: Calum GrewarProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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We ask whether there are any risks posed by the release into the Pacific Ocean.<![CDATA[

Water used to cool nuclear reactors at the stricken f*ckushima nuclear power plant in Japan is being released into the Pacific Ocean by Japanese authorities. The move has sparked protests and concerns about safety in the region and met with retaliation from near neighbour China. But how safe is the water that’s been released? Presenter Charlotte McDonald and reporter Calum Grewar investigate, with the help of Professor Jim Smith of the University of Portsmouth and Professor Gerry Thomas, formerly of Imperial College London and the Chernobyl Tissue Bank.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldReporter: Calum GrewarProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Sat, 26 Aug 2023 05:00:00 +0000593urn:bbc:podcast:p0g8vzv0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g8vzv0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g8vzv0
How many butterflies are there in the world?<![CDATA[

Butterflies are a much-loved feature of summer in many parts of the world. But how many of them are there on Earth?

That’s the question a young listener to More or Less wanted an answer to – and she couldn’t find the answer no matter how hard she searched the internet.

Presenter Daniel Gordon enlists Professor Jane Hill, a butterfly expert at York University, England, who’s also President of the Royal Entomological Society, to try and help solve the mystery.

He also consults Holly Mynott, International Officer of Butterfly Conservation, who describes the techniques used to run The Big Butterfly Count in the UK – the biggest event of its kind in the world.

Producer/Presenter: Daniel GordonSeries Producer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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The world’s butterfly population doesn’t seem to be online – so what is it?<![CDATA[

Butterflies are a much-loved feature of summer in many parts of the world. But how many of them are there on Earth?

That’s the question a young listener to More or Less wanted an answer to – and she couldn’t find the answer no matter how hard she searched the internet.

Presenter Daniel Gordon enlists Professor Jane Hill, a butterfly expert at York University, England, who’s also President of the Royal Entomological Society, to try and help solve the mystery.

He also consults Holly Mynott, International Officer of Butterfly Conservation, who describes the techniques used to run The Big Butterfly Count in the UK – the biggest event of its kind in the world.

Producer/Presenter: Daniel GordonSeries Producer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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Sat, 19 Aug 2023 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0g7jkbnhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g7jkbncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g7jkbn
Why is it so hard to predict the outcome of competitions like the Premier League?<![CDATA[

Football competitions are kicking off all around Europe in the coming days and weeks, including the world’s most watched division: The English Premier League. We might make our predictions on who we think is going to win a sporting competition but what factors are we considering?In this programme we look at some of the most popular variables that are taken into account when making sporting predictions and why even these have drawbacks. From upcoming football leagues to the Olympic Games, Head Analyst from Nielsen Gracenote, Simon Gleave tells us what are some of the most difficult sports to predict and why.

Presenter: Paul ConnollyProducer: Natasha FernandesEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinators: Debbie Richford and Janet StaplesSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

Image: Premier League Trophy, Credit: Carl Recine/Reuters

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What variables do we look at when we try to predict the outcome of a sports competition?<![CDATA[

Football competitions are kicking off all around Europe in the coming days and weeks, including the world’s most watched division: The English Premier League. We might make our predictions on who we think is going to win a sporting competition but what factors are we considering?In this programme we look at some of the most popular variables that are taken into account when making sporting predictions and why even these have drawbacks. From upcoming football leagues to the Olympic Games, Head Analyst from Nielsen Gracenote, Simon Gleave tells us what are some of the most difficult sports to predict and why.

Presenter: Paul ConnollyProducer: Natasha FernandesEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinators: Debbie Richford and Janet StaplesSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

Image: Premier League Trophy, Credit: Carl Recine/Reuters

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Sat, 12 Aug 2023 05:00:00 +0000588urn:bbc:podcast:p0g672kshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g672kscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g672ks
Are the media exaggerating how hot it is in the Mediterranean?<![CDATA[

Reports on heatwaves across the globe have dominated our newsfeeds over the last few weeks, with temperatures said to have soared over the 40C mark in many parts of Europe. But across social media, not everyone is buying it. A trickle of scepticism swelled to a tidal surge, with people questioning whether temperatures are being hyped up by the wider media to drive fear and scare-monger.

In this programme, we unpick allegations made about how these temperatures are recorded - and if they are accurate. We hear from Samantha Burgess at the Copernicus Climate Change Service; Alessandro Delitala from the Sardinia Environmental Protection Agency; and Sean Buchan from Climate Action Against Disinformation. Presenter: Paul Connolly Producer: Natasha Fernandes Editor: Richard Vadon Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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A look at how accurately media report on the weather – especially recent heatwaves.<![CDATA[

Reports on heatwaves across the globe have dominated our newsfeeds over the last few weeks, with temperatures said to have soared over the 40C mark in many parts of Europe. But across social media, not everyone is buying it. A trickle of scepticism swelled to a tidal surge, with people questioning whether temperatures are being hyped up by the wider media to drive fear and scare-monger.

In this programme, we unpick allegations made about how these temperatures are recorded - and if they are accurate. We hear from Samantha Burgess at the Copernicus Climate Change Service; Alessandro Delitala from the Sardinia Environmental Protection Agency; and Sean Buchan from Climate Action Against Disinformation. Presenter: Paul Connolly Producer: Natasha Fernandes Editor: Richard Vadon Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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Sat, 05 Aug 2023 05:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0g4wqmdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g4wqmdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g4wqmd
Data, extreme weather and climate change<![CDATA[

Recent global headlines have been dominated by record temperatures across Europe, North America and parts of Asia. As extreme weather events have happened for decades, how are links to climate change made? In this programme we look at how scientists use data to draw climate conclusions and hear how that data isn’t always available, with a focus on severe flooding earlier this year in part of Central Africa. With Joyce Kimutai, principal meteorologist and climate scientist at the Kenya Meteorological Department and researcher at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College.

Presenter: Kate LambleProducer: Nathan Gower, Jon BithreyEditor: Simon WattsProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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The role data plays in climate attribution - and why we don’t always have it<![CDATA[

Recent global headlines have been dominated by record temperatures across Europe, North America and parts of Asia. As extreme weather events have happened for decades, how are links to climate change made? In this programme we look at how scientists use data to draw climate conclusions and hear how that data isn’t always available, with a focus on severe flooding earlier this year in part of Central Africa. With Joyce Kimutai, principal meteorologist and climate scientist at the Kenya Meteorological Department and researcher at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College.

Presenter: Kate LambleProducer: Nathan Gower, Jon BithreyEditor: Simon WattsProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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Sat, 29 Jul 2023 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0g3k4c1http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g3k4c1cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g3k4c1
Ukraine war: A new way of calculating Russian deaths<![CDATA[

Official information on the numbers of dead and injured in the Ukraine war has been in short supply. Little has come from either the Ukrainian or Russian sides, with estimates from western governments and intelligence agencies filling the information void. But some Russian journalists have been documenting war deaths and have come up with a new way of estimating fatalities using probate records. With contributions from David Frenkel, reporter at Mediazona and the BBC’s Russian Service correspondent Olga Ivshina.

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How Russian journalists are using probate records to estimate fatalities<![CDATA[

Official information on the numbers of dead and injured in the Ukraine war has been in short supply. Little has come from either the Ukrainian or Russian sides, with estimates from western governments and intelligence agencies filling the information void. But some Russian journalists have been documenting war deaths and have come up with a new way of estimating fatalities using probate records. With contributions from David Frenkel, reporter at Mediazona and the BBC’s Russian Service correspondent Olga Ivshina.

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Sat, 22 Jul 2023 05:00:00 +0000582urn:bbc:podcast:p0g26yfxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g26yfxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g26yfx
Are more adult nappies sold in Japan than baby ones?<![CDATA[

Japan has one of the highest rates of life expectancy and one of the lowest birth rates. But does that mean that a widely circulated claim – that more nappies aimed at adults are sold in Japan than those made for babies – is true? With guests Sarah Parsons, Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS in London and Dr Mireya Solis, Knight Chair in Japan Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldReporter: Isobel GoughProducers: Isobel Gough, Jon BithreySound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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We examine a claim related to the perception of Japan as an ageing society.<![CDATA[

Japan has one of the highest rates of life expectancy and one of the lowest birth rates. But does that mean that a widely circulated claim – that more nappies aimed at adults are sold in Japan than those made for babies – is true? With guests Sarah Parsons, Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS in London and Dr Mireya Solis, Knight Chair in Japan Studies at the Brookings Institution.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldReporter: Isobel GoughProducers: Isobel Gough, Jon BithreySound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Sat, 15 Jul 2023 05:00:00 +0000569urn:bbc:podcast:p0g0xv60http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0g0xv60cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0g0xv60
Does it take 10,000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans?<![CDATA[

Various claims have been made about how much water is used in the production of a pair of jeans, that cornerstone of casual clothing. With growing worries over the environmental impact of denim production, More or Less decided to investigate - with the help of journalist and researcher Elizabeth L. Cline who has written extensively on sustainability and the fashion industry. This programme was first broadcast in July 2022. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Lizzy McNeill, Jon Bithrey Programme Coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound engineer: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (A worker sews blue jeans in a textile company in Xintang, China, dubbed the 'denim jeans capital of the world'. Photo: Lucas Schifres/Getty images)

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The numbers behind water use and denim production.<![CDATA[

Various claims have been made about how much water is used in the production of a pair of jeans, that cornerstone of casual clothing. With growing worries over the environmental impact of denim production, More or Less decided to investigate - with the help of journalist and researcher Elizabeth L. Cline who has written extensively on sustainability and the fashion industry. This programme was first broadcast in July 2022. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Lizzy McNeill, Jon Bithrey Programme Coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound engineer: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (A worker sews blue jeans in a textile company in Xintang, China, dubbed the 'denim jeans capital of the world'. Photo: Lucas Schifres/Getty images)

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Sat, 08 Jul 2023 05:00:00 +0000581urn:bbc:podcast:p0fzmb71http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fzmb71cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fzmb71
Immigration: A More or Less Special Programme<![CDATA[

More than 1.2 million people came into the country to stay for more than 12 months in 2022. As only 560,000 left the country, this means net migration is at an all-time high. Both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have said the number of people coming needs to come down. But who counts as an immigrant? How are the figures worked out?

Charlotte McDonald will be finding out what the numbers tell us about who is coming to the UK and why. Plus - what about the people who left in 2022?

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Who is coming to the UK - and how do we count them?<![CDATA[

More than 1.2 million people came into the country to stay for more than 12 months in 2022. As only 560,000 left the country, this means net migration is at an all-time high. Both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have said the number of people coming needs to come down. But who counts as an immigrant? How are the figures worked out?

Charlotte McDonald will be finding out what the numbers tell us about who is coming to the UK and why. Plus - what about the people who left in 2022?

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Wed, 05 Jul 2023 08:30:00 +00001736urn:bbc:podcast:p0fyysdrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fyysdrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fyysdr
Will there be just 6 grandchildren for every 100 South Koreans?<![CDATA[

An article on the UK’s Telegraph newspaper website claimed that there would be just 6 grandchildren for every 100 South Koreans today. We ask whether that figure is correct and look at why South Korea’s birth rate has fallen to one of the lowest in the world, with the help of author and mathematician Rob Eastaway and journalist and author Hawon Jung.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Bethan Ashmead Latham, Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: James Beard

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We look at the numbers around South Korea’s birth rate and the reasons why it’s so low.<![CDATA[

An article on the UK’s Telegraph newspaper website claimed that there would be just 6 grandchildren for every 100 South Koreans today. We ask whether that figure is correct and look at why South Korea’s birth rate has fallen to one of the lowest in the world, with the help of author and mathematician Rob Eastaway and journalist and author Hawon Jung.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Bethan Ashmead Latham, Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: James Beard

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Sat, 01 Jul 2023 05:00:00 +0000575urn:bbc:podcast:p0fy91wfhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fy91wfcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fy91wf
Halving inflation, Scottish tidal power and have 1 in 3 women had an abortion?<![CDATA[

One of Rishi Sunak's five priorities for 2023 is to halve inflation. Given prices are still rising, we discuss whether it's going be possible. Also does Scotland have more tidal power capacity than the rest of the world combined, as has been claimed? We look at competing claims about how prepared the NHS was before the pandemic, ask whether scrapping VAT on products like tampons and e-books has actually benefitted consumers and look at the claim that one in three women in the UK has had an abortion.

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Will Rishi Sunak’s pledge to halve inflation happen?<![CDATA[

One of Rishi Sunak's five priorities for 2023 is to halve inflation. Given prices are still rising, we discuss whether it's going be possible. Also does Scotland have more tidal power capacity than the rest of the world combined, as has been claimed? We look at competing claims about how prepared the NHS was before the pandemic, ask whether scrapping VAT on products like tampons and e-books has actually benefitted consumers and look at the claim that one in three women in the UK has had an abortion.

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Wed, 28 Jun 2023 08:30:00 +00001882urn:bbc:podcast:p0fxmcgyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fxmcgycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fxmcgy
US National Debt: is $32 trillion a big number?<![CDATA[

‘This episode was updated on 26th June to remove an error in how we quantified 32 trillion dollars’ The level of US government debt has just surpassed 32 trillion dollars. Negotiations over raising the borrowing limit once again went down to the wire a few weeks ago. But how concerned should we all be about how much the US government borrows? We investigate with the help of Kent Smetters, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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How concerned should we be about how much the US government borrows?<![CDATA[

‘This episode was updated on 26th June to remove an error in how we quantified 32 trillion dollars’ The level of US government debt has just surpassed 32 trillion dollars. Negotiations over raising the borrowing limit once again went down to the wire a few weeks ago. But how concerned should we all be about how much the US government borrows? We investigate with the help of Kent Smetters, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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Sat, 24 Jun 2023 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0fwzj9fhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fwzj9fcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fwzj9f
Mortgages, birth rates and does space contribute 18% to UK GDP?<![CDATA[

Mortgage rates have risen to 6%. But are things as bad as when rates were much higher in the 1970s and 80s? We look at just how much pain today's rises mean. Also will there be just 6 grandchildren for every 100 South Koreans today? And we look into a claim that the space industry supports 18% of the UK's economy.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Beth Ashmead Latham, Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Who will be most affected by mortgage rate increases?<![CDATA[

Mortgage rates have risen to 6%. But are things as bad as when rates were much higher in the 1970s and 80s? We look at just how much pain today's rises mean. Also will there be just 6 grandchildren for every 100 South Koreans today? And we look into a claim that the space industry supports 18% of the UK's economy.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Beth Ashmead Latham, Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Wed, 21 Jun 2023 08:30:00 +00001720urn:bbc:podcast:p0fw9dn9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fw9dn9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fw9dn9
Is breastfeeding the key to exam success?<![CDATA[

A new study by researchers at Oxford University has linked better exam results at school with being breastfed as a baby. But how much faith can we put in the findings? Tim Harford speaks to Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University in the US and the author of three books about pregnancy and parenting.

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We look at a new UK study that links being breastfed as a baby with academic achievement.<![CDATA[

A new study by researchers at Oxford University has linked better exam results at school with being breastfed as a baby. But how much faith can we put in the findings? Tim Harford speaks to Emily Oster, professor of economics at Brown University in the US and the author of three books about pregnancy and parenting.

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Sat, 17 Jun 2023 05:00:00 +0000562urn:bbc:podcast:p0fvpl7hhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fvpl7hcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fvpl7h
Electric vehicles, 600 million bottles and does oral sex cause cancer?<![CDATA[

There's been a lot of coverage about the risks electric cars may pose to infrastructure like bridges and car parks. We look at how much heavier EVs are. Plus we look at a new study that suggests a link between breastfeeding and improved grades at GCSE level. Also is throat cancer now primarily caused by a sexually transmitted disease - and are 600 million bottles going to litter Scotland because of disagreements with the UK government over the new Deposit Return Scheme?

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Is the weight of electric vehicles a risk to infrastructure?<![CDATA[

There's been a lot of coverage about the risks electric cars may pose to infrastructure like bridges and car parks. We look at how much heavier EVs are. Plus we look at a new study that suggests a link between breastfeeding and improved grades at GCSE level. Also is throat cancer now primarily caused by a sexually transmitted disease - and are 600 million bottles going to litter Scotland because of disagreements with the UK government over the new Deposit Return Scheme?

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Wed, 14 Jun 2023 08:30:00 +00001935urn:bbc:podcast:p0ftzp0khttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ftzp0kcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0ftzp0k
Counting Hunger in India<![CDATA[

How prevalent is hunger and malnutrition in India? With Indian data journalist Rukmini S, we interrogate recent claims that hunger has worsened dramatically in recent years, and explore how malnutrition affects child mortality in the world’s most populous country.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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Is it true that hunger has worsened in India?<![CDATA[

How prevalent is hunger and malnutrition in India? With Indian data journalist Rukmini S, we interrogate recent claims that hunger has worsened dramatically in recent years, and explore how malnutrition affects child mortality in the world’s most populous country.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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Sat, 10 Jun 2023 05:00:00 +0000572urn:bbc:podcast:p0ft90mzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ft90mzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0ft90mz
Lib Dem ambulance claims, affordable rent and goat meat<![CDATA[

The Liberal Democrats say 120 people a day in England died last year whilst waiting for an ambulance. We investigate whether the claim stands up to scrutiny. Also Rishi Sunak's pandemic-era scheme Eat Out To Help Out is back in the spotlight. How much did it really contribute to a second wave of infections? We look at a claim that no single woman in England on an average salary can afford to rent a home of her own. And Jonathan Agnew said on Test Match Special that goat is the most eaten meat in the world. Is he right?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Jo Casserly, Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

(Woman looking for a flat to rent. Credit: Oscar Wong/Getty images)

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Did 120 people a day in England die last year whilst waiting for an ambulance?<![CDATA[

The Liberal Democrats say 120 people a day in England died last year whilst waiting for an ambulance. We investigate whether the claim stands up to scrutiny. Also Rishi Sunak's pandemic-era scheme Eat Out To Help Out is back in the spotlight. How much did it really contribute to a second wave of infections? We look at a claim that no single woman in England on an average salary can afford to rent a home of her own. And Jonathan Agnew said on Test Match Special that goat is the most eaten meat in the world. Is he right?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Jo Casserly, Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

(Woman looking for a flat to rent. Credit: Oscar Wong/Getty images)

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Wed, 07 Jun 2023 08:30:00 +00001722urn:bbc:podcast:p0fsnzlchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fsnzlccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fsnzlc
A short history of data<![CDATA[

We live in a world where data is everywhere – informing if not governing our lives. But this wealth of data didn’t just turn up overnight. Tim Harford talks to academics Chris Wiggins and Matthew Jones, whose new book How Data Happened aims to explain how the world we know today has been shaped by not just technological developments but battles around how emerging sources of data should be utilised.

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How the evolution of data over centuries has shaped today’s world<![CDATA[

We live in a world where data is everywhere – informing if not governing our lives. But this wealth of data didn’t just turn up overnight. Tim Harford talks to academics Chris Wiggins and Matthew Jones, whose new book How Data Happened aims to explain how the world we know today has been shaped by not just technological developments but battles around how emerging sources of data should be utilised.

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Sat, 03 Jun 2023 05:00:00 +0000588urn:bbc:podcast:p0fs0728http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fs0728cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fs0728
Food prices, net migration and beef about beef<![CDATA[

Does Britain really have the most affordable food in Europe? That's a recent claim of the President of the National Farmers' Union. We ask if it's true and look in detail at what is driving rising food prices in the UK. We also try and make sense of the latest net migration figures, ask if dating apps are making Gen Z more single and explain why a correction to a correction on Radio 4's Farming Today wasn't quite right.

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Does Britain really have the most affordable food in Europe?<![CDATA[

Does Britain really have the most affordable food in Europe? That's a recent claim of the President of the National Farmers' Union. We ask if it's true and look in detail at what is driving rising food prices in the UK. We also try and make sense of the latest net migration figures, ask if dating apps are making Gen Z more single and explain why a correction to a correction on Radio 4's Farming Today wasn't quite right.

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Wed, 31 May 2023 08:30:00 +00001802urn:bbc:podcast:p0frb33qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0frb33qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0frb33q
Are young people more single than ever before?<![CDATA[

What’s the definition of being single – and how easy is it to measure? There’s a perception that young people today are more single – in a relationship sense - than ever, and dating apps are to blame. But how true is that? Ellie House investigates, with the help of Marina Adshade of the Vancouver School of Economics. Presenter: Ellie HouseProducers: Ellie House, Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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How to define and measure being single – and are dating apps to blame?<![CDATA[

What’s the definition of being single – and how easy is it to measure? There’s a perception that young people today are more single – in a relationship sense - than ever, and dating apps are to blame. But how true is that? Ellie House investigates, with the help of Marina Adshade of the Vancouver School of Economics. Presenter: Ellie HouseProducers: Ellie House, Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Sun, 28 May 2023 18:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0fqq1l6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fqq1l6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fqq1l6
NHS waiting lists, Voter ID and measuring divorce<![CDATA[

The government has trumpeted a big fall in those waiting over 18 months for hospital treatment in England. But total numbers on waiting lists have hit a new high. Also we look at how much impact the introduction of Voter ID had on turnout in May's English local elections. We ask whether Portugal really has a divorce rate of 94%. And we remember mathematician Dr Vicky Neale of Oxford University, who has died at the age of 39.The government has trumpeted a big fall in those waiting over 18 months for hospital treatment in England. But total numbers on waiting lists have hit a new high. Also we look at how much impact the introduction of Voter ID had on turnout in May's English local elections. We ask whether Portugal really has a divorce rate of 94%. And we remember mathematician Dr Vicky Neale of Oxford University, who has died at the age of 39.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Josephine Casserly, Octavia Woodward, Ellie HouseSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Why a fall in those waiting longest for treatment in England isn't telling the whole story<![CDATA[

The government has trumpeted a big fall in those waiting over 18 months for hospital treatment in England. But total numbers on waiting lists have hit a new high. Also we look at how much impact the introduction of Voter ID had on turnout in May's English local elections. We ask whether Portugal really has a divorce rate of 94%. And we remember mathematician Dr Vicky Neale of Oxford University, who has died at the age of 39.The government has trumpeted a big fall in those waiting over 18 months for hospital treatment in England. But total numbers on waiting lists have hit a new high. Also we look at how much impact the introduction of Voter ID had on turnout in May's English local elections. We ask whether Portugal really has a divorce rate of 94%. And we remember mathematician Dr Vicky Neale of Oxford University, who has died at the age of 39.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Josephine Casserly, Octavia Woodward, Ellie HouseSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Wed, 24 May 2023 08:30:00 +00001715urn:bbc:podcast:p0fpztgmhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fpztgmcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fpztgm
Detecting Bad Science with Data<![CDATA[

For more than a decade there’ve been longstanding concerns about the credibility and reliability of science research. This “bad science” has often stemmed from poor data practice or worse. But statistics can also help us identify and understand some of what’s going wrong, whether that’s selective data-slicing or outright fabrication.

Tim Harford talks to writer and broadcaster Michael Blastland about his new BBC radio documentary ‘The Truth Police’, which hears from the outsiders who are calling out fraud, malpractice and incompetence in science.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: James Beard

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Uncovering fraud, malpractice and incompetence in science<![CDATA[

For more than a decade there’ve been longstanding concerns about the credibility and reliability of science research. This “bad science” has often stemmed from poor data practice or worse. But statistics can also help us identify and understand some of what’s going wrong, whether that’s selective data-slicing or outright fabrication.

Tim Harford talks to writer and broadcaster Michael Blastland about his new BBC radio documentary ‘The Truth Police’, which hears from the outsiders who are calling out fraud, malpractice and incompetence in science.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: James Beard

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Sat, 20 May 2023 05:00:00 +0000626urn:bbc:podcast:p0fpb87thttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fpb87tcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fpb87t
Do 94% of marriages in Portugal really end in divorce?<![CDATA[

Portugal has a divorce rate of 94% and India just 1%, according to a social media post about divorce in 33 countries that has gone viral. But how are these figures calculated and what do they really tell us about the quality and endurance of marriage? We investigate with guests Marina Adshade, assistant professor at the Vancouver School of Economics and Dr Cheng-Tong Lir Wang of the Institute for the Future in San Francisco.

Presenter: Ben CarterProducers: Octavia Woodward and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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We examine a social media post that claims to outline rates of divorce across the world.<![CDATA[

Portugal has a divorce rate of 94% and India just 1%, according to a social media post about divorce in 33 countries that has gone viral. But how are these figures calculated and what do they really tell us about the quality and endurance of marriage? We investigate with guests Marina Adshade, assistant professor at the Vancouver School of Economics and Dr Cheng-Tong Lir Wang of the Institute for the Future in San Francisco.

Presenter: Ben CarterProducers: Octavia Woodward and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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Sat, 13 May 2023 05:00:00 +0000621urn:bbc:podcast:p0fn0lnwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fn0lnwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fn0lnw
Why is life expectancy falling in the USA?<![CDATA[

The average life expectancy of Americans is shrinking at an alarming rate.

Between 2019 and 2021, a staggering 2.7 years has been shaved off, leaving the revised figure at 76.1 years - the lowest it’s been in more than two decades.

It also sees the U.S. rank 46th in the global life expectancy charts, behind Estonia and just a nose ahead of Panama.

Paul Connolly is joined by John Burn Murdoch, Mary Pat Campbell and Dr Nick Mark to discuss why, on average, citizens of the world’s richest country are dying so young.

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We ask why average life expectancy in America is falling so quickly.<![CDATA[

The average life expectancy of Americans is shrinking at an alarming rate.

Between 2019 and 2021, a staggering 2.7 years has been shaved off, leaving the revised figure at 76.1 years - the lowest it’s been in more than two decades.

It also sees the U.S. rank 46th in the global life expectancy charts, behind Estonia and just a nose ahead of Panama.

Paul Connolly is joined by John Burn Murdoch, Mary Pat Campbell and Dr Nick Mark to discuss why, on average, citizens of the world’s richest country are dying so young.

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Sat, 06 May 2023 05:00:00 +0000621urn:bbc:podcast:p0fldqhbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fldqhbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fldqhb
How much is the Coronation crown worth?<![CDATA[

Consisting of 2 kilograms of gold and 444 gemstones, the iconic St Edward’s Crown will play a central role in the coronation of King Charles III, as it has for many of his predecessors. There has been much speculation as to what the value of the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels really is.

Charlotte McDonald talks to Dr Anna Keay, historian and author of The Crown Jewels - the Official History, and Alan Hart, CEO of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Together they break down what we know about the crown’s cost to make in the 17th century and what it might be worth today.

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King Charles will be anointed with St Edward’s Crown – but what’s its true value?<![CDATA[

Consisting of 2 kilograms of gold and 444 gemstones, the iconic St Edward’s Crown will play a central role in the coronation of King Charles III, as it has for many of his predecessors. There has been much speculation as to what the value of the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels really is.

Charlotte McDonald talks to Dr Anna Keay, historian and author of The Crown Jewels - the Official History, and Alan Hart, CEO of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. Together they break down what we know about the crown’s cost to make in the 17th century and what it might be worth today.

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Sat, 29 Apr 2023 05:00:00 +0000624urn:bbc:podcast:p0fkdz6bhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fkdz6bcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fkdz6b
The Pentagon Leaks and Fox News<![CDATA[

The leaking of US intelligence documents and the arrest of a 21 year old airman who authorities believe to be responsible has caused a media and diplomatic storm. We look at how the leaks were reported by primetime Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said seven Ukrainian troops are dying for every one Russian, contrary to most estimates. And we examine an advert Fox News took out claiming to be the American TV network most trusted for news. With guests Aric Toler from investigative journalism site Bellingcat, data journalist and author G. Elliott Morris and BBC correspondent Olga Ivshina.

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Why did Tucker Carlson say far more Ukrainian troops than Russian are dying in the war?<![CDATA[

The leaking of US intelligence documents and the arrest of a 21 year old airman who authorities believe to be responsible has caused a media and diplomatic storm. We look at how the leaks were reported by primetime Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said seven Ukrainian troops are dying for every one Russian, contrary to most estimates. And we examine an advert Fox News took out claiming to be the American TV network most trusted for news. With guests Aric Toler from investigative journalism site Bellingcat, data journalist and author G. Elliott Morris and BBC correspondent Olga Ivshina.

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Sat, 22 Apr 2023 05:00:00 +0000582urn:bbc:podcast:p0fj3s84http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fj3s84cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fj3s84
How accurate is baby's due date?<![CDATA[

Paul Connolly is expecting his second child, and the due date is just under two weeks away. In hopes of easing his anxiety every time the phone rings , he is joined by Professor Asma Khalil, Professor Chris Pettker and Doctor Melissa Wong to discover exactly how accurate his baby's due date is...

Presenter: Paul Connolly Researcher: Octavia Woodward Editor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Graham PuddifootProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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This week we investigate how a baby's due date is calculated<![CDATA[

Paul Connolly is expecting his second child, and the due date is just under two weeks away. In hopes of easing his anxiety every time the phone rings , he is joined by Professor Asma Khalil, Professor Chris Pettker and Doctor Melissa Wong to discover exactly how accurate his baby's due date is...

Presenter: Paul Connolly Researcher: Octavia Woodward Editor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: Graham PuddifootProduction Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown

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Sat, 15 Apr 2023 05:00:00 +0000619urn:bbc:podcast:p0fgs1pyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fgs1pycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fgs1py
How to better understand and explain numbers<![CDATA[

The covid-19 pandemic has brought the use of statistics into everyday life in a way never seen before. Tim Harford talks to Professor Oliver Johnson, author of Numbercrunch: A Mathematician’s Toolkit for Making Sense of Your World, about his visual presentation of covid-19 related figures on Twitter and how we can all improve our understanding and use of numbers.

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Professor Oliver Johnson discusses the use of statistics in the pandemic and in life.<![CDATA[

The covid-19 pandemic has brought the use of statistics into everyday life in a way never seen before. Tim Harford talks to Professor Oliver Johnson, author of Numbercrunch: A Mathematician’s Toolkit for Making Sense of Your World, about his visual presentation of covid-19 related figures on Twitter and how we can all improve our understanding and use of numbers.

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Sat, 08 Apr 2023 05:00:00 +0000625urn:bbc:podcast:p0ff14xchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ff14xccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0ff14xc
A groundbreaking new proof for Pythagoras’ Theorem?<![CDATA[

Pythagoras’ Theorem, explaining the relationship between the three sides of a right angled triangle, is one of the most famous in maths. It’s been studied and put to use for thousands of years. Now two US high school students say they’ve found a new trigonometric proof for the theorem, something many in the mathematical community believe to be impossible. We discuss Pythagoras’ Theorem, the importance of proofs in maths and the chances of this being a real breakthrough with mathematician, author and YouTuber Matt Parker.

