More or Less: Behind the Stats
More or Less: Behind the Stats
BBC Radio 4
Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4
NASA’s asteroid collision: how many asteroids are really out there?
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 Maybin Producer: Charlotte McDonald Editor: Richard Vadon Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: James Beard (Image: 3D rendering of a swarm of Meteorites or asteroids entering the Earth atmosphere: ratpack223/ Getty)
Sep 30
9 min
Falling pound, the Queen’s funeral and is 0.5 on the Richter scale a big number?
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 Harford Series Producer: Jon Bithrey Reporters: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan Gower Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: James Beard
Sep 28
29 min
Ukraine’s progress in numbers
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 Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Neil Churchill
Sep 23
10 min
Ukraine offensive, weak pound & how much do women really exercise
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 Harford Series producer: Jon Bithrey Reporters: Charlotte McDonald, Nathan Gower Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Editor: Richard Vadon
Sep 22
28 min
How bad is fashion for the environment?
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 Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar (Image: Models display outfits / BBC images/Susana Vera/Reuters)
Sep 16
8 min
Energy crisis plan, imperial measures survey, gardens v national parks
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 Harford Series producer: Jon Bithrey Reporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonald Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Editor: Richard Vadon
Sep 14
28 min
Is a third of Pakistan really under water?
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 Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Editor: Richard Vadon Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Sound 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)
Sep 9
8 min
Pakistan flooding, UK power prices and Boris’s broadband claim
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 Harford Series producer: Jon Bithrey Reporters: Nathan Gower, Charlotte McDonald Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Editor: Richard Vadon
Sep 7
28 min
Can we use maths to beat the robots?
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 Harford Producer: Jon Bithrey Sound Engineer: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinator: Jacqui Johnson Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Digital generated image of artificial intelligence robot scanning the data: Getty / Andriy Onufriyenko)
Sep 2
8 min
Energy prices, excess deaths and the race to count to 200
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.
Aug 31
28 min
Load more