DiscoverMore or Less: Behind the Stats
More or Less: Behind the Stats
Claim Ownership

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Author: BBC Radio 4

Subscribed: 57,190Played: 1,104,412
Share

Description

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4
572 Episodes
Reverse
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.
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.
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.
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.
Covid plasma therapy

Covid plasma therapy

2020-08-2627:564

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?
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?
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.
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.
Melting Antarctic ice

Melting Antarctic ice

2020-08-0808:582

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)
Covid in Africa

Covid in Africa

2020-08-0110:074

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
Tim Harford speaks to Steven Johnson about William Farr and the birth of epidemiology in the 1800s.
Tim Harford talks to statistician Ola Rosling about his research into misconceptions about Covid-19. And an update on the epidemic in the US.
Sweden’s lockdown lite

Sweden’s lockdown lite

2020-07-1114:418

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 Harford Producer: 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
Are cases really rising in the US or are they just testing more? Tim digs into the data.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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?
loading
Comments (20)

Nahed abu-asbeh

Thank u for the info. I have a question: is it possible to to wash the medical mast and reuse it?

Apr 15th
Reply (1)

Andy Jones

Why do you keep repeating segments? Annoying starting an episode only to listen to what I have already heard in the previous cast.

Mar 29th
Reply (1)

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 (7)

Gabriele Gnozza

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

Jan 12th
Reply
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store