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Two high school students say they’ve discovered a new trigonometric proof for the theorem<![CDATA[

Pythagoras’ Theorem, explaining the relationship between the three sides of a right angled triangle, is one of the most famous in maths. It’s been studied and put to use for thousands of years. Now two US high school students say they’ve found a new trigonometric proof for the theorem, something many in the mathematical community believe to be impossible. We discuss Pythagoras’ Theorem, the importance of proofs in maths and the chances of this being a real breakthrough with mathematician, author and YouTuber Matt Parker.

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Sat, 01 Apr 2023 05:00:00 +0000625urn:bbc:podcast:p0fd5x9rhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fd5x9rcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fd5x9r
Covid vaccines and false claims about miscarriage<![CDATA[

Misinformation around covid-19 and vaccines is rife and as the data available increases, so do often misleading and even wild claims. This week More or Less examines multiple viral claims that the Covid 19 mRNA vaccines increase the risk of miscarriage. To explain where these incorrect figures come from and what the science actually tells us, we are joined by Dr Viki Male, senior lecturer in reproductive immunology at Imperial College London. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald,Producers: Octavia Woodward and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: John ScottProduction Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross

(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

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We debunk viral claims that incorrectly link covid-19 vaccines with a risk of miscarriage<![CDATA[

Misinformation around covid-19 and vaccines is rife and as the data available increases, so do often misleading and even wild claims. This week More or Less examines multiple viral claims that the Covid 19 mRNA vaccines increase the risk of miscarriage. To explain where these incorrect figures come from and what the science actually tells us, we are joined by Dr Viki Male, senior lecturer in reproductive immunology at Imperial College London. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald,Producers: Octavia Woodward and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonSound Engineer: John ScottProduction Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross

(Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

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Sat, 25 Mar 2023 06:00:00 +0000592urn:bbc:podcast:p0fbsxy2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0fbsxy2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0fbsxy2
Silicon Valley Bank: a very modern bank run<![CDATA[

After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank sent jitters through the financial system, Duncan Weldon explains how it’s just the latest in the long history of bank runs.

He talks to financial analyst and former banking regulator Dan Davies - author of ‘Lying for Money’ - to understand how bank runs happen, and what the repercussions of this very modern bank run might be for the global financial system. Presenter: Duncan WeldonProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinators: Helena Warwick-CrossSound Engineer: Neva Missirian

(Photo credit: Reuters)

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How do bank runs happen?<![CDATA[

After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank sent jitters through the financial system, Duncan Weldon explains how it’s just the latest in the long history of bank runs.

He talks to financial analyst and former banking regulator Dan Davies - author of ‘Lying for Money’ - to understand how bank runs happen, and what the repercussions of this very modern bank run might be for the global financial system. Presenter: Duncan WeldonProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinators: Helena Warwick-CrossSound Engineer: Neva Missirian

(Photo credit: Reuters)

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Sat, 18 Mar 2023 06:00:00 +0000592urn:bbc:podcast:p0f9djv8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f9djv8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f9djv8
Do fungi kill three times as many people as malaria?<![CDATA[

The smash hit TV show and video game ‘The Last of Us’ has spawned lots of curiosity about how worried we should be about the relatively unknown world of fungi. A figure in a recent BBC online article stated that fungal infections kill around 1.7 million people a year, about three times as many as malaria. In this episode we look at the both the global fight against malaria and David Denning, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Global Health at the University of Manchester explains the risks posed by fungal infections globally.

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We investigate the claim that fungal infections are a much bigger killer than malaria.<![CDATA[

The smash hit TV show and video game ‘The Last of Us’ has spawned lots of curiosity about how worried we should be about the relatively unknown world of fungi. A figure in a recent BBC online article stated that fungal infections kill around 1.7 million people a year, about three times as many as malaria. In this episode we look at the both the global fight against malaria and David Denning, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Global Health at the University of Manchester explains the risks posed by fungal infections globally.

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Sat, 11 Mar 2023 06:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0f820pqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f820pqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f820pq
Does your jewellery contain stolen Brink’s-Mat gold?<![CDATA[

The Brink’s-Mat robbery remains to this day one of Britain’s biggest and most audacious heists. Six armed men stole diamonds, cash and three tonnes of gold bullion from a warehouse close to London’s Heathrow Airport in November 1983. It’s now the subject of a BBC television drama, The Gold, which includes the claim that most gold jewellery bought in the UK from 1984 onwards will contain traces of that stolen gold. But how true is that? Tim Harford and team investigate, with the help of Zoe Lyons from Hatton Garden Metals and Rob Eastaway, author of Maths on the Back of an Envelope.

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We ask what happened to the 3 tonnes of pure gold after the infamous robbery of 1983<![CDATA[

The Brink’s-Mat robbery remains to this day one of Britain’s biggest and most audacious heists. Six armed men stole diamonds, cash and three tonnes of gold bullion from a warehouse close to London’s Heathrow Airport in November 1983. It’s now the subject of a BBC television drama, The Gold, which includes the claim that most gold jewellery bought in the UK from 1984 onwards will contain traces of that stolen gold. But how true is that? Tim Harford and team investigate, with the help of Zoe Lyons from Hatton Garden Metals and Rob Eastaway, author of Maths on the Back of an Envelope.

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Sat, 04 Mar 2023 06:00:00 +0000611urn:bbc:podcast:p0f6m9f8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f6m9f8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f6m9f8
UK vs European energy prices, falling excess deaths and is 5 grams of cocaine a lot?<![CDATA[

Does the UK really have by far the highest domestic energy bills in Europe? We debunk a viral social media claim suggesting just that. Also the number of excess deaths has been falling in the UK - how positive should we be that we’re through the worst? Plus do we really have access to only 3% of rivers and 8% of the countryside in England – and after the conviction of former MP Jared O’Mara we ask whether 5 grams of cocaine is a lot.

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We debunk a claim that the UK has by far the highest energy prices in Europe<![CDATA[

Does the UK really have by far the highest domestic energy bills in Europe? We debunk a viral social media claim suggesting just that. Also the number of excess deaths has been falling in the UK - how positive should we be that we’re through the worst? Plus do we really have access to only 3% of rivers and 8% of the countryside in England – and after the conviction of former MP Jared O’Mara we ask whether 5 grams of cocaine is a lot.

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Wed, 01 Mar 2023 09:30:00 +00001714urn:bbc:podcast:p0f5y8m4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f5y8m4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f5y8m4
Do 29,000 coffee pods really go to landfill every minute?<![CDATA[

How environmentally destructive is our thirst for coffee? Tim and the team investigate a claim that 29,000 coffee pods end up in landfill globally every minute with the help of Dr Ying Jiang, a senior lecturer in bioenergy from Cranfield University in the UK.

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We explore the environmental consequences of our thirst for coffee<![CDATA[

How environmentally destructive is our thirst for coffee? Tim and the team investigate a claim that 29,000 coffee pods end up in landfill globally every minute with the help of Dr Ying Jiang, a senior lecturer in bioenergy from Cranfield University in the UK.

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Sat, 25 Feb 2023 06:00:00 +0000647urn:bbc:podcast:p0f57zn1http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f57zn1cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f57zn1
Reoffending rates, Welsh taxes and the menopause<![CDATA[

The Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says crime reoffending rates in England and Wales have fallen significantly since the Conservatives came to power. We ask whether he’s right and look more broadly at crime and conviction rates with former BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw. Also we look at how much taxes in Wales might have to rise to pay for increases in NHS funding. We ask whether 13 million women in the UK are really menopausal. And we return to the debate that has sparked consternation among loyal listeners everywhere – should the word data be treated as plural or singular.

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Tim Harford and team fact check a government claim about falling reoffending rates<![CDATA[

The Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says crime reoffending rates in England and Wales have fallen significantly since the Conservatives came to power. We ask whether he’s right and look more broadly at crime and conviction rates with former BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw. Also we look at how much taxes in Wales might have to rise to pay for increases in NHS funding. We ask whether 13 million women in the UK are really menopausal. And we return to the debate that has sparked consternation among loyal listeners everywhere – should the word data be treated as plural or singular.

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Wed, 22 Feb 2023 06:30:00 +00001742urn:bbc:podcast:p0f4kd4qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f4kd4qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f4kd4q
Florence Nightingale and how she visualised data<![CDATA[

Florence Nightingale became one of the icons of Victorian Britain for her work as a nurse during the Crimean War and the public health improvements she successfully campaigned for later on. Tim Harford discusses how she and her ‘Nightingale Circle’ used spectacular diagrams to explain health statistics persuasively with RJ Andrews, editor of “Florence Nightingale, Mortality and Health Diagrams”.

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Tim Harford discusses the power of the nurse statistician’s groundbreaking diagrams<![CDATA[

Florence Nightingale became one of the icons of Victorian Britain for her work as a nurse during the Crimean War and the public health improvements she successfully campaigned for later on. Tim Harford discusses how she and her ‘Nightingale Circle’ used spectacular diagrams to explain health statistics persuasively with RJ Andrews, editor of “Florence Nightingale, Mortality and Health Diagrams”.

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Sat, 18 Feb 2023 06:00:00 +0000639urn:bbc:podcast:p0f3th3whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f3th3wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f3th3w
Nurses' pay, ambulance times and forgotten female economists<![CDATA[

How much do nurses in the UK earn compared with those elsewhere in Europe? Tim Harford and the team investigate. Also we have an update on ambulance response times, which were the worst on record in December but are showing signs of improvement. Should we use the word data in the singular or plural? The Financial Times has just changed its policy and Tim’s not happy. We look back at women who have made a key contribution to economics but have often been forgotten. And we hear how a spreadsheet error by the Office for National Statistics made the UK’s productivity appear to be one of the fastest improving in Europe.

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We look at how much nurses in the UK are paid compared with those in Europe.<![CDATA[

How much do nurses in the UK earn compared with those elsewhere in Europe? Tim Harford and the team investigate. Also we have an update on ambulance response times, which were the worst on record in December but are showing signs of improvement. Should we use the word data in the singular or plural? The Financial Times has just changed its policy and Tim’s not happy. We look back at women who have made a key contribution to economics but have often been forgotten. And we hear how a spreadsheet error by the Office for National Statistics made the UK’s productivity appear to be one of the fastest improving in Europe.

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Wed, 15 Feb 2023 09:30:00 +00001720urn:bbc:podcast:p0f33v0fhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f33v0fcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f33v0f
Spreadsheet disasters<![CDATA[

The UK’s Office for National Statistics recently published some dramatically incorrect data - all because of a spreadsheet slip-up. But that’s just the most recent in a long list of times when spreadsheets have gone wrong, often with costly consequences

Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker takes us through a short history of spreadsheet mistakes.

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The long and costly history of spreadsheet mistakes<![CDATA[

The UK’s Office for National Statistics recently published some dramatically incorrect data - all because of a spreadsheet slip-up. But that’s just the most recent in a long list of times when spreadsheets have gone wrong, often with costly consequences

Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker takes us through a short history of spreadsheet mistakes.

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Sat, 11 Feb 2023 06:00:00 +0000613urn:bbc:podcast:p0f2cytqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f2cytqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f2cytq
The IMF and the UK economy, NHS staff shortages and British vs English<![CDATA[

The International Monetary Fund says the UK will be the only major economy to shrink in size this year. We ask how much faith we should put in the IMF’s forecasts and look at some of the big economic challenges facing the UK. Also why the headline number of job vacancies in the NHS in England doesn’t tell the whole story of staff shortages. And why has there been such a dramatic change in whether people describe themselves as British or English?

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How much should we trust the IMF’s forecasts for the UK?<![CDATA[

The International Monetary Fund says the UK will be the only major economy to shrink in size this year. We ask how much faith we should put in the IMF’s forecasts and look at some of the big economic challenges facing the UK. Also why the headline number of job vacancies in the NHS in England doesn’t tell the whole story of staff shortages. And why has there been such a dramatic change in whether people describe themselves as British or English?

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Wed, 08 Feb 2023 09:30:00 +00001718urn:bbc:podcast:p0f1p7nlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f1p7nlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f1p7nl
Hannah Fry on using shopping data to detect ovarian cancer<![CDATA[

A new study led by Imperial College in London suggests that data from loyalty card spending in supermarkets and pharmacies could be used as a way of detecting ovarian cancer much earlier. Tim Harford discusses the findings with Professor Hannah Fry, who was most recently on the show talking about her own experience with cancer.

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The mathematician discusses a study that suggests loyalty card data could signal cancer.<![CDATA[

A new study led by Imperial College in London suggests that data from loyalty card spending in supermarkets and pharmacies could be used as a way of detecting ovarian cancer much earlier. Tim Harford discusses the findings with Professor Hannah Fry, who was most recently on the show talking about her own experience with cancer.

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Sat, 04 Feb 2023 06:00:00 +0000584urn:bbc:podcast:p0f0wx3yhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f0wx3ycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f0wx3y
Brexit and trade, pensioner millionaires and Hannah Fry on loyalty cards and cancer<![CDATA[

Has trade with the EU increased since Britain left the European Union? Tim Harford and the team look at a claim suggesting just that. There’s a row over the renaming of a street in North London previously called Black Boy Lane – but how much has it really all cost? Also are there more pensioners in “millionaire households” than pensioners in poverty. And mathematician Hannah Fry talks about a new study suggesting cases of ovarian cancer can be detected by looking at spending on loyalty cards.

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We examine a claim that the UK’s trade with the EU has increased since Brexit<![CDATA[

Has trade with the EU increased since Britain left the European Union? Tim Harford and the team look at a claim suggesting just that. There’s a row over the renaming of a street in North London previously called Black Boy Lane – but how much has it really all cost? Also are there more pensioners in “millionaire households” than pensioners in poverty. And mathematician Hannah Fry talks about a new study suggesting cases of ovarian cancer can be detected by looking at spending on loyalty cards.

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Wed, 01 Feb 2023 09:30:00 +00001714urn:bbc:podcast:p0f04x32http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0f04x32cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0f04x32
Are wild mammals only 4% of the mammal population?<![CDATA[

A widely respected and cited study says humans and livestock account for 96% of all mammals on Earth. We ask how the study was carried out and what hope there might be for the future. Plus we answer another listener question about whether most mammals are in fact rodents. With the help of Dr Hannah Ritchie, Deputy Editor at Our World in Data and Dr Axel Rossberg, Reader in Theoretical Ecology at Queen Mary University of London.

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Are wild mammals only 4% of the mammal population?<![CDATA[

A widely respected and cited study says humans and livestock account for 96% of all mammals on Earth. We ask how the study was carried out and what hope there might be for the future. Plus we answer another listener question about whether most mammals are in fact rodents. With the help of Dr Hannah Ritchie, Deputy Editor at Our World in Data and Dr Axel Rossberg, Reader in Theoretical Ecology at Queen Mary University of London.

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Sat, 28 Jan 2023 06:00:00 +0000624urn:bbc:podcast:p0dzcc7mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dzcc7mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dzcc7m
Coffee with the Chancellor, inflation measures, GP numbers and toilet paper<![CDATA[

Jeremy Hunt has pledged in a new social media video to halve the UK’s high rate of inflation. Tim Harford and the team fact check the Chancellor’s claims. Also – CPI, CPIH, RPI – which measure of inflation is best for assessing the impact of the rising cost of living? Plus has the number of GPs in England gone up or down since the start of the pandemic. And does toilet paper cause 15% of global deforestation?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Josephine Casserly, Nathan Gower, Louise Hidalgo, Charlotte McDonaldSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Editor: Richard Vadon

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We fact check Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to halve inflation<![CDATA[

Jeremy Hunt has pledged in a new social media video to halve the UK’s high rate of inflation. Tim Harford and the team fact check the Chancellor’s claims. Also – CPI, CPIH, RPI – which measure of inflation is best for assessing the impact of the rising cost of living? Plus has the number of GPs in England gone up or down since the start of the pandemic. And does toilet paper cause 15% of global deforestation?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Josephine Casserly, Nathan Gower, Louise Hidalgo, Charlotte McDonaldSound Engineer: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Editor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 25 Jan 2023 09:30:00 +00001698urn:bbc:podcast:p0dyk8jghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dyk8jgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dyk8jg
Does toilet paper cause 15% of global deforestation?<![CDATA[

A British company has claimed that the production and use of toilet paper is responsible for 15% of deforestation globally. We investigate the claim and ask what the true environmental cost of toilet paper is. Charlotte McDonald talks to climate change scientist Professor Mary Gagen, chief adviser on forests to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the WWF.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldProducer: Louise Hidalgo and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Helena Warwick-CrossStudio Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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We investigate the impact of our use of toilet paper on the world’s forests.<![CDATA[

A British company has claimed that the production and use of toilet paper is responsible for 15% of deforestation globally. We investigate the claim and ask what the true environmental cost of toilet paper is. Charlotte McDonald talks to climate change scientist Professor Mary Gagen, chief adviser on forests to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the WWF.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonaldProducer: Louise Hidalgo and Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Helena Warwick-CrossStudio Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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Sat, 21 Jan 2023 05:50:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0dxs41mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dxs41mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dxs41m
Ambulance response times, teacher pay and Irish pubs<![CDATA[

How long are people really waiting when they call 999 for an ambulance? Tim Harford and the team examine in detail the sheer scale of delays in responding to emergency calls. We also ask why the NHS is facing a crisis when it’s got more funding and more staff than before the pandemic, with the help of Ben Zaranko from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Plus we fact check a claim from one of Britain’s leading teaching unions about pay. And are there more pubs in Ireland or Irish pubs in the rest of the world?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Josephine Casserly, Nathan Gower, Paul Connolly Sonic Landscape: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Editor: Richard Vadon

Image: Andy Rain/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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How long are people really waiting when they call 999 for an ambulance?<![CDATA[

How long are people really waiting when they call 999 for an ambulance? Tim Harford and the team examine in detail the sheer scale of delays in responding to emergency calls. We also ask why the NHS is facing a crisis when it’s got more funding and more staff than before the pandemic, with the help of Ben Zaranko from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Plus we fact check a claim from one of Britain’s leading teaching unions about pay. And are there more pubs in Ireland or Irish pubs in the rest of the world?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Josephine Casserly, Nathan Gower, Paul Connolly Sonic Landscape: James BeardProduction Co-ordinator: Helena Warwick-Cross Editor: Richard Vadon

Image: Andy Rain/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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Wed, 18 Jan 2023 09:30:00 +00001756urn:bbc:podcast:p0dwzvt0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dwzvt0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dwzvt0
How we shook the world of very large numbers<![CDATA[

How did an edition of More or Less from 2017 end up influencing the choice of official names for extremely large numbers? We tell the tale of how an interview between presenter Tim Harford and maths whizz Rob Eastaway did just that. Also featuring Professor Richard Brown, head of metrology at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Janet StaplesSound Engineer: James Beard

Image: Large number, Credit: Getty Images

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How an edition of More or Less influenced the naming of enormous numbers<![CDATA[

How did an edition of More or Less from 2017 end up influencing the choice of official names for extremely large numbers? We tell the tale of how an interview between presenter Tim Harford and maths whizz Rob Eastaway did just that. Also featuring Professor Richard Brown, head of metrology at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Janet StaplesSound Engineer: James Beard

Image: Large number, Credit: Getty Images

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Sat, 14 Jan 2023 07:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0dwlxl9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dwlxl9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dwlxl9
A&E delays and deaths, religious identity in N Ireland and naming the monster numbers<![CDATA[

Tim Harford and the team return for a new series of the number crunching show. With the huge pressures facing the NHS we ask how many people may be dying because of treatment delays in A&E. We hear what the latest census tells us about changing religious identity in Northern Ireland. We look at misleading claims about covid vaccines after the collapse of American football player Damar Hamlin. And we hear how More or Less has wielded its influence over how we all describe very large numbers.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Louise Hidalgo, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: James Beard

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How many people may be dying because of treatment delays in the NHS?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford and the team return for a new series of the number crunching show. With the huge pressures facing the NHS we ask how many people may be dying because of treatment delays in A&E. We hear what the latest census tells us about changing religious identity in Northern Ireland. We look at misleading claims about covid vaccines after the collapse of American football player Damar Hamlin. And we hear how More or Less has wielded its influence over how we all describe very large numbers.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Louise Hidalgo, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: James Beard

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Wed, 11 Jan 2023 12:18:00 +00001739urn:bbc:podcast:p0dvkm95http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dvkm95cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dvkm95
Can China's data on covid deaths be trusted?<![CDATA[

When the pandemic took hold, the Chinese government imposed a zero-Covid policy that aimed to contain the virus through mass-testing and strict lockdowns.

But early in December, amidst widespread public protests and the spread of the omicron variant to more than 200 cities, those draconian, highly restrictive measures were lifted almost entirely.

For the first time in just under two years, the majority of the country’s near one-and-a-half billion citizens were free to meet, mix and mingle where they pleased, triggering what experts believe is a gargantuan wave of covid infections and related deaths. Some analysts say death rates could be as high as15,000 per day. But the Chinese authorities are reporting five or fewer deaths a day. The numbers don't stack up so More or Less's Paul Connolly speaks to some of the world's leading experts and epidemiologists to work out if China's data on covid deaths can be trusted - and, if not, what the real death toll could be.

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Is China under-reporting data on Covid related deaths?<![CDATA[

When the pandemic took hold, the Chinese government imposed a zero-Covid policy that aimed to contain the virus through mass-testing and strict lockdowns.

But early in December, amidst widespread public protests and the spread of the omicron variant to more than 200 cities, those draconian, highly restrictive measures were lifted almost entirely.

For the first time in just under two years, the majority of the country’s near one-and-a-half billion citizens were free to meet, mix and mingle where they pleased, triggering what experts believe is a gargantuan wave of covid infections and related deaths. Some analysts say death rates could be as high as15,000 per day. But the Chinese authorities are reporting five or fewer deaths a day. The numbers don't stack up so More or Less's Paul Connolly speaks to some of the world's leading experts and epidemiologists to work out if China's data on covid deaths can be trusted - and, if not, what the real death toll could be.

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Sat, 07 Jan 2023 06:00:00 +0000592urn:bbc:podcast:p0dtqchhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dtqchhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dtqchh
Irish pubs - a global numbers game<![CDATA[

It's possible that the question we focus on in this week's programme occurred to you as you were sipping on an Irish Coffee in Bubbles O'Leary's in Kampala, Uganda: Where can the most Irish pubs be found - in Ireland? Or in all other countries combined? The popularity and sheer ubiquity of Irish pubs is a thing to behold. In 2015, the Irish Pubs Global Federation said there was approximately 6500 Irish pubs doing business outside the Emerald Isle - and our own research tells us there's at least one Irish bar in more than 160 of the world's 195 countries. But what is the secret, the recipe for global success? And can the More or Less team track down a definite number, thus answering the question some of you will have pondered whilst settling into a firelit Irish bar on a scorching hot day in rural Hawaii.

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Are there more Irish pubs in Ireland than in all other countries combined?<![CDATA[

It's possible that the question we focus on in this week's programme occurred to you as you were sipping on an Irish Coffee in Bubbles O'Leary's in Kampala, Uganda: Where can the most Irish pubs be found - in Ireland? Or in all other countries combined? The popularity and sheer ubiquity of Irish pubs is a thing to behold. In 2015, the Irish Pubs Global Federation said there was approximately 6500 Irish pubs doing business outside the Emerald Isle - and our own research tells us there's at least one Irish bar in more than 160 of the world's 195 countries. But what is the secret, the recipe for global success? And can the More or Less team track down a definite number, thus answering the question some of you will have pondered whilst settling into a firelit Irish bar on a scorching hot day in rural Hawaii.

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Sat, 31 Dec 2022 06:00:00 +0000634urn:bbc:podcast:p0dr7s8shttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dr7s8scleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dr7s8s
Numbers of the Year 2022<![CDATA[

Tim Harford discusses the numbers that help explain some of the biggest stories of the year, including the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation and a breakthrough for women’s football, with the help of Olga Ivshina, correspondent for the BBC Russian service; Chris Giles, economics editor of the Financial Times; Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh and Georgina Sturge, author and House of Commons statistician.

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Tim Harford and guests on the numbers that help tell the big stories of the year.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford discusses the numbers that help explain some of the biggest stories of the year, including the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation and a breakthrough for women’s football, with the help of Olga Ivshina, correspondent for the BBC Russian service; Chris Giles, economics editor of the Financial Times; Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh and Georgina Sturge, author and House of Commons statistician.

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Sat, 24 Dec 2022 06:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0dqtm42http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dqtm42cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dqtm42
Qatar World Cup: the pressure of penalties<![CDATA[

The World Cup in Qatar is drawing to a close. Penalties and penalty shootouts have provided some of the biggest moments of the tournament. We analyse penalty data from the World Cup and ask what boosts the chance of scoring from the spot, with the help of Ben Lyttleton, author of Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty.

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We analyse World Cup penalty data to ask what boosts the chance of scoring from the spot<![CDATA[

The World Cup in Qatar is drawing to a close. Penalties and penalty shootouts have provided some of the biggest moments of the tournament. We analyse penalty data from the World Cup and ask what boosts the chance of scoring from the spot, with the help of Ben Lyttleton, author of Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty.

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Sat, 17 Dec 2022 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0dpv8lphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dpv8lpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dpv8lp
Why are data so important in determining how we live?<![CDATA[

Why are good data so important to policymakers – whether they know it or not – and what happens when good data is missing? Presenter Tim Harford speaks to Georgina Sturge, a statistician at the House of Commons library in London and the author of Bad Data: How Governments, Politicians and the Rest of Us Get Misled by Numbers.

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How good policies depend on the availability of reliable statistics<![CDATA[

Why are good data so important to policymakers – whether they know it or not – and what happens when good data is missing? Presenter Tim Harford speaks to Georgina Sturge, a statistician at the House of Commons library in London and the author of Bad Data: How Governments, Politicians and the Rest of Us Get Misled by Numbers.

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Sat, 10 Dec 2022 06:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0dn4wylhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dn4wylcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dn4wyl
The World Cup: how many migrant workers have died?<![CDATA[

Qatar has been fiercely criticised over its treatment of migrant workers, many of whom have been employed to build stadiums and other infrastructure in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. We look at the wildly varying estimates of the number of migrant deaths with the help of Max Tunon, head of the Qatar office of the International Labour Organisation and Steve co*ckburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International.

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Examining the wildly varying estimates of deaths in the run-up to the tournament in Qatar<![CDATA[

Qatar has been fiercely criticised over its treatment of migrant workers, many of whom have been employed to build stadiums and other infrastructure in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. We look at the wildly varying estimates of the number of migrant deaths with the help of Max Tunon, head of the Qatar office of the International Labour Organisation and Steve co*ckburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International.

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Sat, 03 Dec 2022 16:00:00 +0000606urn:bbc:podcast:p0dlg3hqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dlg3hqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dlg3hq
When do food shortages become a famine?<![CDATA[

Somalia is experiencing its worst drought for 40 years and there are warnings that millions of people need food assistance urgently. The UN body tasked with classifying levels of food security has projected a famine, although no official declaration has yet been made. We ask what data is used to formally categorise famine and explore some of the difficulties in collecting it, with the help of UN IPC Global Programme Manager Jose Lopez and Professor Laura Hammond, Pro Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange at SOAS.

Presenter & producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Simon Watts Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: People affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, look on, at the Alla Futo camp for internally displaced people, in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. REUTERS/Feisal Omar)

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With Somalia in crisis, we ask how data is used to officially declare a famine<![CDATA[

Somalia is experiencing its worst drought for 40 years and there are warnings that millions of people need food assistance urgently. The UN body tasked with classifying levels of food security has projected a famine, although no official declaration has yet been made. We ask what data is used to formally categorise famine and explore some of the difficulties in collecting it, with the help of UN IPC Global Programme Manager Jose Lopez and Professor Laura Hammond, Pro Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange at SOAS.

Presenter & producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Simon Watts Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: People affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, look on, at the Alla Futo camp for internally displaced people, in the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. REUTERS/Feisal Omar)

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Sat, 26 Nov 2022 06:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0djvl7whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0djvl7wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0djvl7w
A $220 billion World Cup?<![CDATA[

As the FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway, and the newly built stadia, lavish hotels and transport networks come to life, More or Less investigates just how much the Gulf nation has spent in the lead-up to the tournament. Reports claim the figure could be as much as $220 billion - that’s more than Qatar's annual GDP, and more than ten times higher than the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. At an estimated $15 billion, this was previously the most expensive tournament to date. With no access to Qatar’s accounts, and with very few official figures in circulation, More or Less has recruited some of the world’s leading experts in sports finance to crunch the numbers and to ask…is this really a $220 billion World Cup?

Presenter: Paul Connolly Producers: Paul Connolly and Jon Bithrey Editor: Simon Watts Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

(Image: Al Wakrah Stadium, the second FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (TM) venue: The 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy via Getty Images)

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Has hosting the FIFA football World Cup really cost Qatar $220bn?<![CDATA[

As the FIFA World Cup in Qatar gets underway, and the newly built stadia, lavish hotels and transport networks come to life, More or Less investigates just how much the Gulf nation has spent in the lead-up to the tournament. Reports claim the figure could be as much as $220 billion - that’s more than Qatar's annual GDP, and more than ten times higher than the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. At an estimated $15 billion, this was previously the most expensive tournament to date. With no access to Qatar’s accounts, and with very few official figures in circulation, More or Less has recruited some of the world’s leading experts in sports finance to crunch the numbers and to ask…is this really a $220 billion World Cup?

Presenter: Paul Connolly Producers: Paul Connolly and Jon Bithrey Editor: Simon Watts Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

(Image: Al Wakrah Stadium, the second FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (TM) venue: The 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy via Getty Images)

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Sat, 19 Nov 2022 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0dh54qbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dh54qbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dh54qb
Bonus Episode: Understand the Economy<![CDATA[

Tim Harford brings you the first episode of his new podcast, Understand the Economy. If you’ve been missing his dulcet tones, here’s a chance for you to have a preview of Tim Harford’s latest podcast, in which he offers really simple explanations to help make sense of the economy today. If you enjoy it, you can find the rest of the series on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

In this episode, inflation. What is inflation, why does it matter, and is someone to blame if it goes up? Understanding inflation will help you understand why your shopping is getting more and more expensive and why prices rarely seem to go down. Tim Harford explains why the inflation figure you see on the TV might not reflect the price rises you’re experiencing and economic historian Victoria Bateman tells us why having a boat load of silver coins isn’t always a good thing.

Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war hungry Kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with Silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered.

Producer: Phoebe Keane

Researcher: Drew Hyndman

Editor: Clare Fordham

Find all the episodes here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001dwr7

A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4

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Tim Harford brings you the first episode of his new podcast and explains inflation<![CDATA[

Tim Harford brings you the first episode of his new podcast, Understand the Economy. If you’ve been missing his dulcet tones, here’s a chance for you to have a preview of Tim Harford’s latest podcast, in which he offers really simple explanations to help make sense of the economy today. If you enjoy it, you can find the rest of the series on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

In this episode, inflation. What is inflation, why does it matter, and is someone to blame if it goes up? Understanding inflation will help you understand why your shopping is getting more and more expensive and why prices rarely seem to go down. Tim Harford explains why the inflation figure you see on the TV might not reflect the price rises you’re experiencing and economic historian Victoria Bateman tells us why having a boat load of silver coins isn’t always a good thing.

