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More or Less: Behind the Stats

Author: BBC Radio 4

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Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4
509 Episodes
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Election Special (2/2)

Election Special (2/2)

2019-12-1000:27:581

Labour's spending plans, Conservatives claims on homelessness, the SNP's education record
Tree Planting Pledges

Tree Planting Pledges

2019-12-0600:08:583

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
Election Special 1/2

Election Special 1/2

2019-12-0300:27:503

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
Testing tomatoes

Testing tomatoes

2019-11-2900:08:582

Have these saucy fruits become less healthy over time?
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 VadonImage: Freighter ships in Thessaloniki, GreeceCredit: Getty Images
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s longest-serving leader and first indigenous president, stepped down last week amid weeks of protests sparked by a dispute over a recent presidential election in the country. His opponents say the election was rigged but the embattled former president said it was a cunning coup. We take a closer look at the election results and ask if statistics can tell whether it was fair or fraudulent.Dr Calla Hummel of the University of Miami and Professor Romulo Chumacero of the University of Chile join Ruth Alexander to discuss.
Reducing your risk of death

Reducing your risk of death

2019-11-0900:20:272

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
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)
Social worker and economist Edith Abbott and her contribution to crime statistics.
Discussing Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer’s economics Nobel Prize.
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.
Are the shocking statistics true? and how do you count people who don't wish to be found?
Dissecting the government’s hospitals announcement and President Trump’s Ukraine claims.
Were a third of those that fought for Britain in WW1 black or Asian?
Has Austerity caused 120 thousand deaths in the UK and does God hate men?
Using statistics to compare world records in athletics and swimming.
Health risks for Presidential hopefuls, falling inflation, shark deaths and salary claims
Are eight people a day murdered in Cape Town and is that number unusually high?
Are black women five times more likely to die in childbirth? Plus making pop music.
Has it increased significantly since President Bolsonaro took office in January?
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Comments (15)

stephen murray

do the salaries comparisons allow for cash payments? and wouldn't HMRC be a better source of data than ONS for "official" incomes?

Sep 21st
Reply

Owen Thurgate

Well, I have to say the research on this one wasn't really up to the usual More or Less high standards. Speaking as a professional forester I can safely say a novice planter could easily plant 300 seedlings in a day and a motivated experienced person would comfortably reach a 1000. Additionally, seedling trees from a nursery cost a matter of cents/pence per tree a far cry from the costs you quoted. Together these figures make the project entirely feasible, requiring only 700,000 people to plant 500 trees each or 1.4 million to plant 250 trees each, not far of the rate for a novice. The costs for that number of two year old seedlings in the UK probably in the region of £55m, possibly less in Eithiopia.

Aug 27th
Reply

Hans Dampf

"Nucular"? Really?

Jul 7th
Reply

Martin Crook

glad to hear that the scientist is an advocate of the nonlinear Theory model of radiation risk. something the nuclear industry has been lobbying hard to discredit

Jun 22nd
Reply

Michael Jiggens

No need to worry then, let's just get fat and ill.

Mar 2nd
Reply

Michael Jiggens

Ah good, no need to worry then... Let's just carry on as we are, business as usual. It's difficult to convey sarcasm in the comments section, but I tried.

Mar 2nd
Reply

Adam Borwne

tried searching for Economics with Subtitles on castbox but it returned no results. anyone know if it's going to be added?

Aug 29th
Reply

Ilona Pinter

could you look at the stats on undocumented migrants in the UK? as far as I know there are only estimates at the moment (eg LSE study, compas research) but no official statistics. it's unclear what stats the government relies on this. they don't accept the estimates but don't seem to offer any alternatives.

Jun 22nd
Reply

R Knox

excellent podcast, really brings stats to life!

Apr 26th
Reply

Gabriele Gnozza

lettori. .zampata. .stai. ?

Jan 12th
Reply (4)

Gabriele Gnozza

Non uso matrimonio le. ..docce. cielo. .l'allarme. ?maniche x che Ciao. Rino nell'opinione

Jan 12th
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