Everything you need to know about the economy and what it means for you. This podcast will cut through the jargon to bring you clarity and ensure you finally understand all those complicated terms and phrases you hear on the news. Inflation, GDP, Interest rates, and bonds, Tim Harford and friends explain them all. We’ll ensure you understand what’s going on today, why your shopping is getting more expensive or why your pay doesn’t cover your bills. We’ll also bring you surprising histories, from the war hungry Kings who have shaped how things are counted today to the greedy merchants flooding Spain with Silver coins. So if your eyes usually glaze over when someone says ‘cutting taxes stimulates growth’, fear no more, we’ve got you covered.

Producer: Phoebe Keane

Researcher: Drew Hyndman

Editor: Clare Fordham

Find all the episodes here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001dwr7

A BBC Long Form Audio Production for BBC Radio 4

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Mon, 14 Nov 2022 16:16:00 +0000872urn:bbc:podcast:p0dg5458http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dg5458cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dg5458
Improving the numbers in the news<![CDATA[

How can journalists improve their use of statistics in their reporting of the world around us? It’s a question US academics John Bailer and Rosemary Pennington tackle in their new book Statistics Behind the Headlines. They join Tim Harford to talk about how journalism can be improved by asking the right questions about numbers and using them in the wider context of a story. Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Simon WattsProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Image: Electronic and paper media: scanrail/Getty)

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Tim Harford discusses the role statistics should play in the reporting of the news<![CDATA[

How can journalists improve their use of statistics in their reporting of the world around us? It’s a question US academics John Bailer and Rosemary Pennington tackle in their new book Statistics Behind the Headlines. They join Tim Harford to talk about how journalism can be improved by asking the right questions about numbers and using them in the wider context of a story. Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Simon WattsProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Image: Electronic and paper media: scanrail/Getty)

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Sat, 12 Nov 2022 06:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0df8p97http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0df8p97cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0df8p97
Lula’s “zero deforestation” plan for the Amazon<![CDATA[

Lula Da Silva has pledged “zero deforestation” in the Amazon as he prepares to become Brazil’s next president, in contrast to the policies of outgoing leader Jair Bolsonaro under whom the destruction of the rainforest has soared. On this edition of More or Less we ask how much of the Amazon has been lost and whether Lula’s aim of zero deforestation can be achieved.

Presenter and producer: Jon BithreyEditor: Simon Watts:Sound engineer: David CracklesProduction Co-ordinator: Jacqui Johnson

(Image: Aerial view of the deforestation of the Amazon: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo)

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How much of the rainforest has been lost? And can Brazil’s new president save it?<![CDATA[

Lula Da Silva has pledged “zero deforestation” in the Amazon as he prepares to become Brazil’s next president, in contrast to the policies of outgoing leader Jair Bolsonaro under whom the destruction of the rainforest has soared. On this edition of More or Less we ask how much of the Amazon has been lost and whether Lula’s aim of zero deforestation can be achieved.

Presenter and producer: Jon BithreyEditor: Simon Watts:Sound engineer: David CracklesProduction Co-ordinator: Jacqui Johnson

(Image: Aerial view of the deforestation of the Amazon: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino/File Photo)

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Sat, 05 Nov 2022 06:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0dcx1d2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0dcx1d2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0dcx1d2
Can China’s GDP data be trusted?<![CDATA[

This week, China released its third quarter GDP figure. At 3.9%, its rate of economic growth is better than many analysts expected, but still significantly short of the 5.5% target the Chinese government had set itself.

There was an unprecedented delay in releasing this particular GDP stat - and that delay coincided with the 20th Chinese Communist Party congress. President Xi Jinping was reappointed for a historic third term at the twice-a-decade gathering.

Some analysts found the delay suspicious. Did President Xi postpone the release of the GDP figures so it wouldn’t tarnish the congress? And can the figure of 3.9 per cent be trusted anyway?

Paul Connolly investigates with the help of John Burn Murdoch, Chief Data Reporter at The Financial Times; Associate Professor of Government at Cornell, Jeremy Lee Wallace and Dr Linda Yueh, Oxford University economist and author.

Presenter and Producer: Paul Connolly Editor: Simon Watts Programme Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Neva Missirian

(Image: Chinese President Xi Jinping: Mark R Cristino/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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Are China’s most recent figures for economic growth wrong?<![CDATA[

This week, China released its third quarter GDP figure. At 3.9%, its rate of economic growth is better than many analysts expected, but still significantly short of the 5.5% target the Chinese government had set itself.

There was an unprecedented delay in releasing this particular GDP stat - and that delay coincided with the 20th Chinese Communist Party congress. President Xi Jinping was reappointed for a historic third term at the twice-a-decade gathering.

Some analysts found the delay suspicious. Did President Xi postpone the release of the GDP figures so it wouldn’t tarnish the congress? And can the figure of 3.9 per cent be trusted anyway?

Paul Connolly investigates with the help of John Burn Murdoch, Chief Data Reporter at The Financial Times; Associate Professor of Government at Cornell, Jeremy Lee Wallace and Dr Linda Yueh, Oxford University economist and author.

Presenter and Producer: Paul Connolly Editor: Simon Watts Programme Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Neva Missirian

(Image: Chinese President Xi Jinping: Mark R Cristino/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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Sat, 29 Oct 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0db97f7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0db97f7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0db97f7
Do half of new books really sell fewer than twelve copies?<![CDATA[

A US government lawyer recently caused a stir in the publishing world when he said during a high profile legal trial that half of all new trade titles – books aimed at a general audience - sell a dozen copies or less. Tim Harford investigates with the help of Kristen McLean from the NPD Books group.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Octavia Woodward, Jon BithreyEditor: Emma RipponProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Image: Stack of books on display at the bookstore: bitterfly/Getty)

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We look into a claim that 50% of new books in the US sell just a handful of copies.<![CDATA[

A US government lawyer recently caused a stir in the publishing world when he said during a high profile legal trial that half of all new trade titles – books aimed at a general audience - sell a dozen copies or less. Tim Harford investigates with the help of Kristen McLean from the NPD Books group.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducers: Octavia Woodward, Jon BithreyEditor: Emma RipponProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Image: Stack of books on display at the bookstore: bitterfly/Getty)

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Sat, 22 Oct 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0d8nb1whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d8nb1wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d8nb1w
Ben Bernanke and the magic of banking<![CDATA[

The former head of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke is named as one of three winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on how banking collapses were a major factor in the Great Depression of the 1930s. He shares the prize with two fellow US academics, Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig. Tim Harford discusses the significance of their work focusing on the role of banks and why their smooth functioning is so important to society.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Emma Rippon Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke speaks after he was named among three U.S. economists awarded the 2022 Nobel Economics Prize, during a news conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, U.S., October 10, 2022. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno)

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Tim Harford explains the work of this year’s Nobel Economics Prize winners<![CDATA[

The former head of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke is named as one of three winners of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on how banking collapses were a major factor in the Great Depression of the 1930s. He shares the prize with two fellow US academics, Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig. Tim Harford discusses the significance of their work focusing on the role of banks and why their smooth functioning is so important to society.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Emma Rippon Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: Former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke speaks after he was named among three U.S. economists awarded the 2022 Nobel Economics Prize, during a news conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, U.S., October 10, 2022. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno)

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Sat, 15 Oct 2022 05:00:00 +0000604urn:bbc:podcast:p0d70v56http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d70v56cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d70v56
Catching Chess Cheats with Data<![CDATA[

A cheating scandal is currently rocking the world of chess, as World Champion Magnus Carlsen accuses the young American Hans Niemann of cheating. A bombshell new report has said that Niemann is likely to have cheated in over 100 games online, and uses data to support its argument.

So how is statistics being used to catch cheats in chess - and just how prevalent might cheating be at the highest levels of the game? David Edmonds finds out. Presenter: David EdmondsProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Image: US international grandmaster Hans Niemann, St. Louis, Missouri, on October 6, 2022: Photo by Tim Vizer /AFP via Getty Images)

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A cheating scandal is rocking the world of chess - and data is at its heart<![CDATA[

A cheating scandal is currently rocking the world of chess, as World Champion Magnus Carlsen accuses the young American Hans Niemann of cheating. A bombshell new report has said that Niemann is likely to have cheated in over 100 games online, and uses data to support its argument.

So how is statistics being used to catch cheats in chess - and just how prevalent might cheating be at the highest levels of the game? David Edmonds finds out. Presenter: David EdmondsProducer: Nathan GowerEditor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

(Image: US international grandmaster Hans Niemann, St. Louis, Missouri, on October 6, 2022: Photo by Tim Vizer /AFP via Getty Images)

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Sat, 08 Oct 2022 05:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0d5ggp2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d5ggp2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d5ggp2
Teens and antidepressants, stamp duty savings and earthquake probabilities<![CDATA[

A survey from a mental health charity suggested that more than a third of British teenagers had been prescribed antidepressants. We debunk the figure. Also we investigate a tweet from the UK Treasury about how much homebuyers will save in stamp duty. Plus how Mexico has been hit by earthquakes three times on the same day of the year - what are the chances? And how incorrect figures from the government have given a false picture of the number of cars on Britain’s minor roads.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: James Beard

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We debunk a claim that a third of British teenagers have been prescribed antidepressants<![CDATA[

A survey from a mental health charity suggested that more than a third of British teenagers had been prescribed antidepressants. We debunk the figure. Also we investigate a tweet from the UK Treasury about how much homebuyers will save in stamp duty. Plus how Mexico has been hit by earthquakes three times on the same day of the year - what are the chances? And how incorrect figures from the government have given a false picture of the number of cars on Britain’s minor roads.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: James Beard

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Fri, 07 Oct 2022 14:27:00 +00001708urn:bbc:podcast:p0d5f6rphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d5f6rpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d5f6rp
NASA’s asteroid collision: how many asteroids are really out there?<![CDATA[

This week NASA slammed a spacecraft into an asteroid in the hope of diverting its course. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART mission will help scientists understand how easy it would be protect Earth if one was headed in our direction. More Or Less first discussed this in 2016 with a little help from the movie Armageddon – with listeners getting in touch once again we ask how many asteroids are really out there and how dangerous they might be to Earth. Presenters: Charlotte McDonald and Simon MaybinProducer: Charlotte McDonaldEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: 3D rendering of a swarm of Meteorites or asteroids entering the Earth atmosphere: ratpack223/ Getty)

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As NASA rams an asteroid to try and alter its course, how many are yet to be discovered?<![CDATA[

This week NASA slammed a spacecraft into an asteroid in the hope of diverting its course. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART mission will help scientists understand how easy it would be protect Earth if one was headed in our direction. More Or Less first discussed this in 2016 with a little help from the movie Armageddon – with listeners getting in touch once again we ask how many asteroids are really out there and how dangerous they might be to Earth. Presenters: Charlotte McDonald and Simon MaybinProducer: Charlotte McDonaldEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: James Beard

(Image: 3D rendering of a swarm of Meteorites or asteroids entering the Earth atmosphere: ratpack223/ Getty)

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Sat, 01 Oct 2022 05:00:00 +0000576urn:bbc:podcast:p0d3s1zlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d3s1zlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d3s1zl
Falling pound, the Queen’s funeral and is 0.5 on the Richter scale a big number?<![CDATA[

The value of the pound against other currencies has been incredibly volatile ever since the Chancellor’s ‘mini-budget’. We ask how much we should worry and look at how much taxes will really fall. Also did 4.1 billion people really watch the Queen’s funeral? Gas prices are falling – so why aren’t energy bills? There are early signs that new covid variants could cause another spike in cases over the winter. And with the government lifting a moratorium on fracking, we ask how seismic a number the current limit of 0.5 on the Richter scale actually is.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan GowerProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: James Beard

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How worried should we be about the steep falls in the pound?<![CDATA[

The value of the pound against other currencies has been incredibly volatile ever since the Chancellor’s ‘mini-budget’. We ask how much we should worry and look at how much taxes will really fall. Also did 4.1 billion people really watch the Queen’s funeral? Gas prices are falling – so why aren’t energy bills? There are early signs that new covid variants could cause another spike in cases over the winter. And with the government lifting a moratorium on fracking, we ask how seismic a number the current limit of 0.5 on the Richter scale actually is.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan GowerProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: James Beard

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Wed, 28 Sep 2022 08:30:00 +00001750urn:bbc:podcast:p0d30fzjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d30fzjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d30fzj
Ukraine’s progress in numbers<![CDATA[

Ukraine has reportedly recaptured nearly 10,000 square kilometres of territory that had been occupied by Russia. We ask where the numbers come from and what they mean. Plus with Norway supplanting Russia to become Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas, we ask how much money the country is making from the increased demand and higher prices.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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We ask how much progress Ukraine has really made in recapturing territory from Russia.<![CDATA[

Ukraine has reportedly recaptured nearly 10,000 square kilometres of territory that had been occupied by Russia. We ask where the numbers come from and what they mean. Plus with Norway supplanting Russia to become Europe’s biggest supplier of natural gas, we ask how much money the country is making from the increased demand and higher prices.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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Sat, 24 Sep 2022 05:00:00 +0000619urn:bbc:podcast:p0d27z6mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d27z6mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d27z6m
Ukraine offensive, weak pound & how much do women really exercise<![CDATA[

Ukraine has reportedly recaptured nearly 10,000 square kilometres of territory that had been occupied by Russia. We ask where the numbers come from, what they mean and why everyone is comparing them to the size of Greater London. We ask how much money Norway is making out of the current energy crisis. Also why is the pound so weak against the dollar, some odd claims about women and exercise and does it really take 20,000 uses for an organic cotton bag to become more environmentally friendly than a plastic bag?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan GowerProduction Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Editor: Richard Vadon

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We ask how much progress Ukraine has really made in recapturing territory from Russia<![CDATA[

Ukraine has reportedly recaptured nearly 10,000 square kilometres of territory that had been occupied by Russia. We ask where the numbers come from, what they mean and why everyone is comparing them to the size of Greater London. We ask how much money Norway is making out of the current energy crisis. Also why is the pound so weak against the dollar, some odd claims about women and exercise and does it really take 20,000 uses for an organic cotton bag to become more environmentally friendly than a plastic bag?

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan GowerProduction Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Editor: Richard Vadon

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Thu, 22 Sep 2022 17:14:00 +00001723urn:bbc:podcast:p0d21rl8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d21rl8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d21rl8
How bad is fashion for the environment?<![CDATA[

Is fashion really the second most polluting industry after oil and does it account for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions? Sustainable fashion journalist Alden Wicker does some fashion fact checking with Adam Fleming, presenter of BBC podcast and Radio 4 programme Antisocial. And reporter Charlotte McDonald revisits a claim made in an edition of More or Less last month about the effectiveness of using condoms as a form of contraception.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

(Image: Models display outfits / BBC images/Susana Vera/Reuters)

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Does fashion really account for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions?<![CDATA[

Is fashion really the second most polluting industry after oil and does it account for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions? Sustainable fashion journalist Alden Wicker does some fashion fact checking with Adam Fleming, presenter of BBC podcast and Radio 4 programme Antisocial. And reporter Charlotte McDonald revisits a claim made in an edition of More or Less last month about the effectiveness of using condoms as a form of contraception.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

(Image: Models display outfits / BBC images/Susana Vera/Reuters)

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Sat, 17 Sep 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0d0vmvkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d0vmvkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d0vmvk
Energy crisis plan, imperial measures survey, gardens v national parks<![CDATA[

One of Liz Truss's first acts as Prime Minister was to announce a giant plan to protect domestic energy users from huge rises in wholesale gas and electricity costs, meaning a typical household will pay about £1000 less than otherwise would have been the case. We ask how much the Energy Price Guarantee will cost the government and also explain what a “typical” household really is. A consultation has opened into whether we’d like more of our goods and services priced in imperial measures – but some listeners are suggesting a survey on the issue is biased against metric. And we examine a claim made on the BBC’s Springwatch programme that all of the gardens in Newcastle are bigger than the combined size of our national parks.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonEditor: Richard Vadon

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How much will the UK government’s plan to limit energy price rises end up costing?<![CDATA[

One of Liz Truss's first acts as Prime Minister was to announce a giant plan to protect domestic energy users from huge rises in wholesale gas and electricity costs, meaning a typical household will pay about £1000 less than otherwise would have been the case. We ask how much the Energy Price Guarantee will cost the government and also explain what a “typical” household really is. A consultation has opened into whether we’d like more of our goods and services priced in imperial measures – but some listeners are suggesting a survey on the issue is biased against metric. And we examine a claim made on the BBC’s Springwatch programme that all of the gardens in Newcastle are bigger than the combined size of our national parks.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 14 Sep 2022 08:30:00 +00001733urn:bbc:podcast:p0d05rlvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0d05rlvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0d05rlv
Is a third of Pakistan really under water?<![CDATA[

Pakistan is battling a huge natural disaster as a result of heavy monsoon rains. It’s been widely reported that a third of the country is under water. But can that really be the case? Featuring the BBC’s correspondent in Pakistan Pumza Fihlani and Dr Simon Cook, a senior lecturer in Environmental Science at the University of Dundee.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineers: Graham Puddifoot & James Beard

(Image: aerial photograph of flooded residential areas after heavy monsoon rains in Dera Allah Yar, Balochistan province. Credit: Getty/Fida Hussain)

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We investigate a widely reported claim as Pakistan deals with devastating flooding<![CDATA[

Pakistan is battling a huge natural disaster as a result of heavy monsoon rains. It’s been widely reported that a third of the country is under water. But can that really be the case? Featuring the BBC’s correspondent in Pakistan Pumza Fihlani and Dr Simon Cook, a senior lecturer in Environmental Science at the University of Dundee.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreyEditor: Richard VadonProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonSound Engineers: Graham Puddifoot & James Beard

(Image: aerial photograph of flooded residential areas after heavy monsoon rains in Dera Allah Yar, Balochistan province. Credit: Getty/Fida Hussain)

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Sat, 10 Sep 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0czg85zhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0czg85zcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0czg85z
Pakistan flooding, UK power prices and Boris’s broadband claim<![CDATA[

Devastating floods have wreaked havoc across Pakistan after the heaviest monsoon rains in at least a decade. But is a third of the country really under water, as has been claimed? Also why do electricity prices in the UK rise in line with gas prices when we get so much of our power from other sources like nuclear, wind and solar? As criminal barristers go on strike in England and Wales, we ask if those starting in the profession really earn £12,200 a year. And as Boris Johnson waves goodbye to Downing Street, we investigate his claim that 70% of the UK now has access to gigabit broadband.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonEditor: Richard Vadon

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The scale of the disaster is huge, but is a third of Pakistan really under water?<![CDATA[

Devastating floods have wreaked havoc across Pakistan after the heaviest monsoon rains in at least a decade. But is a third of the country really under water, as has been claimed? Also why do electricity prices in the UK rise in line with gas prices when we get so much of our power from other sources like nuclear, wind and solar? As criminal barristers go on strike in England and Wales, we ask if those starting in the profession really earn £12,200 a year. And as Boris Johnson waves goodbye to Downing Street, we investigate his claim that 70% of the UK now has access to gigabit broadband.

Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries producer: Jon BithreyReporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonaldProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 07 Sep 2022 08:30:00 +00001718urn:bbc:podcast:p0cysfdhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cysfdhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cysfdh
Can we use maths to beat the robots?<![CDATA[

Daily advances in the technology of artificial intelligence may leave humans playing catch-up – but in at least one area we can still retain an edge, mathematics. However it’ll require changes in how we think about and teach maths and we may still have to leave the simple adding up to the computers. Junaid Mubeen, author of Mathematical Intelligence, tells Tim Harford what it’ll take to stay ahead of the machines.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreySound Engineer: Rod FarquharProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonEditor: Richard Vadon

(Image: Digital generated image of artificial intelligence robot scanning the data: Getty / Andriy Onufriyenko)

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Why improving how we teach and think about maths could help us keep an edge over machines<![CDATA[

Daily advances in the technology of artificial intelligence may leave humans playing catch-up – but in at least one area we can still retain an edge, mathematics. However it’ll require changes in how we think about and teach maths and we may still have to leave the simple adding up to the computers. Junaid Mubeen, author of Mathematical Intelligence, tells Tim Harford what it’ll take to stay ahead of the machines.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon BithreySound Engineer: Rod FarquharProduction Coordinator: Jacqui JohnsonEditor: Richard Vadon

(Image: Digital generated image of artificial intelligence robot scanning the data: Getty / Andriy Onufriyenko)

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Sat, 03 Sep 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0cy2fnrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cy2fnrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cy2fnr
Energy prices, excess deaths and the race to count to 200<![CDATA[

With energy prices in the UK spiralling, Tim Harford asks whether there is an easy and realistic way for bills to be cut. Also the number of excess deaths in the UK is rising – we’ll hear how much covid is still to blame. We return to the subject of counting in twenties, this time hearing how the Welsh language mixes traditional and decimal systems. And we debunk some spurious social media claims around Liverpool players and asthma medication.

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Is there an easy way to cut soaring energy bills?<![CDATA[

With energy prices in the UK spiralling, Tim Harford asks whether there is an easy and realistic way for bills to be cut. Also the number of excess deaths in the UK is rising – we’ll hear how much covid is still to blame. We return to the subject of counting in twenties, this time hearing how the Welsh language mixes traditional and decimal systems. And we debunk some spurious social media claims around Liverpool players and asthma medication.

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Wed, 31 Aug 2022 08:30:00 +00001737urn:bbc:podcast:p0cx9mwbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cx9mwbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cx9mwb
Kenya’s Election Rounding Error<![CDATA[

When the official figures were announced in Kenya’s presidential election, it looked like the total percentage share of the vote for each candidate came to more than 100%. As this should not be possible, many wondered if up to 142,000 votes might be miscounted. We explore what turns out to be a simple mathematical misunderstanding of the numbers.

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Official figures didn’t add up - but due to rounding, not fraud.<![CDATA[

When the official figures were announced in Kenya’s presidential election, it looked like the total percentage share of the vote for each candidate came to more than 100%. As this should not be possible, many wondered if up to 142,000 votes might be miscounted. We explore what turns out to be a simple mathematical misunderstanding of the numbers.

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Sat, 27 Aug 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0cwpwv0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cwpwv0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cwpwv0
The numbers behind “natural” birth control<![CDATA[

Videos on TikTok have been claiming that so-called “natural” birth control methods can be 99% effective. We examine what we really know, and how we know it.

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We examine online claims about the effectiveness of “natural” birth control methods<![CDATA[

Videos on TikTok have been claiming that so-called “natural” birth control methods can be 99% effective. We examine what we really know, and how we know it.

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Sat, 20 Aug 2022 05:00:00 +0000581urn:bbc:podcast:p0cv3hshhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cv3hshcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cv3hsh
Is opinion polling broken?<![CDATA[

The opinion polling industry’s reputation has taken a battering in recent years, as high profile slip-ups in the US presidential election exposed frailties. So should we write them off? Not according to Economist data journalist G Elliot Morris, who’s written a book called Strength in Numbers: How Polls Work and Why We Need Them.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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Following some high profile slip-ups in recent US elections, is opinion polling broken?<![CDATA[

The opinion polling industry’s reputation has taken a battering in recent years, as high profile slip-ups in the US presidential election exposed frailties. So should we write them off? Not according to Economist data journalist G Elliot Morris, who’s written a book called Strength in Numbers: How Polls Work and Why We Need Them.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard VadonProgramme Coordinator: Brenda BrownSound Engineer: Rod Farquhar

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Sat, 13 Aug 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0cshnr1http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cshnr1cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cshnr1
Debunking the Liverpool FC Conspiracy Theory<![CDATA[

Ahead of the opening of the new season of the English Premier League, baseless rumours and dodgy statistics circulating online have implied that Liverpool FC use asthma medication to enhance their players’ performance.

Ben Carter speaks to sports scientist Professor John Dickinson to examine the science that disproves these rumour, and tracks down its original source with the help of Mike Wendling from the World Service's Trending programme.

Presenter: Ben CarterProducer: Richard Vadon

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We debunk spurious rumours that Liverpool FC use asthma medication to enhance performance<![CDATA[

Ahead of the opening of the new season of the English Premier League, baseless rumours and dodgy statistics circulating online have implied that Liverpool FC use asthma medication to enhance their players’ performance.

Ben Carter speaks to sports scientist Professor John Dickinson to examine the science that disproves these rumour, and tracks down its original source with the help of Mike Wendling from the World Service's Trending programme.

Presenter: Ben CarterProducer: Richard Vadon

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Sat, 06 Aug 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0crdjjvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0crdjjvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0crdjjv
How our world measures up<![CDATA[

Why do we measure the world around us in the way we do? There is a rich history to be explored - from measuring the depth of the Nile in Ancient Egypt to the central role the French played in developing the metric system and the ultra-precise measurement systems we use today. Presenter Tim Harford is joined by journalist and author James Vincent to discuss the political, social and technological factors that have influenced how we size up our world.

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From ancient tally bones to a jar of peanut butter, a look at the history of measurement<![CDATA[

Why do we measure the world around us in the way we do? There is a rich history to be explored - from measuring the depth of the Nile in Ancient Egypt to the central role the French played in developing the metric system and the ultra-precise measurement systems we use today. Presenter Tim Harford is joined by journalist and author James Vincent to discuss the political, social and technological factors that have influenced how we size up our world.

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Sat, 30 Jul 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0cpy1p3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cpy1p3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cpy1p3
Does the World Athletics Championships have a false start problem?<![CDATA[

US athlete Devon Allen has made global headlines this week after being disqualified from the 110m hurdles final at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon. He was judged to have left the starting blocks a thousandth of a second too early. On More or Less we crunch the numbers behind false starts in athletics, asking how quick is too quick when it comes to reacting to a starting gun and whether something else might have gone wrong with the measurement system.

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We examine the rules and tech of false starts after the disqualification of Devon Allen.<![CDATA[

US athlete Devon Allen has made global headlines this week after being disqualified from the 110m hurdles final at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon. He was judged to have left the starting blocks a thousandth of a second too early. On More or Less we crunch the numbers behind false starts in athletics, asking how quick is too quick when it comes to reacting to a starting gun and whether something else might have gone wrong with the measurement system.

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Sat, 23 Jul 2022 05:00:00 +0000606urn:bbc:podcast:p0cnjn16http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cnjn16cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cnjn16
Is Uganda about to become a middle income country?<![CDATA[

In his State of the Nation address in early June 2022, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said that Uganda was on the cusp of becoming a middle income country. That’s been contradicted by World Bank figures. In response to a question from a More or Less fan in Uganda, Tim Harford looks at how a country’s income status is calculated and what relevance it has. Featuring Rachel Sebudde, Senior Economist at the World Bank.

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We assess President Museveni’s claim that Uganda is nearing a higher economic status.<![CDATA[

In his State of the Nation address in early June 2022, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni said that Uganda was on the cusp of becoming a middle income country. That’s been contradicted by World Bank figures. In response to a question from a More or Less fan in Uganda, Tim Harford looks at how a country’s income status is calculated and what relevance it has. Featuring Rachel Sebudde, Senior Economist at the World Bank.

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Sat, 16 Jul 2022 05:00:00 +0000601urn:bbc:podcast:p0cm54cqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cm54cqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cm54cq
Does it take 10,000 litres of water to make a pair of jeans?<![CDATA[

Various claims have been made about how much water is used in the production of a pair of jeans, that cornerstone of casual clothing. With growing worries over the environmental impact of denim production, More or Less decided to investigate - with the help of journalist and researcher Elizabeth L. Cline who has written extensively on sustainability and the fashion industry.

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The numbers behind water use and denim production<![CDATA[

Various claims have been made about how much water is used in the production of a pair of jeans, that cornerstone of casual clothing. With growing worries over the environmental impact of denim production, More or Less decided to investigate - with the help of journalist and researcher Elizabeth L. Cline who has written extensively on sustainability and the fashion industry.

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Sat, 09 Jul 2022 05:00:00 +0000610urn:bbc:podcast:p0ckr93chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0ckr93ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0ckr93c
How many American women will have an abortion in their lifetime?<![CDATA[

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court overturned its 1973 ruling on Roe vs Wade - the case which guaranteed a constitutional right to a legal abortion across the US, sparking heated protests and debates across the country.

But how many American women will have an abortion in their lifetime? One statistic circulating online puts it at as high as one in three. Reporter Charlotte McDonald has been looking into the figures and has uncovered some surprising statistics.

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In the wake of the historic overturning of Roe vs Wade, we look at the statistics.<![CDATA[

Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court overturned its 1973 ruling on Roe vs Wade - the case which guaranteed a constitutional right to a legal abortion across the US, sparking heated protests and debates across the country.

But how many American women will have an abortion in their lifetime? One statistic circulating online puts it at as high as one in three. Reporter Charlotte McDonald has been looking into the figures and has uncovered some surprising statistics.

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Sat, 02 Jul 2022 05:00:00 +0000577urn:bbc:podcast:p0cjck5xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cjck5xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cjck5x
Covid climb, childcare costs and why can’t the French count properly?<![CDATA[

Covid cases are rising once again – how accurately are official figures picking up the new wave and how worried we should be? We discuss inflationary spirals and how much wage and pension increases contribute to inflation. Also how many parents actually struggle with childcare costs? Can long waits at A&E be put down to the pandemic and why the French count differently to the British.

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How accurately are official figures picking up the new covid wave?<![CDATA[

Covid cases are rising once again – how accurately are official figures picking up the new wave and how worried we should be? We discuss inflationary spirals and how much wage and pension increases contribute to inflation. Also how many parents actually struggle with childcare costs? Can long waits at A&E be put down to the pandemic and why the French count differently to the British.

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Wed, 29 Jun 2022 08:30:00 +00001756urn:bbc:podcast:p0chnmwvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0chnmwvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0chnmwv
Ed Sheeran and the mathematics of musical coincidences<![CDATA[

After beating a plagiarism claim in court, musician Ed Sheeran said that musical coincidences were inevitable with only 12 notes to choose from… but what do the numbers say? Mathematician and concert pianist Eugenia Cheng takes us through the mathematics of music and explains how the power of exponentials mean that just a handful of notes can open up a seemingly endless world of musical variety.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Nathan Gower Programme Coordinator: Janet Staples Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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Ed Sheeran thinks that musical coincidences will always happen… but do the numbers agree?<![CDATA[

After beating a plagiarism claim in court, musician Ed Sheeran said that musical coincidences were inevitable with only 12 notes to choose from… but what do the numbers say? Mathematician and concert pianist Eugenia Cheng takes us through the mathematics of music and explains how the power of exponentials mean that just a handful of notes can open up a seemingly endless world of musical variety.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Nathan Gower Programme Coordinator: Janet Staples Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill

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Sat, 25 Jun 2022 05:00:00 +0000660urn:bbc:podcast:p0cgzk0qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cgzk0qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cgzk0q
Rail strikes, tyre pollution and sex statistics<![CDATA[

Do rail workers really earn £13,000 a year more than nurses? As rail strikes severely hit services we look at some of the claims being made around pay – and explain how you can measure average pay in different ways.

Plus we investigate claims that Chancellor Rishi Sunak wasted £11bn by paying too much interest on Britain’s national debt.

Is pollution from tyres really 2000 times worse than pollution from exhausts?

And we look at sex and statistics in America.

Produced in partnership with the Open University.

Credits:Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Charlotte McDonaldReporters: Nathan Gower, Jon BithreyProduction Coordinator: Janet StaplesSound Engineer: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Do rail workers really earn £13,000 a year more than nurses?<![CDATA[

Do rail workers really earn £13,000 a year more than nurses? As rail strikes severely hit services we look at some of the claims being made around pay – and explain how you can measure average pay in different ways.

Plus we investigate claims that Chancellor Rishi Sunak wasted £11bn by paying too much interest on Britain’s national debt.

Is pollution from tyres really 2000 times worse than pollution from exhausts?

And we look at sex and statistics in America.

Produced in partnership with the Open University.

Credits:Presenter: Tim HarfordSeries Producer: Charlotte McDonaldReporters: Nathan Gower, Jon BithreyProduction Coordinator: Janet StaplesSound Engineer: James BeardEditor: Richard Vadon

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Wed, 22 Jun 2022 08:30:00 +00001717urn:bbc:podcast:p0cgc38phttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cgc38pcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cgc38p
How often do people have sex?<![CDATA[

Magazine articles and advice columns are commonly littered with spurious statistics about how much sex we’re having. So how much do we really know – and what are the difficulties of collecting information about such an intimate part of our lives?

Doctor Marina Adshade from the Vancouver School of Economics, who specialises in the economics of sex and love, answers questions posed by a curious More or Less listener in Japan.

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Looking at sex and statistics in Japan and America.<![CDATA[

Magazine articles and advice columns are commonly littered with spurious statistics about how much sex we’re having. So how much do we really know – and what are the difficulties of collecting information about such an intimate part of our lives?

Doctor Marina Adshade from the Vancouver School of Economics, who specialises in the economics of sex and love, answers questions posed by a curious More or Less listener in Japan.

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Sat, 18 Jun 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0cfn7pvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cfn7pvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cfn7pv
Maternity litigation, stars, bees and windowless planes<![CDATA[

The former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says that the cost of maternity litigation claims in England is now more than the cost of salaries for maternity nurses and doctors. We crunch the numbers and ask how worried parents and taxpayers should be. Also are there more bees in the world than stars in the galaxy? And would planes be much lighter if they didn’t bother with windows? Maths Professor Hannah Fry talks to us about her experience of cancer and the choices she and others have faced after a diagnosis. And we hear from author Simon Singh, who wants to bring fun maths conversations into homes everywhere.

Produced in partnership with the Open University.

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Are damages for maternity mistakes now more than wages for maternity nurses and doctors?<![CDATA[

The former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says that the cost of maternity litigation claims in England is now more than the cost of salaries for maternity nurses and doctors. We crunch the numbers and ask how worried parents and taxpayers should be. Also are there more bees in the world than stars in the galaxy? And would planes be much lighter if they didn’t bother with windows? Maths Professor Hannah Fry talks to us about her experience of cancer and the choices she and others have faced after a diagnosis. And we hear from author Simon Singh, who wants to bring fun maths conversations into homes everywhere.

Produced in partnership with the Open University.

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Wed, 15 Jun 2022 08:30:00 +00001718urn:bbc:podcast:p0cdwvp7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cdwvp7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cdwvp7
Hannah Fry: Understanding the numbers of cancer<![CDATA[

British mathematics professor and broadcaster Hannah Fry has spent many years trying to explain the world through numbers. But when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer she embarked on a new mission – to discover whether the medical world, and we as individuals, make the right choices around treatment. Are patients always given the facts – and the time - they need to make rational decisions? And could we be at risk of unnecessary overtreatment?

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The maths professor on the choices she and others have faced after a cancer diagnosis<![CDATA[

British mathematics professor and broadcaster Hannah Fry has spent many years trying to explain the world through numbers. But when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer she embarked on a new mission – to discover whether the medical world, and we as individuals, make the right choices around treatment. Are patients always given the facts – and the time - they need to make rational decisions? And could we be at risk of unnecessary overtreatment?

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Sat, 11 Jun 2022 05:00:00 +0000616urn:bbc:podcast:p0cd7h81http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cd7h81cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cd7h81
Employment puzzle, pyramids and triplets<![CDATA[

The UK has a low unemployment rate, and a large number of people who are not working right now – we look at how both of these are true with the help of Chris Giles from the FT and Louise Murphy from the Resolution Foundation.

Have pyramids really moved 4km south since they were built?

For years, the media has been claiming that the odds of having identical triplets are one in 200 million – we are very suspicious. And we look at apparently concerning reports about women's life expectancy in the poorest parts of England.

Plus, we have received a lot of emails from listeners about last week’s episode. Some questioning the definition of a billion, others questioning our explanation of the nautical mile. We do some reflecting.

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The UK has a low unemployment rate but lots of people not working – how come?<![CDATA[

The UK has a low unemployment rate, and a large number of people who are not working right now – we look at how both of these are true with the help of Chris Giles from the FT and Louise Murphy from the Resolution Foundation.

Have pyramids really moved 4km south since they were built?

For years, the media has been claiming that the odds of having identical triplets are one in 200 million – we are very suspicious. And we look at apparently concerning reports about women's life expectancy in the poorest parts of England.

Plus, we have received a lot of emails from listeners about last week’s episode. Some questioning the definition of a billion, others questioning our explanation of the nautical mile. We do some reflecting.

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Wed, 08 Jun 2022 08:30:00 +00001731urn:bbc:podcast:p0cchnzhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cchnzhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cchnzh
Are girls starting puberty earlier?<![CDATA[

In the 1980s, Dr Marcia Herman-Giddens was one of the first people to notice that girls were starting puberty earlier than expected. We talk to Dr Marcia Herman-Giddens and Dr Louise Greenspan about what we know now about whether the age of girls’ puberty is falling.

(Mother and daughter in the supermarket choosing sanitary items. Getty Images)

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We look into a claim that the age of girls’ puberty is falling rapidly<![CDATA[

In the 1980s, Dr Marcia Herman-Giddens was one of the first people to notice that girls were starting puberty earlier than expected. We talk to Dr Marcia Herman-Giddens and Dr Louise Greenspan about what we know now about whether the age of girls’ puberty is falling.

(Mother and daughter in the supermarket choosing sanitary items. Getty Images)

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Sat, 04 Jun 2022 05:00:00 +0000533urn:bbc:podcast:p0cbk9kqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cbk9kqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cbk9kq
Jubilee costs, fuel poverty and imperial measures<![CDATA[

Is the government really spending a billion pounds on the Jubilee, as some have claimed? We investigate some of the facts and figures around this week’s commemorations. We also ask why energy bills are becoming so high in the UK when we actually have plenty of gas, and we unpack the mystery of measuring fuel poverty. Plus after the Texas school shooting we investigate the statistics around gun deaths in the US.

And finally we hear about the joys and perplexities of imperial measures with Hannah Fry and Matt Parker.

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We debunk a claim the government is spending £38,000 per household on the Jubilee<![CDATA[

Is the government really spending a billion pounds on the Jubilee, as some have claimed? We investigate some of the facts and figures around this week’s commemorations. We also ask why energy bills are becoming so high in the UK when we actually have plenty of gas, and we unpack the mystery of measuring fuel poverty. Plus after the Texas school shooting we investigate the statistics around gun deaths in the US.

And finally we hear about the joys and perplexities of imperial measures with Hannah Fry and Matt Parker.

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Wed, 01 Jun 2022 08:30:00 +00001739urn:bbc:podcast:p0cbb52shttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0cbb52scleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0cbb52s
Noisy Decisions<![CDATA[

Nobel memorial prize winner Daniel Kahneman is one of the world’s most famous psychologists, known particularly for his work identifying the role of cognitive bias in everyday decision making. In this edition of More or Less he talks to Tim Harford about his latest book, Noise - A Flaw in Human Judgement, in which he outlines how a multitude of often irrelevant factors influence important decisions, whether in job interviews, the courtroom or workplaces generally - and what we can do about it.

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The world’s most famous psychologist on how 'noise' impacts our decision making<![CDATA[

Nobel memorial prize winner Daniel Kahneman is one of the world’s most famous psychologists, known particularly for his work identifying the role of cognitive bias in everyday decision making. In this edition of More or Less he talks to Tim Harford about his latest book, Noise - A Flaw in Human Judgement, in which he outlines how a multitude of often irrelevant factors influence important decisions, whether in job interviews, the courtroom or workplaces generally - and what we can do about it.

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Sat, 28 May 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0c9jkgwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c9jkgwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c9jkgw
Germany’s excess deaths, Eurovision and teacher shortages<![CDATA[

Some recent, and surprising, estimates from the World Health Organisation suggested that the UK fared better than Germany in the pandemic. But did they get it right?

At Eurovision this year an algorithm was apparently used to replace whole countries’ votes - was it responsible for the UK’s second-place finish?

The global economy has been putting the squeeze on many of us this year. Various factors have caused food, fuel and energy prices to rocket and many households are starting to feel the pinch. We speak to economist Duncan Weldon about whether this year is the worst hit to the cost of living since records began.

An unusually large contingent of children are set to hit English secondary schools just as the number of 21 year olds dips – so are we heading for a teaching crunch in England?

Produced in partnership with The Open University.

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Did Germany really fare worse than the UK in the pandemic?<![CDATA[

Some recent, and surprising, estimates from the World Health Organisation suggested that the UK fared better than Germany in the pandemic. But did they get it right?

At Eurovision this year an algorithm was apparently used to replace whole countries’ votes - was it responsible for the UK’s second-place finish?

The global economy has been putting the squeeze on many of us this year. Various factors have caused food, fuel and energy prices to rocket and many households are starting to feel the pinch. We speak to economist Duncan Weldon about whether this year is the worst hit to the cost of living since records began.

An unusually large contingent of children are set to hit English secondary schools just as the number of 21 year olds dips – so are we heading for a teaching crunch in England?

Produced in partnership with The Open University.

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Wed, 25 May 2022 08:30:00 +00001754urn:bbc:podcast:p0c8sm2zhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c8sm2zcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c8sm2z
Are just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions and how stressed are South Africans?<![CDATA[

In the fight against global warming we’re constantly told to do our bit to reduce green house gas emissions. However, a claim circulating that just ‘100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions’ can make any individual effort seem futile. But does this claim mean what you think it means? We look into this and the claim that the pandemic pushed South African stress levels up by 56%. With guests Abbas Panjwani from Fullfact and Kirsten Cosser from Africa Check.

(Image: Power plant emitting smoke at sunset. Credit: Enviromantic/Getty)

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Looking at numbers on green house gas emissions and stress<![CDATA[

In the fight against global warming we’re constantly told to do our bit to reduce green house gas emissions. However, a claim circulating that just ‘100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions’ can make any individual effort seem futile. But does this claim mean what you think it means? We look into this and the claim that the pandemic pushed South African stress levels up by 56%. With guests Abbas Panjwani from Fullfact and Kirsten Cosser from Africa Check.

(Image: Power plant emitting smoke at sunset. Credit: Enviromantic/Getty)

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Sat, 21 May 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0c82wcphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c82wcpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c82wcp
Did the WHO get some of its excess death estimates wrong?<![CDATA[

The World Health Organisation recently released some new estimates of the global death toll of the pandemic. But the figures for a few countries have caused controversy. Tim Harford speaks to Professor Jon Wakefield, who worked on the analysis - and Indian data journalist Rukmini S about the debate that’s erupted in India over the figures.

(man puzzled at blackboard. Credit: Getty images)

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We look at the World Health Organisation’s latest estimates of the pandemic’s death toll<![CDATA[

The World Health Organisation recently released some new estimates of the global death toll of the pandemic. But the figures for a few countries have caused controversy. Tim Harford speaks to Professor Jon Wakefield, who worked on the analysis - and Indian data journalist Rukmini S about the debate that’s erupted in India over the figures.

(man puzzled at blackboard. Credit: Getty images)

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Sat, 14 May 2022 05:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0c6nxh6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c6nxh6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c6nxh6
Have the oceans become 30% more acidic?<![CDATA[

Although the climate-changing effects of Carbon Dioxide emissions are well known, they are changing our oceans too, making them more acidic. But how much?

Tim Harford explores the statistical quirks of ocean acidification, from pH to the mysteries of logarithmic scales. With Dr Helen Findlay from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK.

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Tim Harford asks how we measure the health of our oceans<![CDATA[

Although the climate-changing effects of Carbon Dioxide emissions are well known, they are changing our oceans too, making them more acidic. But how much?

Tim Harford explores the statistical quirks of ocean acidification, from pH to the mysteries of logarithmic scales. With Dr Helen Findlay from the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK.

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Sat, 07 May 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0c5bs31http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c5bs31cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c5bs31
Sweden’s polarising pandemic response<![CDATA[

When much of Europe went into lockdown at the start of pandemic, Sweden’s lighter touch strategy got lots of attention. Fans of the approach say it was a huge success that showed lockdowns were pointless. Opponents say it has been a disaster. But what do the numbers say?

In this episode of More Or Less, Tim Harford and journalist Keith Moore carve a nuanced path through one of the pandemic’s most polarising approaches.

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Has Sweden’s pandemic response been a triumph or a disaster…or something in-between?<![CDATA[

When much of Europe went into lockdown at the start of pandemic, Sweden’s lighter touch strategy got lots of attention. Fans of the approach say it was a huge success that showed lockdowns were pointless. Opponents say it has been a disaster. But what do the numbers say?

In this episode of More Or Less, Tim Harford and journalist Keith Moore carve a nuanced path through one of the pandemic’s most polarising approaches.

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Sat, 30 Apr 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0c41q17http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c41q17cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c41q17
Understanding India through Data<![CDATA[

How do you go about understanding a country with a population as diverse as it is vast?

Data journalist Rukmini S is the author of Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India. Tim Harford spoke to her about the power and pitfalls of using statistics to make sense of modern India, from basic questions like average income to the huge challenges of keeping track of Covid.

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What can data tell us about a country of 1.4 billion people?<![CDATA[

How do you go about understanding a country with a population as diverse as it is vast?

Data journalist Rukmini S is the author of Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India. Tim Harford spoke to her about the power and pitfalls of using statistics to make sense of modern India, from basic questions like average income to the huge challenges of keeping track of Covid.

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Sat, 23 Apr 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0c2qqvchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c2qqvccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c2qqvc
Subitising and simplifying: how to better explain numbers<![CDATA[

Have you ever looked at a numerical claim and thought ‘what on earth does that mean?’ Complex numbers are often badly communicated, making it difficult for the public to appreciate what they signify - but dial things down too much and you’re at risk of oversimplifying important issues. It’s a tightrope walk authors Chip Heath and Karla Starr have explored in their new book ‘Making Numbers Count’. Tim Harford talks to them about how we can improve the way we communicate numbers to the general public.

Producer: Lizzy McNeill

(Image: Child in front of numbers, Credit: Getty Images)

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How can we clearly explain complex numbers to the public without losing their meaning?<![CDATA[

Have you ever looked at a numerical claim and thought ‘what on earth does that mean?’ Complex numbers are often badly communicated, making it difficult for the public to appreciate what they signify - but dial things down too much and you’re at risk of oversimplifying important issues. It’s a tightrope walk authors Chip Heath and Karla Starr have explored in their new book ‘Making Numbers Count’. Tim Harford talks to them about how we can improve the way we communicate numbers to the general public.

Producer: Lizzy McNeill

(Image: Child in front of numbers, Credit: Getty Images)

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Fri, 15 Apr 2022 04:50:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p0c1bhd7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c1bhd7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c1bhd7
Did tea-drinking cut deaths in the Industrial Revolution?<![CDATA[

Could an explosion in tea-drinking explain a decline in deaths in England during the industrial revolution? Professor Francisca Antman, an economist at the University of Colorado Boulder believes it might.

Tim Harford discovers that dusting down the data from tea shipments and local burial records gives us surprising insight into how boiling water for tea accidentally improved public health.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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How tea became an accidental lifesaver in 18th Century England.<![CDATA[

Could an explosion in tea-drinking explain a decline in deaths in England during the industrial revolution? Professor Francisca Antman, an economist at the University of Colorado Boulder believes it might.

Tim Harford discovers that dusting down the data from tea shipments and local burial records gives us surprising insight into how boiling water for tea accidentally improved public health.

Presenter: Tim HarfordProducer: Nathan GowerSound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot

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Sat, 09 Apr 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0c07vm9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0c07vm9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0c07vm9
Will the war in Ukraine cause a global wheat shortage?<![CDATA[

As the Russian Invasion of Ukraine continues, the effects ripple around the rest of the world. One concern involves the wheat harvest. There have been claims that Ukraine and Russia supply 25% of the worlds wheat and that as a result we’re facing a global wheat crisis. We look into this misleading figure to determine what the real impact might be.

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How much of the worlds wheat comes from Ukraine and Russia<![CDATA[

As the Russian Invasion of Ukraine continues, the effects ripple around the rest of the world. One concern involves the wheat harvest. There have been claims that Ukraine and Russia supply 25% of the worlds wheat and that as a result we’re facing a global wheat crisis. We look into this misleading figure to determine what the real impact might be.

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Sat, 02 Apr 2022 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bywvrwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bywvrwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bywvrw
Pizza and Nuclear War<![CDATA[

The War in Ukraine has reminded the world how easily conflict might escalate into a Nuclear War. But according to Professor Barry Nalebuff of Yale University, good strategy and negotiating can help us with everything from avoiding Armageddon to dividing up a pizza fairly.

Tim Harford talks to Barry Nalebuff about his new book, “Split the Pie”.

Presenter:Tim Harford Producer: Lizzy McNeill

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How good negotiation can help us split pizzas fairly and also avoid Nuclear War<![CDATA[

The War in Ukraine has reminded the world how easily conflict might escalate into a Nuclear War. But according to Professor Barry Nalebuff of Yale University, good strategy and negotiating can help us with everything from avoiding Armageddon to dividing up a pizza fairly.

Tim Harford talks to Barry Nalebuff about his new book, “Split the Pie”.

Presenter:Tim Harford Producer: Lizzy McNeill

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Sun, 20 Mar 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bw7817http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bw7817cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bw7817
Does the UK take in more refugees than other European countries?<![CDATA[

As the war in Ukraine continues, Reuters has reported that some 2.3 million people have been displaced. So far many of those have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The UN estimates that as of the 8th of march Poland has taken in almost 1.3 million refugees, Hungary just over 200,000 and Slovakia almost 100,000.

In comparison the UK has issued visa’s to just under 1000 people. Some say this isn’t enough, however, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the governments record claiming that ‘"We've done more to resettle vulnerable people than any other European country since 2015." Sound familiar? Join us on a journey back to 2020 to find out whether this is accurate or just a repeated misleading claim.

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Fact checking Boris Johnson’s claim.<![CDATA[

As the war in Ukraine continues, Reuters has reported that some 2.3 million people have been displaced. So far many of those have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The UN estimates that as of the 8th of march Poland has taken in almost 1.3 million refugees, Hungary just over 200,000 and Slovakia almost 100,000.

In comparison the UK has issued visa’s to just under 1000 people. Some say this isn’t enough, however, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the governments record claiming that ‘"We've done more to resettle vulnerable people than any other European country since 2015." Sound familiar? Join us on a journey back to 2020 to find out whether this is accurate or just a repeated misleading claim.

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Sun, 13 Mar 2022 15:00:00 +0000713urn:bbc:podcast:p0btx0dchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0btx0dccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0btx0dc
Numbers in Ukraine and low seas in Chagos<![CDATA[

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we take a look at some of the numbers coming out of the conflict and ask how to know which information you can trust during a war. We also investigate the perplexing claim that the seas around the Chagos Islands are 100m lower than the seas around the rest of the world.

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Troop and casualty numbers in Ukraine<![CDATA[

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we take a look at some of the numbers coming out of the conflict and ask how to know which information you can trust during a war. We also investigate the perplexing claim that the seas around the Chagos Islands are 100m lower than the seas around the rest of the world.

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Sun, 06 Mar 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bsk11hhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bsk11hcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bsk11h
Troop and Casualty Numbers in Ukraine<![CDATA[

How reliable are the figures coming out of the conflict in Ukraine?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we consider claims about the numbers of troops involved, people killed, and planes downed.

Also: are the prime minister’s parliamentary claims about growing numbers of NHS staff backed up by data? We investigate the perplexing claim that the Chagos Islands are 100 metres below sea level. How long do you have to drive an electric car to offset the pollution from making the battery? And do we really make 35,000 decisions a day?

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How reliable are the figures coming out of the conflict in Ukraine?<![CDATA[

How reliable are the figures coming out of the conflict in Ukraine?

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we consider claims about the numbers of troops involved, people killed, and planes downed.

Also: are the prime minister’s parliamentary claims about growing numbers of NHS staff backed up by data? We investigate the perplexing claim that the Chagos Islands are 100 metres below sea level. How long do you have to drive an electric car to offset the pollution from making the battery? And do we really make 35,000 decisions a day?

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Wed, 02 Mar 2022 09:30:00 +00001748urn:bbc:podcast:p0brwkclhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0brwkclcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0brwkcl
Did lockdowns save any lives?<![CDATA[

Lockdown. A word we’ve all become overly familiar with over the past two years. Lockdowns were intended to protect people, especially societies most vulnerable, from the risks associated with contracting Covid. However, a new study has been making headlines which claims to show that mandatory lockdowns have only reduced Covid-19 mortality by 0.2%, or one death in five hundred. We examine the evidence behind the claim.

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Did lockdowns actually save any lives?<![CDATA[

Lockdown. A word we’ve all become overly familiar with over the past two years. Lockdowns were intended to protect people, especially societies most vulnerable, from the risks associated with contracting Covid. However, a new study has been making headlines which claims to show that mandatory lockdowns have only reduced Covid-19 mortality by 0.2%, or one death in five hundred. We examine the evidence behind the claim.

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Sun, 27 Feb 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0br6v3jhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0br6v3jcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0br6v3j
Vaccinating children, lockdowns, and ebikes<![CDATA[

Jabs for five to 11-year-olds, lockdown effectiveness, and being green on two wheels.

Governments across the UK have decided to offer Covid vaccinations to primary school-aged children. What was the data behind this decision?

What effect did lockdowns have on preventing deaths from Covid? We look at a research paper that says almost none. Plus, is Elon Musk right to warn of a global population collapse? And can it really be greener to ride an e-bike than a good old-fashioned push bike?

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Jabs for five to 11-year-olds, lockdown effectiveness, and being green on two wheels<![CDATA[

Jabs for five to 11-year-olds, lockdown effectiveness, and being green on two wheels.

Governments across the UK have decided to offer Covid vaccinations to primary school-aged children. What was the data behind this decision?

What effect did lockdowns have on preventing deaths from Covid? We look at a research paper that says almost none. Plus, is Elon Musk right to warn of a global population collapse? And can it really be greener to ride an e-bike than a good old-fashioned push bike?

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Wed, 23 Feb 2022 09:30:00 +00001708urn:bbc:podcast:p0bql9vhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bql9vhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bql9vh
Hospitalisation rates for children with Covid<![CDATA[

Covid vaccines will be offered to all children across the UK between the ages of 5 and 12 - some months after the same decision in countries such as Italy and Germany. It is a topic that has caused a fair amount of controversy and with controversy often comes suspicious statistical claims. We look at the data behind child hospitalisations and deaths due to Covid19.

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Do 1 in 100 children who catch Covid end up hospitalised?<![CDATA[

Covid vaccines will be offered to all children across the UK between the ages of 5 and 12 - some months after the same decision in countries such as Italy and Germany. It is a topic that has caused a fair amount of controversy and with controversy often comes suspicious statistical claims. We look at the data behind child hospitalisations and deaths due to Covid19.

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Sun, 20 Feb 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bpr9ylhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bpr9ylcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bpr9yl
Questioning claims about Covid and children<![CDATA[

How likely are children to end up in hospital because of Covid? And how many have died?

We scrutinise some scary stats that have been circulating on social and examine what excess deaths figures tell us about the risks of Covid compared to other illnesses.

Plus, with the gift of hindsight, we examine the joys and sorrows of modelling the spread of the virus. Do MPs understand how false positive rates work? And we unwrap the mystery of the nanomoles.

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How likely are children to end up in hospital because of Covid? And how many have died?<![CDATA[

How likely are children to end up in hospital because of Covid? And how many have died?

We scrutinise some scary stats that have been circulating on social and examine what excess deaths figures tell us about the risks of Covid compared to other illnesses.

Plus, with the gift of hindsight, we examine the joys and sorrows of modelling the spread of the virus. Do MPs understand how false positive rates work? And we unwrap the mystery of the nanomoles.

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Wed, 16 Feb 2022 09:30:00 +00001748urn:bbc:podcast:p0bp9c2mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bp9c2mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bp9c2m
Testosterone and sport<![CDATA[

In early December 2021 a member of Penn University Women’s Swim Team caused a stir. Lia Thomas not only won three events but she had the fastest time in elite college swimming in the country in two out of three races. This achievement reignited a debate as Lia Thomas is a transgender woman; we examine the rules around testosterone and trans women’s participation in elite sport.

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Trans women’s participation in elite sport<![CDATA[

In early December 2021 a member of Penn University Women’s Swim Team caused a stir. Lia Thomas not only won three events but she had the fastest time in elite college swimming in the country in two out of three races. This achievement reignited a debate as Lia Thomas is a transgender woman; we examine the rules around testosterone and trans women’s participation in elite sport.

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Sun, 13 Feb 2022 15:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0bnmpldhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bnmpldcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bnmpld
The prime minister in statistical bother<![CDATA[

Boris Johnson has been ticked off for misleading Parliament on jobs and on crime.

He claimed that the number of people in employment has been rising - when it’s been falling. And he made a claim that crime has fallen - when it’s risen. We discuss the truth, and what Parliament can do to defend it.

Plus, we examine the rules around testosterone and trans women’s participation in elite sport, and the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld is with us as we try to navigate the largely unknown world of fungi.

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Boris Johnson has been ticked off for misleading Parliament on jobs and on crime.<![CDATA[

Boris Johnson has been ticked off for misleading Parliament on jobs and on crime.

He claimed that the number of people in employment has been rising - when it’s been falling. And he made a claim that crime has fallen - when it’s risen. We discuss the truth, and what Parliament can do to defend it.

Plus, we examine the rules around testosterone and trans women’s participation in elite sport, and the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld is with us as we try to navigate the largely unknown world of fungi.

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Wed, 09 Feb 2022 09:30:00 +00001732urn:bbc:podcast:p0bmz69nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bmz69ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bmz69n
Can you fool your brain?<![CDATA[

Have you given up on your New Year’s resolution yet? Every year many of us make the promise to become better, shinier, more accomplished versions of ourselves by the same time next year. It’s often easier said than done but to an extent it really is the thought that counts. David Robson, author of ‘The Expectation Effect’ says the power of our expectations can cause real physiological effects but Mike Hall, co-director of ‘The Skeptic’ magazine isn’t convinced.

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Looking at the power of expectations<![CDATA[

Have you given up on your New Year’s resolution yet? Every year many of us make the promise to become better, shinier, more accomplished versions of ourselves by the same time next year. It’s often easier said than done but to an extent it really is the thought that counts. David Robson, author of ‘The Expectation Effect’ says the power of our expectations can cause real physiological effects but Mike Hall, co-director of ‘The Skeptic’ magazine isn’t convinced.

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Sun, 06 Feb 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bm79m2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bm79m2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bm79m2
Does the UK have the fastest growing economy in the G7?<![CDATA[

Conservative politicians have taken to the airwaves to tell us to forget the parties, and just look at the economic growth - but is the UK really growing faster than other leading economies?

The Omicron variant has raised the chance that people are re-infected with Covid - how common is that, and should it change the way we read the statistics that are reported each day?

The great statistician Sir David Cox has died; we remember his life and his contribution to the science of counting.

And does comparing the number of food banks to the number of McDonald’s restaurants in the UK tell us anything about food poverty?

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How fast is our economy growing? And what is happening with Omicron reinfections?<![CDATA[

Conservative politicians have taken to the airwaves to tell us to forget the parties, and just look at the economic growth - but is the UK really growing faster than other leading economies?

The Omicron variant has raised the chance that people are re-infected with Covid - how common is that, and should it change the way we read the statistics that are reported each day?

The great statistician Sir David Cox has died; we remember his life and his contribution to the science of counting.

And does comparing the number of food banks to the number of McDonald’s restaurants in the UK tell us anything about food poverty?

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Wed, 02 Feb 2022 09:30:00 +00001728urn:bbc:podcast:p0bll75jhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bll75jcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bll75j
Fertility rates: baby boom or bust?<![CDATA[

Under lockdown, couples were destined to find themselves closer than ever before, but despite what you’d think – this didn’t result in a higher birth rate. In fact in developed countries across the world the birth rate is falling, we spoke to Professor Marina Adshade about why this is and what this could mean for the future.

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Fertility rates around the world<![CDATA[

Under lockdown, couples were destined to find themselves closer than ever before, but despite what you’d think – this didn’t result in a higher birth rate. In fact in developed countries across the world the birth rate is falling, we spoke to Professor Marina Adshade about why this is and what this could mean for the future.

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Sun, 30 Jan 2022 15:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0bkz4vphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bkz4vpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bkz4vp
Should you follow the 5 second rule? And does inflation hit the poorest harder?<![CDATA[

Food writer Jack Monroe sparked national debate this week when she tweeted about food price hikes on the cheapest goods in supermarkets - but does inflation really hit low income households hardest?

Social media and some news outlets have spread claims this week that only around 17,000 people have actually died of Covid. We debunk.

We test the truth of the five second rule - is it a good idea to eat watermelon within five seconds of dropping it on the floor? And can you think yourself better?

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Does inflation hit poor households harder and how many people have died of Covid?<![CDATA[

Food writer Jack Monroe sparked national debate this week when she tweeted about food price hikes on the cheapest goods in supermarkets - but does inflation really hit low income households hardest?

Social media and some news outlets have spread claims this week that only around 17,000 people have actually died of Covid. We debunk.

We test the truth of the five second rule - is it a good idea to eat watermelon within five seconds of dropping it on the floor? And can you think yourself better?

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Wed, 26 Jan 2022 09:30:00 +00001700urn:bbc:podcast:p0bk8lmzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bk8lmzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bk8lmz
Are female patients more likely to die if the surgeon is male?<![CDATA[

In early January several newspapers ran article claiming that ‘women are 32% more likely to die after operation by male surgeon. If true, this is a terrifying figure but is all as it seems? We dig into the data to find out whether women should really be worried about having a male surgeon.

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Should women be worried about having a male surgeon?<![CDATA[

In early January several newspapers ran article claiming that ‘women are 32% more likely to die after operation by male surgeon. If true, this is a terrifying figure but is all as it seems? We dig into the data to find out whether women should really be worried about having a male surgeon.

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Sun, 23 Jan 2022 15:00:00 +0000631urn:bbc:podcast:p0bjmnh8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bjmnh8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bjmnh8
Are women 32% more likely to die after operation by a male surgeon?<![CDATA[

Are women 32% more likely to die after operation by a male surgeon? Headlines asserting this were shared across social media recently - but the truth is a bit more complicated.

We compare the price and the quality of the UK’s Test and Trace system with that of Germany and check on what’s happening to the Covid death toll during the Omicron wave.

And we investigate the worrying statistic that one in ten people are planning to start a podcast in the coming year.

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Surgery death risks, Test and Trace costs in the UK and Germany, and podcast plans<![CDATA[

Are women 32% more likely to die after operation by a male surgeon? Headlines asserting this were shared across social media recently - but the truth is a bit more complicated.

We compare the price and the quality of the UK’s Test and Trace system with that of Germany and check on what’s happening to the Covid death toll during the Omicron wave.

And we investigate the worrying statistic that one in ten people are planning to start a podcast in the coming year.

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Wed, 19 Jan 2022 09:25:00 +00001714urn:bbc:podcast:p0bhzbyjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bhzbyjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bhzbyj
QAnon: Did 365,348 children go missing in the US in 2020?<![CDATA[

In December, Republican politician Lauren Boebert tweeted the claim that ‘365,348 children went missing in 2020’. This is a shocking statistic but is it true and does it mean what we think it means? We speak to Gabriel Gatehouse, international editor of Newsnight, who has been investigating conspiracy theories including the Qanon conspiracy theory for a new podcast, The Coming Storm.

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Fact checking a QAnon claim<![CDATA[

In December, Republican politician Lauren Boebert tweeted the claim that ‘365,348 children went missing in 2020’. This is a shocking statistic but is it true and does it mean what we think it means? We speak to Gabriel Gatehouse, international editor of Newsnight, who has been investigating conspiracy theories including the Qanon conspiracy theory for a new podcast, The Coming Storm.

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Sun, 16 Jan 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bhbvmvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bhbvmvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bhbvmv
Omicron, pandemic birth rates and boosters<![CDATA[

The pandemic seems to be entering a new phase as Omicron has taken hold. Is it milder? And how might we make decisions based on the latest data?

Predictions that lockdowns might lead to a baby boom have proven wrong - in fact fertility is falling.

We re-examine a baffling claim about the number of children being abducted every year in the US after claims by a Republican politician on social media, and we run our statistical measuring tape up the inside leg of the government’s promise to give everyone a booster jab before New Year’s Day.

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An Omicron update, pandemic birth rates and the booster drive.<![CDATA[

The pandemic seems to be entering a new phase as Omicron has taken hold. Is it milder? And how might we make decisions based on the latest data?

Predictions that lockdowns might lead to a baby boom have proven wrong - in fact fertility is falling.

We re-examine a baffling claim about the number of children being abducted every year in the US after claims by a Republican politician on social media, and we run our statistical measuring tape up the inside leg of the government’s promise to give everyone a booster jab before New Year’s Day.

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Wed, 12 Jan 2022 09:30:00 +00001676urn:bbc:podcast:p0bgn2rwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bgn2rwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bgn2rw
How much plastic is in the Ocean and can Mr Beast make a difference?<![CDATA[

In October of last year popular Youtubers Mark Rober and the enigmatically named Mr Beast pledged to remove 30 million pounds of plastic from the Ocean – if they could raise $30 million dollars. A dollar per pound of plastic sounds like a fairly good deal, but how much plastic is out there and will they actually be removing anything from the Ocean at all?

(Image: Sahika Encumen dives amid plastic waste in Ortakoy coastline: photo by Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Looking at Mark Rober and Mr Beast’s plastics pledge.<![CDATA[

In October of last year popular Youtubers Mark Rober and the enigmatically named Mr Beast pledged to remove 30 million pounds of plastic from the Ocean – if they could raise $30 million dollars. A dollar per pound of plastic sounds like a fairly good deal, but how much plastic is out there and will they actually be removing anything from the Ocean at all?

(Image: Sahika Encumen dives amid plastic waste in Ortakoy coastline: photo by Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Sun, 09 Jan 2022 07:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bfy1l7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bfy1l7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bfy1l7
Will the population of Nigeria be larger than Europe’s?<![CDATA[

In recent years population growth has slowed rapidly. Experts believe that the global population will stabilise somewhere around 11 billion people. But just because global population is stabilising doesn’t mean each country is following the global trend. Some projections estimate that the population of Nigeria will increase rapidly to the point that there will be more people living in Nigeria than the whole of Europe combined. We look at the methods behind this claim.

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Will Nigeria’s population really reach 600million?<![CDATA[

In recent years population growth has slowed rapidly. Experts believe that the global population will stabilise somewhere around 11 billion people. But just because global population is stabilising doesn’t mean each country is following the global trend. Some projections estimate that the population of Nigeria will increase rapidly to the point that there will be more people living in Nigeria than the whole of Europe combined. We look at the methods behind this claim.

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Sun, 02 Jan 2022 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bck1pnhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bck1pncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bck1pn
Numbers of 2021<![CDATA[

A guide to the most concerning, striking and downright extraordinary numbers of 2021. Tim Harford asks three More or Less interviewees about their most significant and memorable figure over the past year. From the excess death toll of Covid-19; to declining total fertility rates, and a spike in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we showcase the numbers that tell us something about the year gone by. During this programme, we speak to Hannah Ritchie, head of research at Our World in Data and senior researcher at the University of Oxford; Marina Adshade, Economics Professor at the University of British Columbia; and Heleen De Coninck, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, and a lead author on several reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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The most significant numbers of the year<![CDATA[

A guide to the most concerning, striking and downright extraordinary numbers of 2021. Tim Harford asks three More or Less interviewees about their most significant and memorable figure over the past year. From the excess death toll of Covid-19; to declining total fertility rates, and a spike in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we showcase the numbers that tell us something about the year gone by. During this programme, we speak to Hannah Ritchie, head of research at Our World in Data and senior researcher at the University of Oxford; Marina Adshade, Economics Professor at the University of British Columbia; and Heleen De Coninck, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, and a lead author on several reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Sun, 26 Dec 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bcjt8xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bcjt8xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bcjt8x
The psychological economics of gift giving<![CDATA[

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year – if you have something to sell that is. Every year we waste hundreds of dollars on gifts that aren’t appreciated, but how can you ensure that the gifts you buy hit the mark every time? We speak to behavioural scientist Professor Francesca Gino to find out more then use our newfound knowledge to exam an old Christmas classic

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How to buy gifts people actually want.<![CDATA[

Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year – if you have something to sell that is. Every year we waste hundreds of dollars on gifts that aren’t appreciated, but how can you ensure that the gifts you buy hit the mark every time? We speak to behavioural scientist Professor Francesca Gino to find out more then use our newfound knowledge to exam an old Christmas classic

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Sun, 19 Dec 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0bbprh9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bbprh9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0bbprh9
Does catching covid give you more immunity than being vaccinated?<![CDATA[

Immunity to Covid-19. We've all been hoping to develop it ever since the virus emerged two years ago. Since then, a race to vaccinate the world has begun in earnest, with many countries rolling out booster shots in response to the rise of the Omicron variant. Health officials and scientists agree that vaccines are the safest way to develop immunity to the disease. But when US Congresswoman Nancy Mace took to Fox News recently, citing a study showing a whooping 27 times better immunity from natural infection than vaccination, we thought we'd better investigate. How did this study arrive at this number, and is it a fair representation of its findings?

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Infection vs injection: Could prior infection provide 27 times more protection?<![CDATA[

Immunity to Covid-19. We've all been hoping to develop it ever since the virus emerged two years ago. Since then, a race to vaccinate the world has begun in earnest, with many countries rolling out booster shots in response to the rise of the Omicron variant. Health officials and scientists agree that vaccines are the safest way to develop immunity to the disease. But when US Congresswoman Nancy Mace took to Fox News recently, citing a study showing a whooping 27 times better immunity from natural infection than vaccination, we thought we'd better investigate. How did this study arrive at this number, and is it a fair representation of its findings?

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Sun, 12 Dec 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0b98hzlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b98hzlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b98hzl
Does wearing a mask halve your chances of getting Covid-19?<![CDATA[

Masks, you may not have worn them before 2020 but now we’re all at it. With the rise of the Omicron variant countries have scrambled to reintroduce public health policies, among them mask wearing. Health officials and scientists agree that masks help reduce the incidence of covid19 infections – but by how much is still debated. Several newspapers recently reported that masks could cut Covid-19 infections by 53%, we look at how they came to this number and whether we should be believe it.

(Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Is it true wearing a mask reduces Covid-19 incidence by 53%?<![CDATA[

Masks, you may not have worn them before 2020 but now we’re all at it. With the rise of the Omicron variant countries have scrambled to reintroduce public health policies, among them mask wearing. Health officials and scientists agree that masks help reduce the incidence of covid19 infections – but by how much is still debated. Several newspapers recently reported that masks could cut Covid-19 infections by 53%, we look at how they came to this number and whether we should be believe it.

(Image: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Sun, 05 Dec 2021 23:59:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0b7zzdrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b7zzdrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b7zzdr
Simpson’s Paradox: How to make vaccinated death figures misleading<![CDATA[

Vaccines are the best way to stop deaths and serious cases related to covid19, this is an irrefutable fact. However, recent ONS data seems to show that vaccinated people had a higher all cause death rate than unvaccinated people. Why is this data misleading? Here’s a clue: it’s to do with a quirky statistical phenomenon called Simpsons Paradox.

(Image: The Simpsons / TCFFC )

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A tricky statistical phenomenon at play.<![CDATA[

Vaccines are the best way to stop deaths and serious cases related to covid19, this is an irrefutable fact. However, recent ONS data seems to show that vaccinated people had a higher all cause death rate than unvaccinated people. Why is this data misleading? Here’s a clue: it’s to do with a quirky statistical phenomenon called Simpsons Paradox.

(Image: The Simpsons / TCFFC )

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Sun, 28 Nov 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0b6j20nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b6j20ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b6j20n
A TikTok tale<![CDATA[

Nowadays if you are an academic and who needs some participants for a study you go online, but over the summer academic studies were inundated with participants who all happened to be teenage girls ... we explore how one TikTok can tip the balance of data gathering.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Chris Flynn

(Image: TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone screen/Getty/NurPhoto/contributor)

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How a well-meaning TikTok disrupted 4,600 studies<![CDATA[

Nowadays if you are an academic and who needs some participants for a study you go online, but over the summer academic studies were inundated with participants who all happened to be teenage girls ... we explore how one TikTok can tip the balance of data gathering.

Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Chris Flynn

(Image: TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone screen/Getty/NurPhoto/contributor)

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Sun, 21 Nov 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0b55wc2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b55wc2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b55wc2
The carbon cost of breakfast at COP26<![CDATA[

A French minister told people to eat fewer croissants at this year’s COP26 summit, after the menu said the carbon cost of the pastry was higher than that of a bacon roll, even if it was made without butter. Tim Harford investigates whether this claim could be true, and how the effect of food on climate change can be measured.

(Image: Continental breakfast with coffee and croissants: Getty/Cris Cantón)

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Can a vegan croissant really be worse for the environment than a bacon roll?<![CDATA[

A French minister told people to eat fewer croissants at this year’s COP26 summit, after the menu said the carbon cost of the pastry was higher than that of a bacon roll, even if it was made without butter. Tim Harford investigates whether this claim could be true, and how the effect of food on climate change can be measured.

(Image: Continental breakfast with coffee and croissants: Getty/Cris Cantón)

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Sun, 14 Nov 2021 15:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p0b3yd9yhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b3yd9ycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b3yd9y
Same data, opposite results. Can we trust research?<![CDATA[

When Professor Martin Schweinsberg found that he was consistently reaching different conclusions to his peers, even with the same data, he wondered if he was incompetent. So he set up an experiment. What he found out emphasises the importance of the analyst, but calls into question the level of trust we can put into research.

Features an excerpt from TED Talks

(Image: Getty/erhui1979)

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Why the same data can produce different conclusions.<![CDATA[

When Professor Martin Schweinsberg found that he was consistently reaching different conclusions to his peers, even with the same data, he wondered if he was incompetent. So he set up an experiment. What he found out emphasises the importance of the analyst, but calls into question the level of trust we can put into research.

Features an excerpt from TED Talks

(Image: Getty/erhui1979)

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Sun, 07 Nov 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0b2hfhhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b2hfhhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b2hfhh
The art of counting<![CDATA[

Who is counting, why are they counting, and what are they are counting? These three questions are important to ask when trying to understand numbers, according to Deborah Stone, author of Counting, How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters. In this episode, she explains how different ways of totting up can have real-world consequences.

(Image: Betta Blue Red Veiltail/Getty Images/zygotehasnobrain)

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Tim Harford talks to author Deborah Stone about her book which explores counting.<![CDATA[

Who is counting, why are they counting, and what are they are counting? These three questions are important to ask when trying to understand numbers, according to Deborah Stone, author of Counting, How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters. In this episode, she explains how different ways of totting up can have real-world consequences.

(Image: Betta Blue Red Veiltail/Getty Images/zygotehasnobrain)

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Sun, 31 Oct 2021 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0b14prkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0b14prkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0b14prk
The numbers behind Squid Game<![CDATA[

Netflix has announced that South Korean survival drama Squid Game is its most popular series ever. We scrutinise the statistics behind the claim, and look at the odds of surviving one of the show’s deadly contests.

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Could you survive a round in Squid Game, and how many have watched it?<![CDATA[

Netflix has announced that South Korean survival drama Squid Game is its most popular series ever. We scrutinise the statistics behind the claim, and look at the odds of surviving one of the show’s deadly contests.

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Sun, 24 Oct 2021 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09zsls9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09zsls9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09zsls9
The prize-winning economics of migration and the minimum wage<![CDATA[

Do immigrants drive down wages, do minimum wage increases reduce job opportunities, and do people who did well in school earn more money?These are questions that the winners of the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics looked to the world around them for answers to.David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens developed ways of interpreting what they saw that changed the way economists think about what they see.In this episode of More or Less, presenter-turned-guest Tim Harford explains how.

(Image: Mariel boat lift, which brought over 100,000 Cubans into the United States: Photo by Tim Chapman/Miami Herald)

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A look at the work of this year’s winners of the most prestigious prize in economics.<![CDATA[

Do immigrants drive down wages, do minimum wage increases reduce job opportunities, and do people who did well in school earn more money?These are questions that the winners of the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics looked to the world around them for answers to.David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens developed ways of interpreting what they saw that changed the way economists think about what they see.In this episode of More or Less, presenter-turned-guest Tim Harford explains how.

(Image: Mariel boat lift, which brought over 100,000 Cubans into the United States: Photo by Tim Chapman/Miami Herald)

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Sun, 17 Oct 2021 13:50:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09ytg3shttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09ytg3scleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09ytg3s
Bonus episode: the first ever More or Less<![CDATA[

A chat with More or Less's founding producer and presenter plus the first episode in full. Tim talks to Michael Blastland and Sir Andrew Dilnot about how More or Less came into being (after several rejections), whether politicians and journalists are more numerate now, and where the name come from. Then, the very first episode of More or Less, originally broadcast on Radio 4 on 13 November 2001.

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A chat with More or Less's founding producer and presenter plus the first episode in full<![CDATA[

A chat with More or Less's founding producer and presenter plus the first episode in full. Tim talks to Michael Blastland and Sir Andrew Dilnot about how More or Less came into being (after several rejections), whether politicians and journalists are more numerate now, and where the name come from. Then, the very first episode of More or Less, originally broadcast on Radio 4 on 13 November 2001.

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Thu, 07 Oct 2021 17:00:00 +00002187urn:bbc:podcast:p09xwwtrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09xwwtrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09xwwtr
Twenty years of More or Less<![CDATA[

A look back at our origins, plus the usual mix of numerical nous and statistical savvy.

It’s two decades since More or Less first beamed arithmetic into the unsuspecting ears of Radio 4 listeners. We revisit the show’s genesis with the original presenter and producer.

Why are there two different figures about our vaccination rate doing the rounds and how does the UK now compare internationally?

Plus listener questions on how the colour of your front door affects your house price, TVs on standby mode, and more. And we try to respond to a meteor storm of complaints about our earlier item asserting that Star Trek’s Mr Spock is in fact highly illogical.

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A look back at our origins, plus the usual mix of numerical nous and statistical savvy.<![CDATA[

A look back at our origins, plus the usual mix of numerical nous and statistical savvy.

It’s two decades since More or Less first beamed arithmetic into the unsuspecting ears of Radio 4 listeners. We revisit the show’s genesis with the original presenter and producer.

Why are there two different figures about our vaccination rate doing the rounds and how does the UK now compare internationally?

Plus listener questions on how the colour of your front door affects your house price, TVs on standby mode, and more. And we try to respond to a meteor storm of complaints about our earlier item asserting that Star Trek’s Mr Spock is in fact highly illogical.

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Wed, 06 Oct 2021 08:25:00 +00001670urn:bbc:podcast:p09xthjwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09xthjwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09xthjw
The Gender Pay Gap<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Planet Money’s Stacey Vanek Smith about the gender pay gap in the US and the UK – and how Renaissance writer, Machiavelli might be an unlikely source of inspiration for women in the workplace.

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Can Machiavelli help women get a better deal in the workplace?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Planet Money’s Stacey Vanek Smith about the gender pay gap in the US and the UK – and how Renaissance writer, Machiavelli might be an unlikely source of inspiration for women in the workplace.

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Sun, 03 Oct 2021 13:55:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09xjm8mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09xjm8mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09xjm8m
Is it easy being green?<![CDATA[

Is our electricity extra expensive and our insulation inadequate? And a tale of tumbling trees.

Internet infographics suggest we’re paying way more for our energy than countries in the EU. Are they being interpreted correctly? And what part, if any, has Brexit had to play?

Insulation Britain activists have been gluing themselves to motorway slip-roads to raise awareness about poor home insulation. Their website says we have the least energy efficient homes in Europe. What’s the evidence?

Plus, what do the numbers tell us about migrants trying to cross the Channel in small boats? Are stereotypes about different generations backed up by the data? And is it or is it not true that the UK has lots of trees?

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Expensive electricity, inadequate insulation, and a tale of tumbling trees.<![CDATA[

Is our electricity extra expensive and our insulation inadequate? And a tale of tumbling trees.

Internet infographics suggest we’re paying way more for our energy than countries in the EU. Are they being interpreted correctly? And what part, if any, has Brexit had to play?

Insulation Britain activists have been gluing themselves to motorway slip-roads to raise awareness about poor home insulation. Their website says we have the least energy efficient homes in Europe. What’s the evidence?

Plus, what do the numbers tell us about migrants trying to cross the Channel in small boats? Are stereotypes about different generations backed up by the data? And is it or is it not true that the UK has lots of trees?

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Wed, 29 Sep 2021 08:25:00 +00001743urn:bbc:podcast:p09x66sthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09x66stcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09x66st
Covid trends, face mask use, and the universal credit cut<![CDATA[

A coronavirus check-in, our daily mask use measured, and a minister's claim on the universal credit cut questioned.

There was a time when the latest Covid statistics were headline news daily, but as the pandemic has stretched on into its second year and third wave people don't pay as much attention. But on More or Less we still keep an eye on them because that’s how we roll.

A recent article estimated that 129 billion single-use face masks are used every day around the world. It sounds wrong, but how wrong is it? And how did it get so wrong?

Making up the shortfall from the £20 weekly cut in the universal credit benefit means working an extra two hours a week - or an extra nine, depending on who you listen to. We run the numbers.

Plus, has the number of periods women have in a lifetime increased fourfold? And how many holes does a drinking straw have?

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A coronavirus check-in, our daily mask use measured, and the universal credit cut.<![CDATA[

A coronavirus check-in, our daily mask use measured, and a minister's claim on the universal credit cut questioned.

There was a time when the latest Covid statistics were headline news daily, but as the pandemic has stretched on into its second year and third wave people don't pay as much attention. But on More or Less we still keep an eye on them because that’s how we roll.

A recent article estimated that 129 billion single-use face masks are used every day around the world. It sounds wrong, but how wrong is it? And how did it get so wrong?

Making up the shortfall from the £20 weekly cut in the universal credit benefit means working an extra two hours a week - or an extra nine, depending on who you listen to. We run the numbers.

Plus, has the number of periods women have in a lifetime increased fourfold? And how many holes does a drinking straw have?

]]>
Wed, 22 Sep 2021 08:30:00 +00001653urn:bbc:podcast:p09wl3rzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09wl3rzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09wl3rz
How many holes are there in a drinking straw?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Jordan Ellenberg, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, about the pandemic, geometry and drinking straws.

(multi-coloured straws/Getty images)

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Tim Harford talks to Jordan Ellenberg about the pandemic, geometry and drinking straws.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Jordan Ellenberg, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, about the pandemic, geometry and drinking straws.

(multi-coloured straws/Getty images)

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Sun, 19 Sep 2021 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09w8sr2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09w8sr2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09w8sr2
Death, Tax and Dishwashers<![CDATA[

New data appears to show that double vaxxed people between 40 and 79 are getting Covid at higher rates than people who are unvaccinated, but that's not the case. It's all down to how Public Health England estimates the size of different populations.

The Office for National Statistics described 2020 as "the deadliest year in a century". Now that we're more than two-thirds into 2021, we examine how this year is shaping up. We answer your questions on the new health and social care levy, and have words of congratulations and caution following Emma Raducanu's astonishing win in the US Open. Plus, where do you stand on in the dishwasher vs kitchen sink debate?

GUESTS: Mathematician James WardAdele Groyer of the Covid-19 Actuaries Response GroupHelen Miller of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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Why is estimating the number of unvaccinated people so tricky? And how deadly is 2021?<![CDATA[

New data appears to show that double vaxxed people between 40 and 79 are getting Covid at higher rates than people who are unvaccinated, but that's not the case. It's all down to how Public Health England estimates the size of different populations.

The Office for National Statistics described 2020 as "the deadliest year in a century". Now that we're more than two-thirds into 2021, we examine how this year is shaping up. We answer your questions on the new health and social care levy, and have words of congratulations and caution following Emma Raducanu's astonishing win in the US Open. Plus, where do you stand on in the dishwasher vs kitchen sink debate?

GUESTS: Mathematician James WardAdele Groyer of the Covid-19 Actuaries Response GroupHelen Miller of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

]]>
Wed, 15 Sep 2021 08:25:00 +00001661urn:bbc:podcast:p09vyy6hhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09vyy6hcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09vyy6h
Vaccine waning, hot dogs and Afghanistan<![CDATA[

Should we be worried that the protection against Covid-19 provided by the vaccines is going down? Could it really be the case that eating a hot dog takes 36 minutes from your life? The Bank of England holds 35% of Government debt. Who owns the other 65%? Has the UK spent more on Test and Trace than on its operations in Afghanistan?

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How worried should we be about antibodies? Plus food that shortens life.<![CDATA[

Should we be worried that the protection against Covid-19 provided by the vaccines is going down? Could it really be the case that eating a hot dog takes 36 minutes from your life? The Bank of England holds 35% of Government debt. Who owns the other 65%? Has the UK spent more on Test and Trace than on its operations in Afghanistan?

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Wed, 08 Sep 2021 08:25:00 +00001676urn:bbc:podcast:p09v9z48http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09v9z48cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09v9z48
The Bill for Afghanistan<![CDATA[

American President Joe Biden has said the war in Afghanistan cost more than $2 trillion. Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic International Studies helps us unpick what’s included in this figure.

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Did the war in Afghanistan cost the US $2 trillion?<![CDATA[

American President Joe Biden has said the war in Afghanistan cost more than $2 trillion. Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Centre for Strategic International Studies helps us unpick what’s included in this figure.

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Sat, 04 Sep 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09v01z0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09v01z0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09v01z0
Covid, HGV driver shortages and protest costs<![CDATA[

English Covid restrictions were lifted in July. Back then, some predicted that there could be as many as 6,000 hospital admissions a day by the following month. So, what happened?

The Metropolitan Police says it’s spent £50 million on policing Extinction Rebellion since 2019. They’re on the streets again – can it really be that costly?

The economics correspondent at The Economist Duncan Weldon puts government borrowing during the pandemic into context and talk about his new book, 200 Years of Muddling Through.

Are we running out of lorry drivers? And to what extent is Brexit to blame? We look at the numbers behind a claim that there is a shortfall of 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK.

Plus, disturbing evidence that Star Trek’s Mr Spock may actually be terrible at logic.

]]>
Has Brexit caused a fall in lorry drivers? Plus policing Extinction Rebellion<![CDATA[

English Covid restrictions were lifted in July. Back then, some predicted that there could be as many as 6,000 hospital admissions a day by the following month. So, what happened?

The Metropolitan Police says it’s spent £50 million on policing Extinction Rebellion since 2019. They’re on the streets again – can it really be that costly?

The economics correspondent at The Economist Duncan Weldon puts government borrowing during the pandemic into context and talk about his new book, 200 Years of Muddling Through.

Are we running out of lorry drivers? And to what extent is Brexit to blame? We look at the numbers behind a claim that there is a shortfall of 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK.

Plus, disturbing evidence that Star Trek’s Mr Spock may actually be terrible at logic.

]]>
Wed, 01 Sep 2021 08:30:00 +00001731urn:bbc:podcast:p09tpk7chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09tpk7ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09tpk7c
Reason, numbers and Mr Spock<![CDATA[

Writer Julia Galef talks to Tim Harford about the role of numbers in helping us think more rationally, and what Star Trek’s Mr Spock can teach us about making predictions. Julia is author of The Scout Mindset, a book about how our attempts to be rational are often clouded or derailed by our human impulses, and the ways we can avoid these traps.

Producer: Nathan Gower

(Image: Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock. Credit: Bettmann/Contributor via Getty Images)

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What role do numbers play in helping us think more rationally?<![CDATA[

Writer Julia Galef talks to Tim Harford about the role of numbers in helping us think more rationally, and what Star Trek’s Mr Spock can teach us about making predictions. Julia is author of The Scout Mindset, a book about how our attempts to be rational are often clouded or derailed by our human impulses, and the ways we can avoid these traps.

Producer: Nathan Gower

(Image: Leonard Nimoy as Mr Spock. Credit: Bettmann/Contributor via Getty Images)

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Sat, 28 Aug 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09tcx2dhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09tcx2dcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09tcx2d
The extraordinary life of Robert Moses<![CDATA[

Dr Robert Moses, a pioneer in African-American civil rights and mathematics education has died at the age of 86. Charmaine Cozier looks at an extraordinary life, from the courthouses of 1960s Mississippi to the classrooms of modern public schools, and traces the philosophy and values that threaded their way through his life.

Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Nathan Gower

Portrait of American Civil Rights activist Robert Parris Moses, New York, 1964. (Photo by Robert Elfstrom/Villon Films/Gety Images)

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The life of mathematics educator and civil rights organiser, Dr Robert Moses<![CDATA[

Dr Robert Moses, a pioneer in African-American civil rights and mathematics education has died at the age of 86. Charmaine Cozier looks at an extraordinary life, from the courthouses of 1960s Mississippi to the classrooms of modern public schools, and traces the philosophy and values that threaded their way through his life.

Presenter: Charmaine Cozier Producer: Nathan Gower

Portrait of American Civil Rights activist Robert Parris Moses, New York, 1964. (Photo by Robert Elfstrom/Villon Films/Gety Images)

]]>
Sat, 21 Aug 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09srn2lhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09srn2lcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09srn2l
How good were the performances at the Tokyo Olympics?<![CDATA[

A year later than planned, The Tokyo Olympics, have now finished. Thousands of athletes have competed in events that few thought might go ahead and there’s been record success.

This week we take a look at Olympic numbers – how many records were broken in Tokyo, what factors might have influenced the races and what else can the data tell us?

Tim Harford speaks to Dr Joel Mason, who runs the blog, Trackademic.

Producer: Olivia Noon

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What can the data tell us about the quality of the Covid hit games?<![CDATA[

A year later than planned, The Tokyo Olympics, have now finished. Thousands of athletes have competed in events that few thought might go ahead and there’s been record success.

This week we take a look at Olympic numbers – how many records were broken in Tokyo, what factors might have influenced the races and what else can the data tell us?

Tim Harford speaks to Dr Joel Mason, who runs the blog, Trackademic.

Producer: Olivia Noon

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Mon, 16 Aug 2021 09:24:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p09sbtzzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09sbtzzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09sbtzz
Jab fears explained: a base rate fallacy<![CDATA[

As some countries rapidly roll out vaccination programmes, there have been concerns that increases in infection rates amongst vaccinated groups mean vaccines are less effective than we hoped, especially in the face of the feared Delta variant.

Epidemiologist Dr Katelyn Jetelina from the University of Texas Health Science Centre School of Public Health explains why this isn’t what the numbers show – rather than decreasing vaccine effectiveness, increasing rates can be explained by a statistical phenomenon known as ‘base rate fallacy’.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald

Producer: Nathan Gower

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Why increasing Covid infections amongst the vaccinated isn’t necessarily bad news<![CDATA[

As some countries rapidly roll out vaccination programmes, there have been concerns that increases in infection rates amongst vaccinated groups mean vaccines are less effective than we hoped, especially in the face of the feared Delta variant.

Epidemiologist Dr Katelyn Jetelina from the University of Texas Health Science Centre School of Public Health explains why this isn’t what the numbers show – rather than decreasing vaccine effectiveness, increasing rates can be explained by a statistical phenomenon known as ‘base rate fallacy’.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald

Producer: Nathan Gower

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Sat, 07 Aug 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09rkn2zhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09rkn2zcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09rkn2z
Breaking Climate Records<![CDATA[

June saw a brutal heatwave shatter a number of all-time temperature records in Canada and the Northwest of the USA. But when can we attribute new records to man-made climate change, rather than natural variation? Peter Stott, an expert in climate attribution at the UK’s Met Office, explains how climate change has dramatically increased the probability of seeing such extremes.

Presenter: Tim Harford

Producer: Nathan Gower

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The odds and probability behind record-breaking temperatures<![CDATA[

June saw a brutal heatwave shatter a number of all-time temperature records in Canada and the Northwest of the USA. But when can we attribute new records to man-made climate change, rather than natural variation? Peter Stott, an expert in climate attribution at the UK’s Met Office, explains how climate change has dramatically increased the probability of seeing such extremes.

Presenter: Tim Harford

Producer: Nathan Gower

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Sat, 31 Jul 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09qvxd4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09qvxd4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09qvxd4
The Rise of Delta<![CDATA[

The Delta Variant was first identified in India, fuelling a huge wave of cases and deaths. It is now spreading around the world, becoming the most dominant variant in many countries. This week we take a look at the numbers - where’s it spreading, how is this different to previous waves and what can be done to stop it?

Tim Harford speaks to Professor Azra Ghani, Chair in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London and John Burn-Murdoch, the chief data reporter at The Financial Times.

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Where’s this new Variant spreading and what can be done to stop it?<![CDATA[

The Delta Variant was first identified in India, fuelling a huge wave of cases and deaths. It is now spreading around the world, becoming the most dominant variant in many countries. This week we take a look at the numbers - where’s it spreading, how is this different to previous waves and what can be done to stop it?

Tim Harford speaks to Professor Azra Ghani, Chair in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College, London and John Burn-Murdoch, the chief data reporter at The Financial Times.

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Sat, 24 Jul 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09q88tlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09q88tlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09q88tl
The Freedom Day Gamble<![CDATA[

On the day the Government plans to drop the remaining Covid restirictions, Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to work out how long cases will continue to rise and whether we can be sure the link with deaths and hospitalisations has been broken. Is this “freedom day" or an unnecessary gamble with people’s lives?

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Tim Harford and the team try to work out how long Covid cases will continue to rise.<![CDATA[

On the day the Government plans to drop the remaining Covid restirictions, Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to work out how long cases will continue to rise and whether we can be sure the link with deaths and hospitalisations has been broken. Is this “freedom day" or an unnecessary gamble with people’s lives?

]]>
Mon, 19 Jul 2021 11:00:00 +00001724urn:bbc:podcast:p09pnw4qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09pnw4qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09pnw4q
Are there 40 million Nigerians on Twitter?<![CDATA[

In recent months, Twitter has rarely been out of the headlines in Nigeria. After it deleted a tweet by the country’s president, the Nigerian government responded by banning it altogether. In the media coverage of the story it has been commonly claimed that Nigeria has 40 million Twitter users – but could this really be true? We spoke to Allwell Okpi of the fact-checking organisation AfricaCheck.

Also, which places have the best full vaccination rates in the world? Turns out, its some of the smallest. We run through the top five.

Producer: Nathan Gower

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Recent reports have claimed that Nigeria has 40 million Twitter users – but is this true?<![CDATA[

In recent months, Twitter has rarely been out of the headlines in Nigeria. After it deleted a tweet by the country’s president, the Nigerian government responded by banning it altogether. In the media coverage of the story it has been commonly claimed that Nigeria has 40 million Twitter users – but could this really be true? We spoke to Allwell Okpi of the fact-checking organisation AfricaCheck.

Also, which places have the best full vaccination rates in the world? Turns out, its some of the smallest. We run through the top five.

Producer: Nathan Gower

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Sat, 10 Jul 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09nxx4whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09nxx4wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09nxx4w
Is Ivermectin a Covid ‘wonder drug’?<![CDATA[

To some on the internet, the cheap anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin is a potential wonder drug that could dramatically change the global fight against Covid-19. It has passionate proponents, from a small group of scientists to the more conspiratorially-minded. But with a scattered evidence base of varying quality, what - if anything - do we know for sure about Ivermectin? And is uncovering the truth a more complex process than some appreciate?

With Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz from the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Producer: Nathan Gower

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What do we know about the efficacy of Ivermectin as a treatment for Covid-19?<![CDATA[

To some on the internet, the cheap anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin is a potential wonder drug that could dramatically change the global fight against Covid-19. It has passionate proponents, from a small group of scientists to the more conspiratorially-minded. But with a scattered evidence base of varying quality, what - if anything - do we know for sure about Ivermectin? And is uncovering the truth a more complex process than some appreciate?

With Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz from the University of Wollongong, Australia.

Producer: Nathan Gower

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Sat, 03 Jul 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09n6yrdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09n6yrdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09n6yrd
Scotland cases, flood risk and taxing the poor<![CDATA[

The UK’s Covid cases are still rising and Scotland is being hit particularly hard - so are we speeding up our vaccination programme in response?

Will many of the UK’s coastal towns, not to mention central London, be underwater in the next few years?

Do the country’s poorest households really pay more than half their income in tax?

What are the top five places with the best vaccination rates in the world? The answers may surprise you.

We speak to Tom Chivers, a science journalist who has written a book called “How to Read numbers” with his cousin the economist David Chivers.

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Covid 19 cases are on the rise in Scotland, plus will your town be under water by 2030?<![CDATA[

The UK’s Covid cases are still rising and Scotland is being hit particularly hard - so are we speeding up our vaccination programme in response?

Will many of the UK’s coastal towns, not to mention central London, be underwater in the next few years?

Do the country’s poorest households really pay more than half their income in tax?

What are the top five places with the best vaccination rates in the world? The answers may surprise you.

We speak to Tom Chivers, a science journalist who has written a book called “How to Read numbers” with his cousin the economist David Chivers.

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Wed, 30 Jun 2021 08:30:00 +00001722urn:bbc:podcast:p09mx1lwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09mx1lwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09mx1lw
Maths and the Mayflower<![CDATA[

This year sees the delayed 400th anniversary celebrations of the Mayflower voyage, an event seen as a crucial moment in the history of the United States. But how many people alive today can trace back their lineage to those first 102 passengers? Tim speaks to Rob Eastaway and Dr Misha Ewen about maths and the Mayflower.

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Are there really 35 million descendants of the Mayflower alive today?<![CDATA[

This year sees the delayed 400th anniversary celebrations of the Mayflower voyage, an event seen as a crucial moment in the history of the United States. But how many people alive today can trace back their lineage to those first 102 passengers? Tim speaks to Rob Eastaway and Dr Misha Ewen about maths and the Mayflower.

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Sat, 26 Jun 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09mkcl4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09mkcl4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09mkcl4
Delta cases, blue tit* and that one-in-two cancer claim<![CDATA[

The Delta variant is behind the big increase in the number of new Covid 19 cases in the UK since April. We take a look at what impact vaccines have had on infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

Chris Packham told viewers on the BBC’s Springwatch that blue tit* eat 35 billion caterpillars a year. We get him onto the programme to explain.

How much does Type 2 diabetes cost the NHS a year? While exploring a dubious claim we find out why its hard to work that out.

Is it true that on in two people will get cancer? We’ve looked at this statistic before but listeners keep spotting it on TV.

We also ask: if the SarsCov2 RNA is 96% similar to the RNA of a virus found in bats - is that similar, or not?

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Should we worry about the Delta variant? Plus how much do blue tit* eat?<![CDATA[

The Delta variant is behind the big increase in the number of new Covid 19 cases in the UK since April. We take a look at what impact vaccines have had on infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

Chris Packham told viewers on the BBC’s Springwatch that blue tit* eat 35 billion caterpillars a year. We get him onto the programme to explain.

How much does Type 2 diabetes cost the NHS a year? While exploring a dubious claim we find out why its hard to work that out.

Is it true that on in two people will get cancer? We’ve looked at this statistic before but listeners keep spotting it on TV.

We also ask: if the SarsCov2 RNA is 96% similar to the RNA of a virus found in bats - is that similar, or not?

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Wed, 23 Jun 2021 08:30:00 +00001741urn:bbc:podcast:p09m8lxvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09m8lxvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09m8lxv
The origins of Covid<![CDATA[

To find out where a virus comes from, researchers compare it to other viruses to try to trace its origin. This leads to claims like SARS-CoV-2 is 91 or even 96% similar to other known viruses. But what does that really mean? Tim Harford talks to the virus ecologist Marilyn J Roossinck.

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How similar are the Covid strains?<![CDATA[

To find out where a virus comes from, researchers compare it to other viruses to try to trace its origin. This leads to claims like SARS-CoV-2 is 91 or even 96% similar to other known viruses. But what does that really mean? Tim Harford talks to the virus ecologist Marilyn J Roossinck.

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Sat, 19 Jun 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09lxjcchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09lxjcccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09lxjcc
Covid deaths, outdoor swimming and care homes<![CDATA[

The official number of deaths attributed to Covid 19 around the world in the whole of 2020 is 1.88 million. The global toll this year surpassed this figure on 11th of June. We look at how things are worse worldwide, despite vaccines and lock downs.

Does the UK have the worst bathing sites in Europe? That’s certainly a claim made by a number of newspapers. We show why this is not the case.

Health Secretary Matt Hanco*ck has been in the news again with comments regarding care homes during the pandemic. Just how good was the government’s ‘ring of protection’ around care homes during the first wave - and the second? We speak to Steven Johnson about his book ‘Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer.’

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The global death toll has reached a grim milestone. Plus the UK’s low ranking waters.<![CDATA[

The official number of deaths attributed to Covid 19 around the world in the whole of 2020 is 1.88 million. The global toll this year surpassed this figure on 11th of June. We look at how things are worse worldwide, despite vaccines and lock downs.

Does the UK have the worst bathing sites in Europe? That’s certainly a claim made by a number of newspapers. We show why this is not the case.

Health Secretary Matt Hanco*ck has been in the news again with comments regarding care homes during the pandemic. Just how good was the government’s ‘ring of protection’ around care homes during the first wave - and the second? We speak to Steven Johnson about his book ‘Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer.’

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Wed, 16 Jun 2021 08:30:00 +00001736urn:bbc:podcast:p09lkz5phttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09lkz5pcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09lkz5p
The doubling of life-expectancy<![CDATA[

Steven Johnson, author of Extra Life, tells the fascinating history of life expectancy, and the extraordinary achievements of the last century, in which it has practically doubled.

It’s a story that has data at its heart, from the ground-breaking invention of the category itself in 17th century London to the pioneering social health surveys of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1890s Philadelphia.

Tim Harford spoke to Steven about the numbers beneath possibly the most important number of all.

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The story of how data helped extend our lives<![CDATA[

Steven Johnson, author of Extra Life, tells the fascinating history of life expectancy, and the extraordinary achievements of the last century, in which it has practically doubled.

It’s a story that has data at its heart, from the ground-breaking invention of the category itself in 17th century London to the pioneering social health surveys of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1890s Philadelphia.

Tim Harford spoke to Steven about the numbers beneath possibly the most important number of all.

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Sat, 12 Jun 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09l7ld7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09l7ld7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09l7ld7
Third wave fears, smart motorways and bra sizes<![CDATA[

Covid cases are rising again in the UK – should we be worried about a third wave? Tim Harford speaks to David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of Risk at the University of Cambridge.

How safe are smart motorways? Many listeners have concerns that they seem more dangerous than conventional motorways. We take a look at the numbers.

What proportion of adults in England have been vaccinated? Listeners have spotted a potential discrepancy in the public data online.

Are 80% of women wearing the wrong size bra? This frequently repeated statistic has been around for decades – could it possibly be true?

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Should we worry about Covid cases rising? Plus are smart motorways safe?<![CDATA[

Covid cases are rising again in the UK – should we be worried about a third wave? Tim Harford speaks to David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of Risk at the University of Cambridge.

How safe are smart motorways? Many listeners have concerns that they seem more dangerous than conventional motorways. We take a look at the numbers.

What proportion of adults in England have been vaccinated? Listeners have spotted a potential discrepancy in the public data online.

Are 80% of women wearing the wrong size bra? This frequently repeated statistic has been around for decades – could it possibly be true?

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Wed, 09 Jun 2021 08:30:00 +00001719urn:bbc:podcast:p09kxjnchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09kxjnccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09kxjnc
Bolton vaccines, Yorkshire versus Scotland and the average gamer<![CDATA[

Health Minister Matt Hanco*ck recently told the House of Commons that: “The number of vaccinations happening in Bolton right now is phenomenal - tens of thousands every single day.” We explain why this is not the case.

The recent SNP election success has turned attention to the question of independence. We compare Scotland’s finances to the comparably sized Yorkshire and Humber region.

How do you work out 28 + 47 in your head? We speak to mathematician Katie Steckles.

A listener asked us to find out if it is true that the average age of a gamer is over 40.

Plus, we take a look at this claim from Netflix documentary Seaspiracy: “if current fishing trends continue we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048.”

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Were tens of thousands of people getting their jab in Bolton every single day?<![CDATA[

Health Minister Matt Hanco*ck recently told the House of Commons that: “The number of vaccinations happening in Bolton right now is phenomenal - tens of thousands every single day.” We explain why this is not the case.

The recent SNP election success has turned attention to the question of independence. We compare Scotland’s finances to the comparably sized Yorkshire and Humber region.

How do you work out 28 + 47 in your head? We speak to mathematician Katie Steckles.

A listener asked us to find out if it is true that the average age of a gamer is over 40.

Plus, we take a look at this claim from Netflix documentary Seaspiracy: “if current fishing trends continue we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048.”

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Wed, 02 Jun 2021 08:30:00 +00001738urn:bbc:podcast:p09k80jjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09k80jjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09k80jj
The Seaspiracy “virtually empty ocean” claim<![CDATA[

Popular Netflix documentary Seaspiracy has sparked a lot of debate recently, including some controversy over some of the claims the documentary makes and the numbers behind them. One of the most striking is that: “if current fishing trends continue we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048.” Although overfishing is a global problem, we take a look and find that this scenario is unlikely.

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Why it’s unlikely our oceans will be virtually empty by 2048.<![CDATA[

Popular Netflix documentary Seaspiracy has sparked a lot of debate recently, including some controversy over some of the claims the documentary makes and the numbers behind them. One of the most striking is that: “if current fishing trends continue we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048.” Although overfishing is a global problem, we take a look and find that this scenario is unlikely.

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Sat, 29 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09jytpxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09jytpxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09jytpx
Wales jab success, Eurovision and living with your parents<![CDATA[

Wales has given one vaccination dose against Covid 19 to a larger proportion of their population than any other country except a couple of super tiny ones. They’ve given one vaccine dose to over 80% of their adult population. We explore some reasons why they seem to be doing so well.

The UK continues to do poorly at Eurovision – we take a look back over the years to examine why the UK used to do well, and why it doesn’t any more.

Waiting lists for NHS treatment across the UK have grown – but why are things so bad in Northern Ireland?

Is it true that 42% of young people are living at home with their parents? We find out what a young person is and why they haven’t flown the nest.

]]>
How to vaccinate a country quickly, plus the UK’s singing contest woes.<![CDATA[

Wales has given one vaccination dose against Covid 19 to a larger proportion of their population than any other country except a couple of super tiny ones. They’ve given one vaccine dose to over 80% of their adult population. We explore some reasons why they seem to be doing so well.

The UK continues to do poorly at Eurovision – we take a look back over the years to examine why the UK used to do well, and why it doesn’t any more.

Waiting lists for NHS treatment across the UK have grown – but why are things so bad in Northern Ireland?

Is it true that 42% of young people are living at home with their parents? We find out what a young person is and why they haven’t flown the nest.

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Wed, 26 May 2021 08:30:00 +00001723urn:bbc:podcast:p09jlfplhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09jlfplcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09jlfpl
The medical trial that proved Trump wrong<![CDATA[

The Recovery Trial, a nation-wide clinical study in the UK, helped identify treatments for Covid 19 in the early months of the pandemic. Tim Harford speaks to Professor Martin Landray of Oxford University whose team established the randomised trial.

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The Recovery Trial identified drugs that did and did not help save lives.<![CDATA[

The Recovery Trial, a nation-wide clinical study in the UK, helped identify treatments for Covid 19 in the early months of the pandemic. Tim Harford speaks to Professor Martin Landray of Oxford University whose team established the randomised trial.

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Sat, 22 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09j8lvjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09j8lvjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09j8lvj
Explaining maths without Numbers<![CDATA[

Tim Harford interviews Milo Beckman - a young mathematician, still in his twenties, who has written a book called ‘Math without Numbers’. Milo explains why he wanted to strip out digits to make it easier to describe the beauty of mathematics.

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Tim Harford speaks to mathematician Milo Beckman about the beauty of maths.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford interviews Milo Beckman - a young mathematician, still in his twenties, who has written a book called ‘Math without Numbers’. Milo explains why he wanted to strip out digits to make it easier to describe the beauty of mathematics.

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Sat, 15 May 2021 04:59:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09hlzz3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09hlzz3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09hlzz3
Finding Mexico City’s real death toll<![CDATA[

Mexico City’s official Covid 19 death toll did not seem to reflect the full extent of the crisis that hit the country in the spring of 2020 - this is according to Laurianne Despeghel and Mario Romero. These two ordinary citizens used publicly available data to show that excess deaths during the crisis - that’s the total number of extra deaths compared to previous years - was four times higher than the confirmed Covid 19 deaths.

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How two amateur data detectives revealed the pandemic’s impact.<![CDATA[

Mexico City’s official Covid 19 death toll did not seem to reflect the full extent of the crisis that hit the country in the spring of 2020 - this is according to Laurianne Despeghel and Mario Romero. These two ordinary citizens used publicly available data to show that excess deaths during the crisis - that’s the total number of extra deaths compared to previous years - was four times higher than the confirmed Covid 19 deaths.

]]>
Sat, 08 May 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09gyy63http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09gyy63cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09gyy63
Bayes: the clergyman whose maths changed the world<![CDATA[

Bayes’ Rule has been used in AI, genetic studies, translating foreign languages and even cracking the Enigma Code in the Second World War. We find out about Thomas Bayes - the 18th century English statistician and clergyman whose work was largely forgotten until the 20th century.

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How an obscure theory came into fashion.<![CDATA[

Bayes’ Rule has been used in AI, genetic studies, translating foreign languages and even cracking the Enigma Code in the Second World War. We find out about Thomas Bayes - the 18th century English statistician and clergyman whose work was largely forgotten until the 20th century.

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Sun, 02 May 2021 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09g10xnhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09g10xncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09g10xn
Will 2021 have more Covid deaths than 2020?<![CDATA[

In 2020 there were 1.8 million reported Covid deaths. So far this year, we’ve had 1.2 million. We’re currently seeing around 12,000 deaths a day across the world. But while some areas are seeing falls in numbers, others such as India are seeing a surge.

This week Tim Harford tries to answer the question: Will there be more global deaths this year from Covid 19 compared to last year?

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We ask if this year’s global death toll will surpass 1.8 million.<![CDATA[

In 2020 there were 1.8 million reported Covid deaths. So far this year, we’ve had 1.2 million. We’re currently seeing around 12,000 deaths a day across the world. But while some areas are seeing falls in numbers, others such as India are seeing a surge.

This week Tim Harford tries to answer the question: Will there be more global deaths this year from Covid 19 compared to last year?

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Sat, 24 Apr 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09fltcqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09fltcqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09fltcq
How many swimming pools full of vaccine do we need?<![CDATA[

If we brought together all the Covid 19 vaccine needed for the whole world, how much space would it fill up? An Olympic size swimming pool? We do some back of the envelope sums.

Plus - we look at the increased risk of clots from pregnancy. Last week we looked at the increased risk of getting a clot from taking the combined contraceptive pill and compared it to risk of possible rare clots identified following the Astra Zeneca jab. How does pregnancy compare?

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Adding together the doses for everyone on the planet.<![CDATA[

If we brought together all the Covid 19 vaccine needed for the whole world, how much space would it fill up? An Olympic size swimming pool? We do some back of the envelope sums.

Plus - we look at the increased risk of clots from pregnancy. Last week we looked at the increased risk of getting a clot from taking the combined contraceptive pill and compared it to risk of possible rare clots identified following the Astra Zeneca jab. How does pregnancy compare?

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Sat, 17 Apr 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09dwvshhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09dwvshcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09dwvsh
Clot risks: The Pill versus the vaccine<![CDATA[

The Astra Zeneca Covid 19 jab remains in the headlines because some regulators have concluded that it may raise the risk of a very rare type of blood clot, albeit to a risk that is still very low. In the past few weeks a number of countries have said they will limit its use to older age groups. But people are drawing comparisons to the contraceptive pill which is well-known to increase the risk of clots and asking why this level of risk is tolerated. Is this comparison fair? Tim Harford speaks to Professor Frits Rosendaal from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and Susan Ellenberg, professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

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AstraZeneca’s clot controversy turns attention on the contraceptive pill.<![CDATA[

The Astra Zeneca Covid 19 jab remains in the headlines because some regulators have concluded that it may raise the risk of a very rare type of blood clot, albeit to a risk that is still very low. In the past few weeks a number of countries have said they will limit its use to older age groups. But people are drawing comparisons to the contraceptive pill which is well-known to increase the risk of clots and asking why this level of risk is tolerated. Is this comparison fair? Tim Harford speaks to Professor Frits Rosendaal from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and Susan Ellenberg, professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Sat, 10 Apr 2021 05:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09d7jvkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09d7jvkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09d7jvk
Too fast for Minecraft?<![CDATA[

The impressive speed records of a well-known gamer called Dream for the video game Minecraft have come under scrutiny. Many say that Dream has completed speed runs in such a fast time that it doesn’t seem possible. Are these suspicions correct? We speak to stand-up mathematician Matt Parker who has looked at the probabilities on the elements of chance in the game to see if these records seem plausible.

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Gamers raise suspicions over speed run times - are they right?<![CDATA[

The impressive speed records of a well-known gamer called Dream for the video game Minecraft have come under scrutiny. Many say that Dream has completed speed runs in such a fast time that it doesn’t seem possible. Are these suspicions correct? We speak to stand-up mathematician Matt Parker who has looked at the probabilities on the elements of chance in the game to see if these records seem plausible.

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Sun, 04 Apr 2021 14:00:00 +0000550urn:bbc:podcast:p09ch7qvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09ch7qvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09ch7qv
In praise of Covid Data<![CDATA[

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.

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How we came to expect dashboards full of statistics.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 27 Mar 2021 03:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p09byq4vhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09byq4vcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09byq4v
Deciding when to suspend a vaccine<![CDATA[

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.

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Weighing up the risk of unproven side effects with stopping Covid 19.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 20 Mar 2021 03:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09b8ng3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09b8ng3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09b8ng3
The truth about obesity and Covid 19<![CDATA[

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.

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Are countries with higher obesity rates suffering from more deaths?<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 13 Mar 2021 03:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p099k5fxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p099k5fxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p099k5fx
Sainthood and Cup draws<![CDATA[

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?

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Your chances of becoming a saint, plus football odds.<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 06 Mar 2021 03:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p098tt2yhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p098tt2ycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p098tt2y
Why are US Covid cases falling?<![CDATA[

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.

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From herd immunity to the weather, Tim Harford explores the theories.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 27 Feb 2021 03:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p098579lhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p098579lcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p098579l
Covid 19 death count: which countries are faring worst?<![CDATA[

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.

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Tim Harford finds out if we can trust international comparisons with the available data.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 20 Feb 2021 03:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p097j30nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p097j30ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p097j30n
Comparing death counts, Lock Down drinking and Long Covid<![CDATA[

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.

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Is the UK’s Covid 19 death count among the worst in the world? Plus are we drinking more?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 17 Feb 2021 09:30:00 +00001735urn:bbc:podcast:p097618mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p097618mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p097618m
How much Covid in the World?<![CDATA[

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 co*ke, the other a spoonful.

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Counting all the virus particles in every human on the planet.<![CDATA[

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 co*ke, the other a spoonful.

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Sat, 13 Feb 2021 02:30:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p096v4k2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p096v4k2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p096v4k2
Brexit exports, cladding and are 1 in 5 disabled?<![CDATA[

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?

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Are exports to the EU down since Brexit? Plus removing flammable building cladding.<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 10 Feb 2021 09:30:00 +00001716urn:bbc:podcast:p096htlshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p096htlscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p096htls
Glasgow vs Rwanda<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Chloe Hadjimatheou

(Left: Rwanda refugee - photo Reza. Right: Glasgow homeless man - photo Christopher Furlong / both Getty images)

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Could life expectancy in some parts of Glasgow be worse than in Rwanda?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Chloe Hadjimatheou

(Left: Rwanda refugee - photo Reza. Right: Glasgow homeless man - photo Christopher Furlong / both Getty images)

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Sat, 06 Feb 2021 02:30:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p09665pjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09665pjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09665pj
Teachers, Test & Trace and Butterflies<![CDATA[

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.

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Are teachers more at risk from Covid-19?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 03 Feb 2021 09:30:00 +00001716urn:bbc:podcast:p0962k5thttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0962k5tcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0962k5t
The Rapid Test Row<![CDATA[

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.

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The huge row among scientists about rapid coronavirus tests.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 30 Jan 2021 02:55:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p095jclghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p095jclgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p095jclg
Deaths at Home, Supermarket Infections and the Cobra Effect<![CDATA[

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?

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Where are people catching Covid-19?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 27 Jan 2021 09:30:00 +00001704urn:bbc:podcast:p0964g04http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0964g04cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0964g04
Deaths at home, supermarket infections and the Cobra effect<![CDATA[

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?

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Where are people catching Covid-19?<![CDATA[

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?

]]>
Wed, 27 Jan 2021 09:05:00 +00001704urn:bbc:podcast:p09565hdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09565hdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09565hd
Counting Covid’s impact on GDP<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: 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)

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Does GDP tell us whose economies have suffered most during Covid?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: 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)

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Sat, 23 Jan 2021 02:50:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p094vd4xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p094vd4xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p094vd4x
Will the vaccine bring back normal life? GDP and Fishing<![CDATA[

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.

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If we vaccinate the top four priority groups by February, how much will things change?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 20 Jan 2021 09:30:00 +00001669urn:bbc:podcast:p094h4klhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p094h4klcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p094h4kl
How effective is one dose of the vaccine?<![CDATA[

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.

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Is the first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 52% or 90% effective?<![CDATA[

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.

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Thu, 14 Jan 2021 10:51:00 +00001750urn:bbc:podcast:p093zrmbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p093zrmbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p093zrmb
Ants and Algorithms<![CDATA[

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.

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David Sumpter describes the algorithms ruling the world<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 09 Jan 2021 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p093hcr3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p093hcr3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p093hcr3
Numbers of the year: Part two<![CDATA[

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

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Tim Harford showcases statistics from 2020<![CDATA[

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

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Fri, 08 Jan 2021 12:57:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p093gc62http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p093gc62cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p093gc62
Numbers of the year: Part one<![CDATA[

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.

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Tim Harford showcases statistics from 2020<![CDATA[

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.

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Fri, 08 Jan 2021 12:43:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p093g9vkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p093g9vkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p093g9vk
The economics of a Covid Christmas<![CDATA[

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?

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What to consider when buying presents this year<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 19 Dec 2020 18:50:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p091wxhthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p091wxhtcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p091wxht
QAnon: Child runaways and trafficking numbers debunked<![CDATA[

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.

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Tackling statistics spread by conspiracy theorists.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 12 Dec 2020 18:50:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p09166w4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09166w4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p09166w4
Vaccines: how safe and who gets it?<![CDATA[

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.

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Is it too soon to approve a vaccine for use? Plus choosing who goes first.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 05 Dec 2020 19:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p090hlp7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p090hlp7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p090hlp7
Tracking Covid 19<![CDATA[

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.

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Which countries are doing well at keeping track of the virus? And which are not?<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 28 Nov 2020 19:00:00 +0000598urn:bbc:podcast:p08zt262http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08zt262cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08zt262
Inviting Covid for Dinner<![CDATA[

If you go to a gathering of 25 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 HarfordProducer: Charlotte McDonald

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If you go to a gathering of 25 people, what are the chances one of you has coronavirus?<![CDATA[

If you go to a gathering of 25 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 HarfordProducer: Charlotte McDonald

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Sat, 21 Nov 2020 18:50:00 +0000556urn:bbc:podcast:p08z3srqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08z3srqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08z3srq
Vaccine numbers<![CDATA[

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

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How much protection will a new Covid 19 vaccine give?<![CDATA[

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

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Sat, 14 Nov 2020 16:50:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p08ydyvxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08ydyvxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08ydyvx
How deadly is Covid 19?<![CDATA[

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.

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Why there isn’t one single death rate.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 07 Nov 2020 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08xmw3chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08xmw3ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08xmw3c
Asymptomatic Covid19 Cases<![CDATA[

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?

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How many Covid19 cases are truly asymptomatic?<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 31 Oct 2020 16:50:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08wy93chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08wy93ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08wy93c
US election: facts or fiction<![CDATA[

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.

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Tim Harford hears about the sheer volume of false claims made in the campaign.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 24 Oct 2020 15:50:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08wqd9bhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08wqd9bcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08wqd9b
Auction Theory - Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson<![CDATA[

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.

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This year’s Nobel memorial prize winners for economics and their work on auction theory.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 17 Oct 2020 18:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08vhzklhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08vhzklcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08vhzkl
A short history of probability<![CDATA[

Tim Harford speaks to Jacob Goldstein about the unholy marriage of mathematicians, gamblers, and actuaries at the dawn of modern finance.

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Gamblers, millionaires and annuities<![CDATA[

Tim Harford speaks to Jacob Goldstein about the unholy marriage of mathematicians, gamblers, and actuaries at the dawn of modern finance.

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Sat, 10 Oct 2020 18:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p08tw9plhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08tw9plcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08tw9pl
Spreadsheet snafu, ‘Long Covid’ quantified, and the birth of probability<![CDATA[

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.

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Missing coronavirus case data, long-term symptoms, and a big mathematical moment.<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 07 Oct 2020 08:30:00 +00001285urn:bbc:podcast:p08tjykxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08tjykxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08tjykx
“Record” Covid cases, Trump on the death count, and ant pheromones<![CDATA[

Case counts in perspective, a suspect stat from the US, and life lessons from insects.

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Case counts in perspective, a suspect stat from the US, and life lessons from insects.<![CDATA[

Case counts in perspective, a suspect stat from the US, and life lessons from insects.

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Wed, 30 Sep 2020 08:30:00 +00001711urn:bbc:podcast:p08swk4ghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08swk4gcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08swk4g
Covid curve queried, false positives, and the Queen’s head<![CDATA[

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?

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How fast are coronavirus cases doubling? Plus testing confusion and a royal face-off.<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 23 Sep 2020 08:30:00 +00001744urn:bbc:podcast:p08s7b5dhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08s7b5dcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08s7b5d
The magical maths of pool testing<![CDATA[

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.

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Could pool testing hold the key to ramping up Covid-19 testing?<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 19 Sep 2020 18:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08rwy4nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08rwy4ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08rwy4n
Covid testing capacity, refugee numbers, and mascara<![CDATA[

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.

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Confusing claims on lab capacity, the UK’s record on asylum, and the volume of eyelashes.<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 16 Sep 2020 08:30:00 +00001689urn:bbc:podcast:p08rlmn8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08rlmn8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08rlmn8
Covid cases rising, a guide to life’s risks, and racing jelly-fish<![CDATA[

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.

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How worrying is the UK’s jump in cases? Plus balancing risks and the speed of jelly-fish.<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2020 08:30:00 +00001685urn:bbc:podcast:p08qwygdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08qwygdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08qwygd
Schools and coronavirus, test and trace, maths and reality<![CDATA[

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.

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Evidence on Covid-19 risks in schools, data on contact tracing, and a philosophical query.<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 02 Sep 2020 08:30:00 +00001677urn:bbc:podcast:p08q807bhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08q807bcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08q807b
Covid plasma therapy<![CDATA[

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?

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Claims about a Covid-19 treatment, breast cancer screening, and 18th century sex workers.<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 26 Aug 2020 08:30:00 +00001657urn:bbc:podcast:p08pm9nthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08pm9ntcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08pm9nt
A-level algorithms, poker and buses<![CDATA[

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?

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We unpick the A-level algoshambles and discover what poker teaches us about statistics.<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 19 Aug 2020 08:30:00 +00001688urn:bbc:podcast:p08nznp9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08nznp9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08nznp9
Belarus’ contested election<![CDATA[

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.

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Tim Harford looks at the numbers behind the widely questioned election result<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 15 Aug 2020 22:59:00 +0000548urn:bbc:podcast:p08nnvbphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08nnvbpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08nnvbp
Hawaiian Pizza, obesity and a second wave?<![CDATA[

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.

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Covid-19 cases are rising in the UK - is it a sign of a second wave of the virus?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 12 Aug 2020 08:30:00 +00001677urn:bbc:podcast:p08ncr88http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08ncr88cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08ncr88
Melting Antarctic ice<![CDATA[

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)

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If all the ice in Antarctica melted, would global sea levels rise by 70 metres?<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 08 Aug 2020 22:59:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08n0mqbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08n0mqbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08n0mqb
Covid in Africa<![CDATA[

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

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Do we have enough data to know what’s happening on the continent?<![CDATA[

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

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Sat, 01 Aug 2020 22:59:00 +0000607urn:bbc:podcast:p08mdyt5http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08mdyt5cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08mdyt5
Data in the time of cholera<![CDATA[

Tim Harford speaks to Steven Johnson about William Farr and the birth of epidemiology in the 1800s.

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A journey back to the birth of epidemiology<![CDATA[

Tim Harford speaks to Steven Johnson about William Farr and the birth of epidemiology in the 1800s.

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Sat, 25 Jul 2020 22:59:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08lrjw2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08lrjw2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08lrjw2
Covid misconceptions and US deaths<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to statistician Ola Rosling about his research into misconceptions about Covid-19. And an update on the epidemic in the US.

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How many of us believe the myths about coronavirus?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to statistician Ola Rosling about his research into misconceptions about Covid-19. And an update on the epidemic in the US.

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Sat, 18 Jul 2020 22:59:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08l47d6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08l47d6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08l47d6
Sweden’s lockdown lite<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Jo Casserly

Picture: A woman wearing a face mask stands at a Stockholm bus stop where a sign reminds passengers to maintain a minimum social distance. Sweden 25 June 2020. Credit: EPA/ Stina Stjernkvist

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Sweden stayed open during the pandemic – how well did it work?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Jo Casserly

Picture: A woman wearing a face mask stands at a Stockholm bus stop where a sign reminds passengers to maintain a minimum social distance. Sweden 25 June 2020. Credit: EPA/ Stina Stjernkvist

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Sat, 11 Jul 2020 22:59:00 +0000881urn:bbc:podcast:p08kdnbphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08kdnbpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08kdnbp
Why Trump is wrong about the USA’s coronavirus case comeback<![CDATA[

Are cases really rising in the US or are they just testing more? Tim digs into the data.

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Are cases really rising in the US or are they just testing more? Tim digs into the data.<![CDATA[

Are cases really rising in the US or are they just testing more? Tim digs into the data.

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Sat, 04 Jul 2020 22:59:00 +0000548urn:bbc:podcast:p08jsp8fhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08jsp8fcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08jsp8f
Why did the UK have such a bad Covid-19 epidemic?<![CDATA[

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?

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Was it bad decision-making, bad advice, or bad luck?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 01 Jul 2020 08:30:00 +00001704urn:bbc:podcast:p08jh9j7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08jh9j7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08jh9j7
A new Covid-19 drug and a second wave<![CDATA[

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?

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Tim Harford looks into why protests haven’t led to a spike in Covid-19 cases<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 27 Jun 2020 18:00:00 +0000551urn:bbc:podcast:p08j4g7zhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08j4g7zcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08j4g7z
Child Poverty, School Inequality and a Second Wave<![CDATA[

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?

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As lockdown eases, why hasn't there been a spike in infections?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 24 Jun 2020 08:30:00 +00001706urn:bbc:podcast:p08ht86thttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08ht86tcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08ht86t
Who Should be Quarantined?<![CDATA[

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?

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Tim Harford finds out which countries have the highest rate of Covid-19 infection.<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 20 Jun 2020 11:00:00 +0000546urn:bbc:podcast:p08hhl7dhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08hhl7dcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08hhl7d
Quarantine, Test and Trace and BODMAS<![CDATA[

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.

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Is it true that Covid-19 mostly kills people who would die soon anyway?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 17 Jun 2020 08:30:00 +00001735urn:bbc:podcast:p08h4x0bhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08h4x0bcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08h4x0b
Antibody tests, early lockdown advice and European deaths<![CDATA[

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?

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Are more people are dying of Covid-19 in the UK than all the EU countries put together?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 10 Jun 2020 08:30:00 +00001676urn:bbc:podcast:p08ghqmmhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08ghqmmcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08ghqmm
Keep your distance<![CDATA[

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?

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Tim Harford examines how can we avoid infection spreading, while getting on with life.<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 06 Jun 2020 18:00:00 +0000541urn:bbc:podcast:p08g6mt3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08g6mt3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08g6mt3
False negatives, testing capacity and pheasants<![CDATA[

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.

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How accurate are the swab tests used to diagnose Covid-19?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 03 Jun 2020 08:30:00 +00001676urn:bbc:podcast:p08fvs16http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08fvs16cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08fvs16
Obeying lockdown, flight arrivals and is this wave of the epidemic waning?<![CDATA[

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.

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What does the data show about whether this wave of the epidemic is waning in the UK?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 27 May 2020 08:30:00 +00001668urn:bbc:podcast:p08f761qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08f761qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08f761q
60 Harvests and statistically savvy parrots<![CDATA[

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)

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Can there really only be 60 harvests left in Earth's soil?<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 23 May 2020 18:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p08dx986http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08dx986cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08dx986
School re-opening, Germany’s Covid-19 success and statistically savvy parrots<![CDATA[

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.

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Will re-opening some schools put children or their teachers at risk?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 20 May 2020 08:31:00 +00001686urn:bbc:podcast:p08dnd81http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08dnd81cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08dnd81
Social Distancing and Government Borrowing<![CDATA[

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?

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Where do the different social distancing measurements come from?<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 16 May 2020 18:00:00 +0000549urn:bbc:podcast:p08d8xgdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08d8xgdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08d8xgd
Vitamin D, explaining R and the 2 metre rule<![CDATA[

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?

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Is Vitamin D an under-appreciated weapon in the fight against Covid-19?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 13 May 2020 08:30:00 +00001658urn:bbc:podcast:p08czkk7http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08czkk7cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08czkk7
Covid-19 fatality rate<![CDATA[

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?

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Why don't we know how dangerous Covid -19 really is?<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 09 May 2020 18:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p08cl0lbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08cl0lbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08cl0lb
Testing truth, fatality rates, obesity risk and trampolines.<![CDATA[

The Health Minister Matt Hanco*ck 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?

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Did the UK really carry out 100,000 coronavirus tests in one day?<![CDATA[

The Health Minister Matt Hanco*ck 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?

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Wed, 06 May 2020 01:30:00 +00001675urn:bbc:podcast:p08ccb4ghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08ccb4gcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08ccb4g
Climate change and birdsong<![CDATA[

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?

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With factories closed and flights grounded, what impact will this have on climate change?<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 02 May 2020 18:00:00 +0000551urn:bbc:podcast:p08c07xrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08c07xrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08c07xr
Ethnic minority deaths, climate change and lockdown<![CDATA[

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?

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Are doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds disproportionately affected by Covid-19?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 29 Apr 2020 08:30:00 +00001685urn:bbc:podcast:p08bqjmthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08bqjmtcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08bqjmt
Comparing countries' coronavirus performance<![CDATA[

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.

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Is it helpful to ask which countries are faring better in tackling the coronavirus?<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 25 Apr 2020 18:00:00 +0000553urn:bbc:podcast:p08bf1kdhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08bf1kdcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08bf1kd
Bonus Podcast: Professor John Horton Conway<![CDATA[

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.

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Mathematician John Conway died in April as a result of Covid-19.<![CDATA[

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.

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Thu, 23 Apr 2020 14:00:00 +0000853urn:bbc:podcast:p08b9bcqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08b9bcqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08b9bcq
Comparing countries, the risk to NHS staff, and birdsong<![CDATA[

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?

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We compare Covid-19 rates around the world. When is the UK going to be past the worst?<![CDATA[

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?

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Wed, 22 Apr 2020 08:30:00 +00001674urn:bbc:podcast:p08b3jyphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08b3jypcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08b3jyp
Superforecasting the Coronavirus<![CDATA[

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)

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Can professional predictors help us understand the course of the coronavirus pandemic?<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 18 Apr 2020 18:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p089t3ykhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p089t3ykcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p089t3yk
Should you wear a face mask?<![CDATA[

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.

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Tim Harford looks at the debate over making your own Covid-19 protection.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 11 Apr 2020 18:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0894jhhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0894jhhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0894jhh
Coronavirus deaths, face masks and a potential baby boom<![CDATA[

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.

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Is the coronavirus death count misleading because of delays in reporting?<![CDATA[

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.

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Wed, 08 Apr 2020 08:30:00 +00001677urn:bbc:podcast:p088xymshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p088xymscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p088xyms
Are more men dying from coronavirus?<![CDATA[

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?

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Tim Harford and Ruth Alexander examine the statistics around the world.<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 04 Apr 2020 18:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p088lhjqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p088lhjqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p088lhjq
Supermarket stockpiling, A-level results and Covid-19 gender disparity<![CDATA[

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?

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Is the coronavirus pandemic having a different impact on men and women?<![CDATA[

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?

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Tue, 31 Mar 2020 08:30:00 +00001682urn:bbc:podcast:p0886bhrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0886bhrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0886bhr
The Risk<![CDATA[

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)

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Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter puts the risks of Covid-19 into perspective.<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 28 Mar 2020 19:00:00 +0000550urn:bbc:podcast:p087x9sfhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p087x9sfcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p087x9sf
Coronavirus Special<![CDATA[

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

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The risks of Covid-19 for different age groups and what restrictions mean for the economy<![CDATA[

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

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Wed, 25 Mar 2020 15:44:00 +00001661urn:bbc:podcast:p087n42rhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p087n42rcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p087n42r
Mitigation or Suppression: What’s best to tackle Coronavirus?<![CDATA[

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)

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How statistical modelling can help us respond to the Coronavirus pandemic<![CDATA[

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)

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Sat, 21 Mar 2020 19:00:00 +0000553urn:bbc:podcast:p08766m3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08766m3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08766m3
The mystery of Iran’s coronavirus numbers<![CDATA[

Does Iran have a lot more covid-19 cases that its figures suggest?

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Does Iran have a lot more covid-19 cases that its figures suggest?<![CDATA[

Does Iran have a lot more covid-19 cases that its figures suggest?

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Sat, 14 Mar 2020 17:00:00 +0000823urn:bbc:podcast:p086krm0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p086krm0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p086krm0
How much heat do you lose from your head?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Leoni Robertson and Lizzy McNeill

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Is it true that 40% of your body's heat loss comes from your head?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Leoni Robertson and Lizzy McNeill

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Mon, 09 Mar 2020 13:07:00 +0000545urn:bbc:podcast:p0863kjshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0863kjscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0863kjs
Netflix vs the environment<![CDATA[

Does watching 30 minutes of Netflix have the same carbon footprint as driving four miles?

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Does watching 30 minutes of Netflix have the same carbon footprint as driving four miles?<![CDATA[

Does watching 30 minutes of Netflix have the same carbon footprint as driving four miles?

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Sat, 29 Feb 2020 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p085487shttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p085487scleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p085487s
More or Less: Superforecasting, wood burning stoves and the real story of Hidden Figures<![CDATA[

Dipping into the archive for stories on the art of prediction and wood burner pollution

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Dipping into the archive for stories on the art of prediction and wood burner pollution<![CDATA[

Dipping into the archive for stories on the art of prediction and wood burner pollution

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Fri, 28 Feb 2020 18:00:00 +00001554urn:bbc:podcast:p085478qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p085478qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p085478q
Artificial (not so) Intelligence<![CDATA[

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’.

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Is the problem with AI its lack of intelligence?<![CDATA[

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’.

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Sat, 22 Feb 2020 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p0847dp4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0847dp4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0847dp4
WS More or Less: Coronavirus - The Numbers<![CDATA[

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.

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An update on Covid-19 statistics, with Tim Harford.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 15 Feb 2020 16:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p083d5yvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p083d5yvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p083d5yv
Coronavirus, jam, AI and tomatoes<![CDATA[

Covid-19 stats, spreading jam far and wide, cooking with AI, and James Wong on vegetables

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Covid-19 stats, spreading jam far and wide, cooking with AI, and James Wong on vegetables<![CDATA[

Covid-19 stats, spreading jam far and wide, cooking with AI, and James Wong on vegetables

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Fri, 14 Feb 2020 17:14:00 +00001398urn:bbc:podcast:p083d393http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p083d393cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p083d393
WS More or Less: How fast are Alligators and Hippos?<![CDATA[

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).

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Can alligators run at 50kmph? Join us in clocking alligators’ gaits.<![CDATA[

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).

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Sat, 08 Feb 2020 17:00:00 +0000610urn:bbc:podcast:p082mnv5http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p082mnv5cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p082mnv5
Tracking terror suspects<![CDATA[

Costing counter-terrorism, interrogating tomatoes, the UK's reading age, politics and GDP

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Costing counter-terrorism, interrogating tomatoes, the UK's reading age, politics and GDP<![CDATA[

Costing counter-terrorism, interrogating tomatoes, the UK's reading age, politics and GDP

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Fri, 07 Feb 2020 17:00:00 +00001704urn:bbc:podcast:p082mj4lhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p082mj4lcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p082mj4l
WS More or Less: Coronavirus<![CDATA[

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.

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Fact checking claims about the spread of Coronavirus<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 01 Feb 2020 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p081yn19http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p081yn19cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p081yn19
Coronavirus, emotions and guns.<![CDATA[

Fact checking claims about coronavirus and whether more guns equal fewer homicides.

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Fact checking claims about coronavirus and whether more guns equal fewer homicides.<![CDATA[

Fact checking claims about coronavirus and whether more guns equal fewer homicides.

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Fri, 31 Jan 2020 16:30:00 +00001710urn:bbc:podcast:p081yl6chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p081yl6ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p081yl6c
WS More or Less: Dozy Science<![CDATA[

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.

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How much sleep do we really need?<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 19:00:00 +0000549urn:bbc:podcast:p0819trphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0819trpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0819trp
Netflix and Chill<![CDATA[

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.

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The carbon consequence of streaming, stats on sepsis and stretching Bill Bryson to Pluto.<![CDATA[

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.

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Fri, 24 Jan 2020 17:00:00 +00001695urn:bbc:podcast:p0819sc4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0819sc4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0819sc4
WS More or Less: Japan’s 99% Conviction Rate<![CDATA[

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.

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Quantifying justice in Japan with Tim Harford.<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 18 Jan 2020 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p080pgdyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080pgdycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p080pgdy
Weighing the Cost of Brexit<![CDATA[

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?

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The cost of Brexit, alligator speed and Liverpool FC's luck<![CDATA[

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?

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Fri, 17 Jan 2020 18:08:00 +0000972urn:bbc:podcast:p080ps1thttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p080ps1tcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p080ps1t
WS More or Less: Bushfire mystery<![CDATA[

Have a billion animals died in Australia’s fires? And which ones are likely to survive?

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Have a billion animals died in Australia’s fires? And which ones are likely to survive?<![CDATA[

Have a billion animals died in Australia’s fires? And which ones are likely to survive?

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Sat, 11 Jan 2020 19:00:00 +0000547urn:bbc:podcast:p08027c1http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08027c1cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p08027c1
Australian Animal Deaths, Carbon Emissions, Election Mystery<![CDATA[

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?

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How many animals have died in Australia and how many Labour voters went Conservative?<![CDATA[

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?

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Fri, 10 Jan 2020 17:07:00 +00002094urn:bbc:podcast:p0802553http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0802553cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0802553
C-sections and sharks<![CDATA[

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?

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Hospital births in China and whether it’s true 50% are delivered by caesarean section<![CDATA[

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?

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Sat, 04 Jan 2020 19:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07yrxpvhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07yrxpvcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07yrxpv
Presidential candidates and dementia<![CDATA[

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.

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The health risks some of the frontrunners in the US presidential race face<![CDATA[

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.

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Sat, 28 Dec 2019 19:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07yrqh0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07yrqh0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07yrqh0
The Simpsons and maths<![CDATA[

We explore the maths secrets of The Simpsons on their 30th anniversary.

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We explore the maths secrets of The Simpsons on their 30th anniversary.<![CDATA[

We explore the maths secrets of The Simpsons on their 30th anniversary.

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Fri, 20 Dec 2019 17:37:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07yjw8thttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07yjw8tcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07yjw8t
Koalas<![CDATA[

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)

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Have bushfires destroyed 80% of the koala habitat in Australia?<![CDATA[

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)

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Fri, 13 Dec 2019 14:47:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07xszk9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07xszk9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07xszk9
Election Special (2/2)<![CDATA[

Labour's spending plans, Conservatives claims on homelessness, the SNP's education record

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Labour's spending plans, Conservatives claims on homelessness, the SNP's education record<![CDATA[

Labour's spending plans, Conservatives claims on homelessness, the SNP's education record

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Tue, 10 Dec 2019 10:16:00 +00001667urn:bbc:podcast:p07xg74whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07xg74wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07xg74w
Tree Planting Pledges<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Lizzy McNeill

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Planting trees by numbers: UK style.<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Lizzy McNeill

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Fri, 06 Dec 2019 16:09:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07x4q52http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07x4q52cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07x4q52
Election Special 1/2<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Neal Razzell

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50,000 nurses? 40 hospitals? Corporate tax rises? Tim Harford looks at Election pledges.<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Neal Razzell

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Tue, 03 Dec 2019 11:24:00 +00001659urn:bbc:podcast:p07wrgd6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07wrgd6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07wrgd6
Testing tomatoes<![CDATA[

Have these saucy fruits become less healthy over time?

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Have these saucy fruits become less healthy over time?<![CDATA[

Have these saucy fruits become less healthy over time?

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Fri, 29 Nov 2019 16:07:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07wgrrphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07wgrrpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07wgrrp
The world’s busiest shipping lanes<![CDATA[

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 GrahamEditor: Richard Vadon

Image: Freighter ships in Thessaloniki, GreeceCredit: Getty Images

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Which is the busiest shipping lane in the world?<![CDATA[

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 GrahamEditor: Richard Vadon

Image: Freighter ships in Thessaloniki, GreeceCredit: Getty Images

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Sat, 23 Nov 2019 19:00:00 +0000561urn:bbc:podcast:p07vtj5whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07vtj5wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07vtj5w
Bolivia: Can statistics help detect electoral fraud?<![CDATA[

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.

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We look at the numbers and statistics from Bolivia’s disputed presidential election.<![CDATA[

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.

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Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:36:00 +0000690urn:bbc:podcast:p07v3pdxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07v3pdxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07v3pdx
Reducing your risk of death<![CDATA[

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

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Can running and owning a dog reduce your risk of an early death?<![CDATA[

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

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Sat, 09 Nov 2019 19:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p07tdc37http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07tdc37cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07tdc37
Unbelievable: The forgotten rape data<![CDATA[

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 GrahamPresenter: Ruth Alexander

(Untested sexual assault kits on warehouse shelves. Image: courtesy Joyful Heart Foundation)

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How shelved data from rape cases in America is helping the police catch criminals now.<![CDATA[

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 GrahamPresenter: Ruth Alexander

(Untested sexual assault kits on warehouse shelves. Image: courtesy Joyful Heart Foundation)

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Fri, 01 Nov 2019 17:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07sr770http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07sr770cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07sr770
Edith Abbott and crime statistics<![CDATA[

Social worker and economist Edith Abbott and her contribution to crime statistics.

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Social worker and economist Edith Abbott and her contribution to crime statistics.<![CDATA[

Social worker and economist Edith Abbott and her contribution to crime statistics.

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Mon, 28 Oct 2019 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07s22lhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07s22lhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07s22lh
Esther Duflo and women in economics<![CDATA[

Discussing Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer’s economics Nobel Prize.

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Discussing Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer’s economics Nobel Prize.<![CDATA[

Discussing Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer’s economics Nobel Prize.

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Fri, 18 Oct 2019 15:02:00 +00001227urn:bbc:podcast:p07rfd10http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07rfd10cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07rfd10
The Extra Episode: Minimum wage, drinking in Scotland and identical twins.<![CDATA[

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.

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Exploring how long one identical twin lives after the other twin dies.<![CDATA[

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.

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Fri, 11 Oct 2019 13:20:00 +00001719urn:bbc:podcast:p07qt9kphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07qt9kpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07qt9kp
WS More or Less: Does San Francisco have more rough sleepers than Britain?<![CDATA[

Are the shocking statistics true? and how do you count people who don't wish to be found?

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Are the shocking statistics true? and how do you count people who don't wish to be found?<![CDATA[

Are the shocking statistics true? and how do you count people who don't wish to be found?

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Mon, 07 Oct 2019 15:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07q4ngzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07q4ngzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07q4ngz
New hospitals promised, aid to Ukraine, and bacon sandwiches<![CDATA[

Dissecting the government’s hospitals announcement and President Trump’s Ukraine claims.

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Dissecting the government’s hospitals announcement and President Trump’s Ukraine claims.<![CDATA[

Dissecting the government’s hospitals announcement and President Trump’s Ukraine claims.

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Fri, 04 Oct 2019 16:00:00 +00001674urn:bbc:podcast:p07q4f0whttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07q4f0wcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07q4f0w
WS More or Less: Who fought in World War 1?<![CDATA[

Were a third of those that fought for Britain in WW1 black or Asian?

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Were a third of those that fought for Britain in WW1 black or Asian?<![CDATA[

Were a third of those that fought for Britain in WW1 black or Asian?

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Mon, 30 Sep 2019 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07ppw22http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07ppw22cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07ppw22
Austerity Deaths, C-Sections and being struck by lightning<![CDATA[

Has Austerity caused 120 thousand deaths in the UK and does God hate men?

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Has Austerity caused 120 thousand deaths in the UK and does God hate men?<![CDATA[

Has Austerity caused 120 thousand deaths in the UK and does God hate men?

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Fri, 27 Sep 2019 17:00:00 +00001423urn:bbc:podcast:p07pjdw6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07pjdw6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07pjdw6
WS More or Less: Peaty v. Bolt: Which is the greatest world record?<![CDATA[

Using statistics to compare world records in athletics and swimming.

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Using statistics to compare world records in athletics and swimming.<![CDATA[

Using statistics to compare world records in athletics and swimming.

]]>
Mon, 23 Sep 2019 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07nxf3mhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07nxf3mcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07nxf3m
Dementia, inflation and shark deaths<![CDATA[

Health risks for Presidential hopefuls, falling inflation, shark deaths and salary claims

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Health risks for Presidential hopefuls, falling inflation, shark deaths and salary claims<![CDATA[

Health risks for Presidential hopefuls, falling inflation, shark deaths and salary claims

]]>
Fri, 20 Sep 2019 16:00:00 +00001491urn:bbc:podcast:p07nxcc9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07nxcc9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07nxcc9
WS More or Less: Cape Town murders<![CDATA[

Are eight people a day murdered in Cape Town and is that number unusually high?

]]>
Are eight people a day murdered in Cape Town and is that number unusually high?<![CDATA[

Are eight people a day murdered in Cape Town and is that number unusually high?

]]>
Mon, 16 Sep 2019 13:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07n8xprhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07n8xprcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07n8xpr
Maternal deaths, taxi driver earnings and statistical pop music<![CDATA[

Are black women five times more likely to die in childbirth? Plus making pop music.

]]>
Are black women five times more likely to die in childbirth? Plus making pop music.<![CDATA[

Are black women five times more likely to die in childbirth? Plus making pop music.

]]>
Fri, 13 Sep 2019 16:07:00 +00001448urn:bbc:podcast:p07n8x0chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07n8x0ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07n8x0c
WS More or Less: Deforestation in Brazil<![CDATA[

Has it increased significantly since President Bolsonaro took office in January?

]]>
Has it increased significantly since President Bolsonaro took office in January?<![CDATA[

Has it increased significantly since President Bolsonaro took office in January?

]]>
Mon, 09 Sep 2019 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07mp3cthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07mp3ctcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07mp3ct
Climate deaths, austerity and pet food<![CDATA[

Challenging the idea of six billion deaths due to climate change; plus what pets eat.

]]>
Challenging the idea of six billion deaths due to climate change; plus what pets eat.<![CDATA[

Challenging the idea of six billion deaths due to climate change; plus what pets eat.

]]>
Fri, 06 Sep 2019 15:30:00 +00001447urn:bbc:podcast:p07mnsmhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07mnsmhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07mnsmh
WS More or Less: Amazon forest fires<![CDATA[

Are they really 85 percent worse than last year?

]]>
Are they really 85 percent worse than last year?<![CDATA[

Are they really 85 percent worse than last year?

]]>
Mon, 02 Sep 2019 13:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07m7sxmhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07m7sxmcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07m7sxm
Amazon fires, state pension and American burgers<![CDATA[

Are forest fires in Brazil the worst in recent times? What is the state pension worth?

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Are forest fires in Brazil the worst in recent times? What is the state pension worth?<![CDATA[

Are forest fires in Brazil the worst in recent times? What is the state pension worth?

]]>
Fri, 30 Aug 2019 16:46:00 +00001649urn:bbc:podcast:p07m295nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07m295ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07m295n
WS More or Less: Ethiopia’s 350m trees in a day<![CDATA[

Were millions of trees planted in just one day in Ethiopia?

]]>
Were millions of trees planted in just one day in Ethiopia?<![CDATA[

Were millions of trees planted in just one day in Ethiopia?

]]>
Mon, 26 Aug 2019 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07lh06yhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07lh06ycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07lh06y
Exam grades, Chernobyl and Ethiopian trees<![CDATA[

Was your A Level grade correct? Plus were 350m trees planted in one day in Ethiopia?

]]>
Was your A Level grade correct? Plus were 350m trees planted in one day in Ethiopia?<![CDATA[

Was your A Level grade correct? Plus were 350m trees planted in one day in Ethiopia?

]]>
Fri, 23 Aug 2019 17:11:00 +00001480urn:bbc:podcast:p07lh1kkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07lh1kkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07lh1kk
Mice and mind blowing maths<![CDATA[

Re-inserting a caveat and discussing a really cool numbers trick.

]]>
Re-inserting a caveat and discussing a really cool numbers trick.<![CDATA[

Re-inserting a caveat and discussing a really cool numbers trick.

]]>
Fri, 16 Aug 2019 15:00:00 +0000558urn:bbc:podcast:p07kv9nshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07kv9nscleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07kv9ns
Immigrant Crime Rate in the US<![CDATA[

Do immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans in the United States?

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Do immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans in the United States?<![CDATA[

Do immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans in the United States?

]]>
Fri, 09 Aug 2019 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07k7648http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07k7648cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07k7648
The spread of fact-checking in Africa<![CDATA[

With misinformation so easy to spread, how can it be stopped or challenged?

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With misinformation so easy to spread, how can it be stopped or challenged?<![CDATA[

With misinformation so easy to spread, how can it be stopped or challenged?

]]>
Fri, 02 Aug 2019 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07jm2zyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07jm2zycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07jm2zy
Pregnancy prohibitions – the evidence<![CDATA[

Taking a statistical look at what expectant mothers should avoid.

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Taking a statistical look at what expectant mothers should avoid.<![CDATA[

Taking a statistical look at what expectant mothers should avoid.

]]>
Fri, 26 Jul 2019 17:00:00 +0000537urn:bbc:podcast:p07hyqb1http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07hyqb1cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07hyqb1
Missing women from drug trials<![CDATA[

How medical testing on just men causes problems.

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How medical testing on just men causes problems.<![CDATA[

How medical testing on just men causes problems.

]]>
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 19:00:00 +0000557urn:bbc:podcast:p07hb833http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07hb833cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07hb833
Zimbabwe’s economy: Are sanctions to blame?<![CDATA[

We look at politicians’ claims that sanctions are to blame for Zimbabwe’s difficulties.

]]>
We look at politicians’ claims that sanctions are to blame for Zimbabwe’s difficulties.<![CDATA[

We look at politicians’ claims that sanctions are to blame for Zimbabwe’s difficulties.

]]>
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 14:31:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p07hbh31http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07hbh31cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07hbh31
Two World Cups: Football and Cricket<![CDATA[

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 2019Credit: Getty Images/ Gareth Copley-IDI

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We look at numbers involved with the two World Cups going on right now.<![CDATA[

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 2019Credit: Getty Images/ Gareth Copley-IDI

]]>
Fri, 05 Jul 2019 15:04:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p07g4d38http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07g4d38cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07g4d38
Is nuclear power actually safer than you think?<![CDATA[

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

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We compare how deadly different forms of power generation are.<![CDATA[

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

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Fri, 28 Jun 2019 16:00:00 +0000588urn:bbc:podcast:p07fgpgyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07fgpgycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07fgpgy
Questioning the Chernobyl disaster death count<![CDATA[

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

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We fact check the recent TV drama Chernobyl<![CDATA[

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

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Fri, 21 Jun 2019 16:02:00 +0000924urn:bbc:podcast:p07dtfxphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07dtfxpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07dtfxp
WS More or Less: Dealing with the Numbers of Cancer<![CDATA[

How one woman used statistics to help cope with cancer.

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How one woman used statistics to help cope with cancer.<![CDATA[

How one woman used statistics to help cope with cancer.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2019 16:00:00 +0000550urn:bbc:podcast:p07d5ltxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07d5ltxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07d5ltx
WS More or Less: The things we fail to see<![CDATA[

The hidden influences that a make a big difference to the way the world works.

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The hidden influences that a make a big difference to the way the world works.<![CDATA[

The hidden influences that a make a big difference to the way the world works.

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Mon, 10 Jun 2019 13:00:00 +0000546urn:bbc:podcast:p07ckm0xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07ckm0xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07ckm0x
Are married women flipping miserable?<![CDATA[

Measuring happiness, university access in Scotland, plus will one in two get cancer?

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Measuring happiness, university access in Scotland, plus will one in two get cancer?<![CDATA[

Measuring happiness, university access in Scotland, plus will one in two get cancer?

]]>
Fri, 07 Jun 2019 16:59:00 +00001413urn:bbc:podcast:p07ckl40http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07ckl40cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07ckl40
WS More or Less: Volcanoes versus humans<![CDATA[

Does Mount Etna produce more carbon emissions than humans? We check the numbers.

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Does Mount Etna produce more carbon emissions than humans? We check the numbers.<![CDATA[

Does Mount Etna produce more carbon emissions than humans? We check the numbers.

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Mon, 03 Jun 2019 13:00:00 +0000545urn:bbc:podcast:p07bx8mbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07bx8mbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07bx8mb
Hay Festival Special<![CDATA[

What does it mean to say that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world?

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What does it mean to say that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world?<![CDATA[

What does it mean to say that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world?

]]>
Fri, 31 May 2019 16:21:00 +00001671urn:bbc:podcast:p07bx6xbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07bx6xbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07bx6xb
WS More or Less: Florence Nightingale – recognising the nurse statistician<![CDATA[

How collecting data about the dead led the famous nurse to promote better sanitation.

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How collecting data about the dead led the famous nurse to promote better sanitation.<![CDATA[

How collecting data about the dead led the famous nurse to promote better sanitation.

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Mon, 27 May 2019 13:00:00 +0000659urn:bbc:podcast:p07b8c95http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07b8c95cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07b8c95
Eurovision and fact-checking Naomi Wolf<![CDATA[

The stats behind making a successful song, plus misunderstanding Victorian court records.

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The stats behind making a successful song, plus misunderstanding Victorian court records.<![CDATA[

The stats behind making a successful song, plus misunderstanding Victorian court records.

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Fri, 24 May 2019 16:00:00 +00001441urn:bbc:podcast:p07b8b2chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07b8b2ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07b8b2c
Making music out of Money<![CDATA[

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, illustrationCredit: Science Photo Library

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A musical interpretation of a chart depicting the yield-curve of American bonds.<![CDATA[

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, illustrationCredit: Science Photo Library

]]>
Mon, 20 May 2019 13:00:00 +0000545urn:bbc:podcast:p079km1vhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p079km1vcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p079km1v
Heart deaths, Organised crime and Gender data gaps<![CDATA[

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, illustrationCredit: Science Photo Library

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Are more people dying from coronary disease? Plus how we need more economic data on women<![CDATA[

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, illustrationCredit: Science Photo Library

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Fri, 17 May 2019 16:44:00 +00001677urn:bbc:podcast:p079khwghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p079khwgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p079khwg
Sex Every Seven Seconds<![CDATA[

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?

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We revisit some classic topics from past years<![CDATA[

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?

]]>
Mon, 13 May 2019 08:00:00 +0000906urn:bbc:podcast:p078w9hrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p078w9hrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p078w9hr
Sex, coal, missing people and mice<![CDATA[

Sex RecessionThis 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 weekThere 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 peopleSome 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 MiceOne 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.

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Are we having less sex? And what happened to coal? (These items are unrelated.)<![CDATA[

Sex RecessionThis 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 weekThere 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 peopleSome 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 MiceOne 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.

]]>
Fri, 10 May 2019 17:14:00 +00001656urn:bbc:podcast:p078w9zthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p078w9ztcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p078w9zt
Avengers - Should we reverse the snap?<![CDATA[

*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

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Exploring the economic impact of losing half the world’s population<![CDATA[

*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

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Mon, 06 May 2019 13:00:00 +0000618urn:bbc:podcast:p0788fylhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0788fylcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0788fyl
Nurses, flatmates and cats<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Charlotte McDonald, Darin Graham and Beth Sagar-Fenton

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We look into sobering statistics about nurses and some curious claims about house-sharing<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Charlotte McDonald, Darin Graham and Beth Sagar-Fenton

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Fri, 03 May 2019 16:19:00 +00001425urn:bbc:podcast:p07887n2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07887n2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07887n2
Bernie Sanders and the cost of having a baby<![CDATA[

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

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Did Bernie Sanders get the cost of giving birth right?<![CDATA[

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

]]>
Mon, 29 Apr 2019 13:00:00 +0000572urn:bbc:podcast:p077rqh9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p077rqh9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p077rqh9
Hottest Easter, Insects, Scottish villages<![CDATA[

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 beachCredit: Getty Images

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Should we be surprised Easter Monday was the hottest recorded?<![CDATA[

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 beachCredit: Getty Images

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Fri, 26 Apr 2019 17:28:00 +00001664urn:bbc:podcast:p077l6rnhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p077l6rncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p077l6rn
The economic impact of mega sporting events<![CDATA[

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

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Major sports events and the benefits to the local economy.<![CDATA[

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

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Fri, 19 Apr 2019 23:05:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p076wyn9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p076wyn9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p076wyn9
Where is Scotland’s highest village?<![CDATA[

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

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A battle is brewing in the Southern Scottish uplands between two rival villages.<![CDATA[

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

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Mon, 15 Apr 2019 13:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p076bnyxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p076bnyxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p076bnyx
Rounding up the weed killer cancer conundrum<![CDATA[

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 VadonPicture: Tractor spraying a field of wheat Credit: Getty Images

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We examine the cancer-causing potential of the weed killer glyphosate<![CDATA[

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 VadonPicture: Tractor spraying a field of wheat Credit: Getty Images

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Mon, 08 Apr 2019 13:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p075mwd3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p075mwd3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p075mwd3
Chess cheats and the GOAT<![CDATA[

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 EdmondsProducer: Darin Graham

Image: A Chess Board Credit: Getty Images

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What a statistical analysis of chess moves can teach us about this ancient game.<![CDATA[

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 EdmondsProducer: Darin Graham

Image: A Chess Board Credit: Getty Images

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Tue, 02 Apr 2019 13:34:00 +0000604urn:bbc:podcast:p074yx4hhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p074yx4hcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p074yx4h
Is Mansa Musa the richest person of all time?<![CDATA[

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)

]]>
Is the West African king, Mansa Musa, the richest person who ever lived?<![CDATA[

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)

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Mon, 25 Mar 2019 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p074jvrlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p074jvrlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p074jvrl
Day light saving time and heart attacks<![CDATA[

Does the sudden loss of an hour of sleep raise the risk of having a heart attack?

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Does the sudden loss of an hour of sleep raise the risk of having a heart attack?<![CDATA[

Does the sudden loss of an hour of sleep raise the risk of having a heart attack?

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Mon, 18 Mar 2019 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p073pcdbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p073pcdbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p073pcdb
The gender gap in tech<![CDATA[

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

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Are women really less likely than men to be hired for jobs in tech?<![CDATA[

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

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Sat, 09 Mar 2019 10:00:00 +0000543urn:bbc:podcast:p07302z6http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07302z6cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07302z6
Insectageddon<![CDATA[

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)

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Could insects go extinct in one hundred years?<![CDATA[

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)

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Mon, 04 Mar 2019 10:55:00 +0000740urn:bbc:podcast:p072c44xhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p072c44xcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p072c44x
How To Make Your Art Work More Valuable<![CDATA[

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 EdmondsProducer: Darin Graham Editor: Richard Vadon

Picture Credit: BBC

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Die, sell on a sunny day, place your work a third of the way through the auction.<![CDATA[

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 EdmondsProducer: Darin Graham Editor: Richard Vadon

Picture Credit: BBC

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Fri, 22 Feb 2019 15:30:00 +0000554urn:bbc:podcast:p071ppn9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p071ppn9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p071ppn9
WS More or Less: When maths mistakes really matter<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Matt Parker on how simple maths mistakes can cause big problems.

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Tim Harford talks to Matt Parker on how simple maths mistakes can cause big problems.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Matt Parker on how simple maths mistakes can cause big problems.

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Mon, 18 Feb 2019 14:00:00 +0000550urn:bbc:podcast:p07113q3http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07113q3cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p07113q3
Climate Change, Victorian Diseases, Alcohol<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on climate change, Victorian diseases, maths mistakes and alcohol consumption

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Tim Harford on climate change, Victorian diseases, maths mistakes and alcohol consumption<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on climate change, Victorian diseases, maths mistakes and alcohol consumption

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Fri, 15 Feb 2019 17:59:00 +00001384urn:bbc:podcast:p071135nhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p071135ncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p071135n
WS More or Less: From the archives: Groundhogs and Kings<![CDATA[

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.

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Assessing the accuracy of a Groundhog; How many English people have right royal relatives?<![CDATA[

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.

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Tue, 12 Feb 2019 10:00:00 +00001115urn:bbc:podcast:p070jz14http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p070jz14cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p070jz14
Teen Suicide; Brexit Business Moves; Wood-Burner Pollution<![CDATA[

Tim Harford finds untrue a recent report that there is a 'suicidal generation' of teens.

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Tim Harford finds untrue a recent report that there is a 'suicidal generation' of teens.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford finds untrue a recent report that there is a 'suicidal generation' of teens.

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Fri, 08 Feb 2019 22:44:00 +00001709urn:bbc:podcast:p070d4xzhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p070d4xzcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p070d4xz
WS More or Less: You have 15,000 likes!<![CDATA[

A listener doubts her popularity on the dating app Tinder. We investigate the numbers.

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A listener doubts her popularity on the dating app Tinder. We investigate the numbers.<![CDATA[

A listener doubts her popularity on the dating app Tinder. We investigate the numbers.

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Mon, 04 Feb 2019 14:00:00 +0000551urn:bbc:podcast:p06zr1dwhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06zr1dwcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06zr1dw
Holocaust Deniers; Venezuelan Hyperinflation; Tinder Likes<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on Holocaust deniers; food prices in Venezuela, and dating app statistics

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Tim Harford on Holocaust deniers; food prices in Venezuela, and dating app statistics<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on Holocaust deniers; food prices in Venezuela, and dating app statistics

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Fri, 01 Feb 2019 17:24:00 +00001734urn:bbc:podcast:p06zqz7dhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06zqz7dcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06zqz7d
WS More or Less: Is Suicide Seasonal?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford asks which times of the year are riskiest for suicide.

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Tim Harford asks which times of the year are riskiest for suicide.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford asks which times of the year are riskiest for suicide.

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Sat, 26 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0000551urn:bbc:podcast:p06z40hlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06z40hlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06z40hl
Domestic Violence, Jobs, Easter Snowfall<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on domestic violence, employment numbers, and the chance of a white Easter.

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Tim Harford on domestic violence, employment numbers, and the chance of a white Easter.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on domestic violence, employment numbers, and the chance of a white Easter.

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Fri, 25 Jan 2019 17:22:00 +00001397urn:bbc:podcast:p06z40wbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06z40wbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06z40wb
WS More or Less: Close Encounters of a Planetary Kind<![CDATA[

Which planet is closest to Earth?

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Which planet is closest to Earth?<![CDATA[

Which planet is closest to Earth?

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Sat, 19 Jan 2019 10:00:00 +0000563urn:bbc:podcast:p06yhfbqhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06yhfbqcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06yhfbq
Intersex Numbers, Fact-Checking Facebook, Jack Bogle<![CDATA[

Tim Harford asks whether 1.7% of people are intersex, and examines false claims about MPs

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Tim Harford asks whether 1.7% of people are intersex, and examines false claims about MPs<![CDATA[

Tim Harford asks whether 1.7% of people are intersex, and examines false claims about MPs

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:30:00 +00001809urn:bbc:podcast:p06yhhjjhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06yhhjjcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06yhhjj
WS More or Less: The Mathematics of Fever<![CDATA[

We look at the numbers behind body temperature – what is normal?

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We look at the numbers behind body temperature – what is normal?<![CDATA[

We look at the numbers behind body temperature – what is normal?

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Sat, 12 Jan 2019 06:00:00 +0000655urn:bbc:podcast:p06xq55vhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06xq55vcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06xq55v
Sugar, Outdoors Play and Planets<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on sugar, train fares, children's outdoors play and Earth's closest neighbour

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Tim Harford on sugar, train fares, children's outdoors play and Earth's closest neighbour<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on sugar, train fares, children's outdoors play and Earth's closest neighbour

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Fri, 11 Jan 2019 17:00:00 +00001687urn:bbc:podcast:p06xvkjchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06xvkjccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06xvkjc
WS More or Less: Numbers of the Year Part 2<![CDATA[

Helena Merriman with numbers about water shortage, plastic recycling and American jobs.

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Helena Merriman with numbers about water shortage, plastic recycling and American jobs.<![CDATA[

Helena Merriman with numbers about water shortage, plastic recycling and American jobs.

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Fri, 04 Jan 2019 12:29:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06x6m23http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06x6m23cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06x6m23
WS More or Less: Numbers of the Year Part 1<![CDATA[

The numbers that made 2018.

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The numbers that made 2018.<![CDATA[

The numbers that made 2018.

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Sat, 29 Dec 2018 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06w33llhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w33llcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06w33ll
WS More or Less: Mission Impossible - Quantifiying Santa<![CDATA[

What to look out for on Christmas Eve.

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What to look out for on Christmas Eve.<![CDATA[

What to look out for on Christmas Eve.

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Sat, 22 Dec 2018 14:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06w32vyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w32vycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06w32vy
WS More or Less: Dam Lies and Statistics<![CDATA[

Are mega-dams really sustainable?

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Are mega-dams really sustainable?<![CDATA[

Are mega-dams really sustainable?

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Mon, 17 Dec 2018 12:30:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06vv10fhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06vv10fcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06vv10f
WS More or Less: Sex and Heart Attacks<![CDATA[

Are women more likely to die from a heart attack than men?

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Are women more likely to die from a heart attack than men?<![CDATA[

Are women more likely to die from a heart attack than men?

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Fri, 30 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06t9hfthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06t9hftcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06t9hft
WS More or Less: Are 90% of War Fatalities Civilians?<![CDATA[

Xavier Zapata examines what the data tells us about the deadly impact of war on civilians

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Xavier Zapata examines what the data tells us about the deadly impact of war on civilians<![CDATA[

Xavier Zapata examines what the data tells us about the deadly impact of war on civilians

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Fri, 23 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000979urn:bbc:podcast:p06snhychttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06snhyccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06snhyc
WS More or Less: When’s a Kilogram Not a Kilogram?<![CDATA[

Updating the kilogram.

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Updating the kilogram.<![CDATA[

Updating the kilogram.

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Fri, 16 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000544urn:bbc:podcast:p06s0shchttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s0shccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06s0shc
WS More or Less: Do Assassinations Work?<![CDATA[

How likely are assassination attempts on heads of state to succeed?

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How likely are assassination attempts on heads of state to succeed?<![CDATA[

How likely are assassination attempts on heads of state to succeed?

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Fri, 09 Nov 2018 20:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06qmfpphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06qmfppcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06qmfpp
WS More or Less: Vaccines - The importance of the herd and social media<![CDATA[

What proportion of a population needs to be vaccinated to stop a disease spreading?

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What proportion of a population needs to be vaccinated to stop a disease spreading?<![CDATA[

What proportion of a population needs to be vaccinated to stop a disease spreading?

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Sun, 28 Oct 2018 20:00:00 +0000670urn:bbc:podcast:p06pzl37http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06pzl37cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06pzl37
WS More or Less: Foreign Aid: Who’s the most generous?<![CDATA[

In foreign aid terms what’s the best way of measuring how generous a country is?

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In foreign aid terms what’s the best way of measuring how generous a country is?<![CDATA[

In foreign aid terms what’s the best way of measuring how generous a country is?

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Fri, 19 Oct 2018 19:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06pbppghttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06pbppgcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06pbppg
WS More or Less: Paul Romer and William Nordhaus’ Big Ideas<![CDATA[

The economists tackling climate change and growth.

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The economists tackling climate change and growth.<![CDATA[

The economists tackling climate change and growth.

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Fri, 12 Oct 2018 15:19:00 +0000544urn:bbc:podcast:p06nq0gmhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06nq0gmcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06nq0gm
Loneliness, School Funding, Same-Sex Divorce<![CDATA[

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)

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A BBC loneliness survey, school funding, same-sex divorce and the loyalty of listeners.<![CDATA[

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)

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Tue, 09 Oct 2018 12:20:00 +0000580urn:bbc:podcast:p06ncndphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06ncndpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06ncndp
WS More or Less: Why are Lesbians More Likely to Divorce than Gay Men?<![CDATA[

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

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Tim Harford talks to economist Marina Ashdade about same-sex divorce statistics.<![CDATA[

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

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Sun, 07 Oct 2018 19:05:00 +0000559urn:bbc:podcast:p06n2nflhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n2nflcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06n2nfl
Loneliness; School Funding; Same-Sex Divorce.<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Ruth Alexander

Image: A single fan sits in the stands before a college football gameCredit: Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Tim Harford on a BBC loneliness survey; school funding; same-sex divorce; loyal listeners<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducer: Ruth Alexander

Image: A single fan sits in the stands before a college football gameCredit: Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Fri, 05 Oct 2018 16:32:00 +00001259urn:bbc:podcast:p06n2lmphttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06n2lmpcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06n2lmp
WS More of Less: Surviving the Battle of Britain<![CDATA[

Were Spitfire pilots killed after an average of four weeks in the World War Two battle?

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Were Spitfire pilots killed after an average of four weeks in the World War Two battle?<![CDATA[

Were Spitfire pilots killed after an average of four weeks in the World War Two battle?

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Mon, 01 Oct 2018 09:00:00 +0000546urn:bbc:podcast:p06mfnd2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06mfnd2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06mfnd2
Surviving the Battle of Britain; the World Cup and Domestic Violence; Buckfast and Arrests in Scotland<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on Spitfire pilots, and whether football triggers violence in the home.

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Tim Harford on Spitfire pilots, and whether football triggers violence in the home.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on Spitfire pilots, and whether football triggers violence in the home.

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Fri, 28 Sep 2018 16:00:00 +00001353urn:bbc:podcast:p06mfmq2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06mfmq2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06mfmq2
WS More or Less: Trump and the Puerto Rico Death Toll<![CDATA[

How can we calculate excess mortality after a natural disaster?

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How can we calculate excess mortality after a natural disaster?<![CDATA[

How can we calculate excess mortality after a natural disaster?

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Mon, 24 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06ltlw4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06ltlw4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06ltlw4
How Many Schoolchildren are Carers? Shareholder Income, and Museum Visitors Vs Football Fans<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on child carers, shareholder income, football vs museums and dangerous sports

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Tim Harford on child carers, shareholder income, football vs museums and dangerous sports<![CDATA[

Tim Harford on child carers, shareholder income, football vs museums and dangerous sports

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Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:45:00 +00001522urn:bbc:podcast:p06ltl7bhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06ltl7bcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06ltl7b
WS More or Less: DNA - Are You More Chimp or Neanderthal?<![CDATA[

What is the difference between 96% similarity or sharing 20% of our DNA?

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What is the difference between 96% similarity or sharing 20% of our DNA?<![CDATA[

What is the difference between 96% similarity or sharing 20% of our DNA?

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Mon, 17 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000551urn:bbc:podcast:p06l6bb2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06l6bb2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06l6bb2
Male suicide, school ratings, are female tennis players treated unfairly by umpires?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford with statistics on suicide, good schools and sexism in tennis. Plus goats

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Tim Harford with statistics on suicide, good schools and sexism in tennis. Plus goats<![CDATA[

Tim Harford with statistics on suicide, good schools and sexism in tennis. Plus goats

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Fri, 14 Sep 2018 17:10:00 +00001482urn:bbc:podcast:p06l680khttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06l680kcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06l680k
WS More or Less: The Safest Car in the World?<![CDATA[

A listener asks whether his Volvo is the safest car on the road?

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A listener asks whether his Volvo is the safest car on the road?<![CDATA[

A listener asks whether his Volvo is the safest car on the road?

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Mon, 10 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000548urn:bbc:podcast:p06klpzthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06klpztcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06klpzt
Heart Age Calculator; Danish Sperm Imports; Counting Goats<![CDATA[

Tim Harford questions the usefulness of a popular heart age calculator.

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Tim Harford questions the usefulness of a popular heart age calculator.<![CDATA[

Tim Harford questions the usefulness of a popular heart age calculator.

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Fri, 07 Sep 2018 16:33:00 +00001421urn:bbc:podcast:p06kll7dhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06kll7dcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06kll7d
WS: More or Less - How well do you understand your world?<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Bobby Duffy about why we are often wrong about a lot of basic facts

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Tim Harford talks to Bobby Duffy about why we are often wrong about a lot of basic facts<![CDATA[

Tim Harford talks to Bobby Duffy about why we are often wrong about a lot of basic facts

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Mon, 03 Sep 2018 09:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06jzfvxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06jzfvxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06jzfvx
African Trade Tariffs; Alcohol Safe Limits; President Trump's Popularity<![CDATA[

Tim Harford fact checks EU trade deals with Africa, and whether one drink is one too many

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Tim Harford fact checks EU trade deals with Africa, and whether one drink is one too many<![CDATA[

Tim Harford fact checks EU trade deals with Africa, and whether one drink is one too many

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Fri, 31 Aug 2018 16:21:00 +00001417urn:bbc:podcast:p06jz6tlhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06jz6tlcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06jz6tl
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - Coffins Full of Car Keys<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Why we have interest rates, how we misunderstand them - and a curious coffin connection.<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Wed, 29 Aug 2018 11:30:00 +00001700urn:bbc:podcast:p06ghbh0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06ghbh0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06ghbh0
WS: More or Less - Automated fact-checking<![CDATA[

Computer programmes are being developed to combat fake news.

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Computer programmes are being developed to combat fake news.<![CDATA[

Computer programmes are being developed to combat fake news.

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Mon, 27 Aug 2018 09:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06jcsgrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06jcsgrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06jcsgr
A no-frills life, automated fact-checking and Lord-of-the-Rings maths<![CDATA[

What would have been the most efficient way to get to Mordor?

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What would have been the most efficient way to get to Mordor?<![CDATA[

What would have been the most efficient way to get to Mordor?

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Fri, 24 Aug 2018 16:02:00 +00001474urn:bbc:podcast:p06jcqp2http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06jcqp2cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06jcqp2
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - How Condoms Can Cost a Week’s Wages<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Inflation can change your sex life – and pretty much everything else.<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Wed, 22 Aug 2018 11:30:00 +00001679urn:bbc:podcast:p06gh9m4http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06gh9m4cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06gh9m4
WS More or Less: Are Wildfires Really Burning More Land?<![CDATA[

Are Wildfires in the United States and Southern Europe burning more land than before?

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Are Wildfires in the United States and Southern Europe burning more land than before?<![CDATA[

Are Wildfires in the United States and Southern Europe burning more land than before?

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Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:05:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06hzs5chttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06hzs5ccleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06hzs5c
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - Bracelets for Bullets<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Why an Essex mum wanted her jewellery melted down and what it says about government debt<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:30:00 +00001686urn:bbc:podcast:p06gcjymhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06gcjymcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06gcjym
Numbers Behind a Tweetstorm<![CDATA[

How do you get a hashtag to trend around the world?

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How do you get a hashtag to trend around the world?<![CDATA[

How do you get a hashtag to trend around the world?

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Fri, 10 Aug 2018 15:00:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06h3ttkhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06h3ttkcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06h3ttk
BONUS PODCAST: Economics with Subtitles - How Buying Cocaine Helps the Government<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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The surprising story of GDP and whether it's time to change how we measure our economy<![CDATA[

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 KeanePresenters: Ayeisha Thomas-Smith & Steve Bugeja

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Wed, 08 Aug 2018 11:30:00 +00001710urn:bbc:podcast:p06gch89http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06gch89cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06gch89
Carbs, Sugar and the Truth<![CDATA[

Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar?

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Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar?<![CDATA[

Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar?

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Fri, 03 Aug 2018 16:00:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p06ghjwnhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06ghjwncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06ghjwn
Getting Creative with Statistics<![CDATA[

How big are your testicl*s and what does that mean?

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How big are your testicl*s and what does that mean?<![CDATA[

How big are your testicl*s and what does that mean?

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Fri, 27 Jul 2018 16:17:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06fwrp9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06fwrp9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06fwrp9
Should we have smaller families to save the planet?<![CDATA[

Having one fewer child could be the biggest thing you do to reduce your carbon footprint

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Having one fewer child could be the biggest thing you do to reduce your carbon footprint<![CDATA[

Having one fewer child could be the biggest thing you do to reduce your carbon footprint

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Mon, 23 Jul 2018 19:00:00 +0000622urn:bbc:podcast:p06f8v8qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06f8v8qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06f8v8q
How to Cycle Really Fast<![CDATA[

How much better are the pros than the rest of us and how effective is slipstreaming?

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How much better are the pros than the rest of us and how effective is slipstreaming?<![CDATA[

How much better are the pros than the rest of us and how effective is slipstreaming?

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Fri, 20 Jul 2018 15:17:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06f8xmbhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06f8xmbcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06f8xmb
Are there more stars than grains of beach sand?<![CDATA[

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).

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Stars vs Sand. We work out who wins the ultimate cosmic battle.<![CDATA[

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).

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Fri, 06 Jul 2018 16:03:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06d1xw0http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06d1xw0cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06d1xw0
Running at the World Cup<![CDATA[

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 McDonaldProducer: Richard Vadon

(Picture: Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates scoring against Saudi Arabia. Credit: Xin Li/Getty Images)

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Is it strange that Russian football players have run such big distances?<![CDATA[

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 McDonaldProducer: Richard Vadon

(Picture: Artem Dzyuba of Russia celebrates scoring against Saudi Arabia. Credit: Xin Li/Getty Images)

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Fri, 29 Jun 2018 16:20:00 +0000615urn:bbc:podcast:p06cfz4hhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06cfz4hcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06cfz4h
How many words do you need to speak a language?<![CDATA[

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

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How many words do you need to speak a language and how many do native speakers use?<![CDATA[

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

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Fri, 22 Jun 2018 15:03:00 +0000538urn:bbc:podcast:p06bv4lthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06bv4ltcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06bv4lt
FIFA World Cup Extravaganza<![CDATA[

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)

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How the ‘beautiful game’ has changed…through numbers.<![CDATA[

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)

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Fri, 15 Jun 2018 14:54:00 +0000539urn:bbc:podcast:p06b64sxhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06b64sxcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p06b64sx
WS More or Less: How Many Animals are Born Every Day?<![CDATA[

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’.

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From penguins to nematodes - is it possible to count how many animals are born every day?<![CDATA[

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’.

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Sun, 10 Jun 2018 23:01:00 +0000903urn:bbc:podcast:p069jlnyhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p069jlnycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p069jlny
Infant Mortality, How to Reduce Exam Revision With Maths, London’s Murder Rate<![CDATA[

(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?

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Tim Harford explains how maths can help lazy students can reduce their revision workload<![CDATA[

(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?

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Fri, 08 Jun 2018 16:00:00 +00001461urn:bbc:podcast:p069jd0phttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p069jd0pcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p069jd0p
Counting Rough Sleepers<![CDATA[

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?

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How do you count the number of people sleeping rough?<![CDATA[

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?

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Mon, 04 Jun 2018 08:04:00 +0000734urn:bbc:podcast:p0691r44http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0691r44cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0691r44
The High Street, Home Births and Harry Potter Wizardry<![CDATA[

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)

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Is WH Smith really the worst shop on the High Street?<![CDATA[

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)

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Fri, 01 Jun 2018 17:25:00 +00001242urn:bbc:podcast:p068w7c8http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p068w7c8cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p068w7c8
WS More or Less: Australia Calling<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker

(Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)

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Do one in seven businessmen throw out their underwear after wearing them once?<![CDATA[

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 HarfordProducers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker

(Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)

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Mon, 28 May 2018 09:00:00 +0000671urn:bbc:podcast:p068805qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p068805qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p068805q
Forecasting rain, teabags and voter ID trials<![CDATA[

(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?

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How to read the weather forecast, plus measuring the amount of tea we drink.<![CDATA[

(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?

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Fri, 25 May 2018 16:44:00 +00001428urn:bbc:podcast:p0688221http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0688221cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0688221
WS More or Less: James Comey - Basketball Superstar?<![CDATA[

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)

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Does being very tall improve your chances of becoming a professional basketball player?<![CDATA[

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)

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Mon, 21 May 2018 09:00:00 +0000544urn:bbc:podcast:p067kzylhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p067kzylcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p067kzyl
Poverty, Progress 8 and how green is grass?<![CDATA[

(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

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Are more working families in poverty? Plus exploring the new school league tables.<![CDATA[

(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

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Fri, 18 May 2018 16:20:00 +00001440urn:bbc:podcast:p067kzbnhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p067kzbncleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p067kzbn
WS More or Less: Tulipmania mythology<![CDATA[

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.

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What is the truth behind the 17th Century Dutch craze for Tulips?<![CDATA[

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.

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Mon, 14 May 2018 09:00:00 +0000664urn:bbc:podcast:p066xbxrhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066xbxrcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p066xbxr
Abortion, modern slavery, math versus maths<![CDATA[

(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?

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The British abortion statistics gaining attention in Ireland's referendum debate<![CDATA[

(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?

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Fri, 11 May 2018 16:21:00 +00001406urn:bbc:podcast:p066x9fhhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p066x9fhcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p066x9fh
WS More or Less: Exposing the biases we have of the world<![CDATA[

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.

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Statistician Hans Rosling’s family talk about the book they co-wrote about preconceptions<![CDATA[

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.

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Mon, 07 May 2018 09:00:00 +0000588urn:bbc:podcast:p0668k2qhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0668k2qcleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0668k2q
Cancer screening, the Windrush Generation, Audiograms<![CDATA[

(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 HarfordProducer: Charlotte McDonaldEditor: Richard Vadon

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Calculating the benefits and risks of breast screening. Plus, patchy citizenship data.<![CDATA[

(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 HarfordProducer: Charlotte McDonaldEditor: Richard Vadon

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Fri, 04 May 2018 16:33:00 +00001429urn:bbc:podcast:p0668l1yhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0668l1ycleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p0668l1y
WS More or Less: Puerto Rico - statistics versus politics<![CDATA[

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 LambleProducer: Kate Lamble

(Photo: Damage to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: The La Perla neighbourhood, San Juan. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.)

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Why some fear the statistics authority is about to lose its independence<![CDATA[

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 LambleProducer: Kate Lamble

(Photo: Damage to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria: The La Perla neighbourhood, San Juan. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.)

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Sun, 29 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0000638urn:bbc:podcast:p065jzd9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p065jzd9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p065jzd9
Straws, women on boards, plus animals born each day<![CDATA[

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”)

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Measuring plastic pollution, female FTSE directors and counting animal offspring.<![CDATA[

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”)

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Fri, 27 Apr 2018 16:22:00 +00001422urn:bbc:podcast:p065k2v9http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p065k2v9cleanBBC Radio 4/programmes/p065k2v9
WS More or Less: How Should We Think About Spending?<![CDATA[

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)

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Tim Harford talks to economist Dan Ariely about the psychology of money.<![CDATA[

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