More or Less: Behind the Stats

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. A half-hour programme broadcast at 1600 on Friday afternoons and repeated at 2000 on Sundays on Radio 4. BBC World Service broadcasts a short edition over the weekend.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • WS Numbers of the Year part 1. 20 Dec 14

    Sat, 20 Dec 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    What is so special about 39,222 Mexican teachers? In the first of three episodes looking back at 2014, Mexico specialist Professor Carlos Vilalta tells Tim Harford. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • WS Soviet World War Deaths 12 Dec 14

    Sat, 13 Dec 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Did almost 80% of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 not survive World War Two, as has been claimed online? Plus: the problem with China’s economic figures. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • WS Zimbabwe's Economy 05 Dec 14

    Sat, 6 Dec 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Zimbabwe’s budget provided a fascinating insight into the country’s economy last week. Ben Carter looks at what the numbers mean for the future prosperity of Zimbabwe and the challenges the nation faces. The programme hears from David Blair, Chief Foreign Correspondent at The Daily Telegraph, Julian Rademeyer, director of fact checking website Africa Check and Russell Lamberti, author of When Money Destroys Nations.This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • Teenage Pregnancy 28 Nov 14

    Sat, 29 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    "About one-third of American girls become pregnant as teenagers” a recent article claimed. More or Less asks if this is true and looks at the long-term pregnancy trends in developed countries. Plus: Does 55% of communication really come from body language and gestures, 38% from facial expression and only 7% from words? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • WS Caps off to Rooney 21 Nov 14

    Sat, 22 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    England captain Wayne Rooney made his 100th appearance last weekend but former England star Chris Waddle claims that it’s easier to win caps now than it was in previous generations. Wesley Stephenson asks whether Waddle is right and how many caps would greats like Bobby Moore, Maradona and Pele have won if they’d played in today’s era. Plus the programme hears from Professor Carlos Vilalta from the University of California San Diego and Steven Dudley from Insight Crime about claims that “98% of homicides in Mexico are unsolved.” An amazing statistic but is it true? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • WS Pregnancy and Homicide 14 Nov 14

    Sat, 15 Nov 14

    Duration:
    11 mins

    The movie Gone Girl claims homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant women. Ruth Alexander asks Dr Katherine Gold from the University of Michigan if this is true. And can we trust country rankings seen in the growing number of performance indices? We speak to the Economist’s international editor Helen Joyce. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • Tracking and Tackling Ebola 07 Nov 14

    Sat, 8 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Hans Rosling, global health expert and data visionary, has just arrived in Liberia. He is working as an independent professor at the Health ministry there, as part of the team tracking and tackling Ebola. We talk to him about the latest numbers surrounding the virus. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • WS Kidney Donation 31 Oct 14

    Sat, 1 Nov 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    The chance of a successful kidney match between two unrelated people has increased significantly in the past 10 years - why? Ruth Alexander speaks to Professor Anthony Warrens, president of the British Transplantation Society. And we find out for our loyal listener how many individuals he will need to create a new race of people. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • Screening for Ebola 24 Oct 14

    Sat, 25 Oct 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Are airport screenings for Ebola really an effective way of stopping transmission of the disease? And as the United Nations asks for another $1bn (£625m) in aid we take a look at which governments and charities are rallying to the cause and which are not. This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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  • WS Big Data 17 Oct 14

    Sat, 18 Oct 14

    Duration:
    10 mins

    Big data has been enjoying a lot of hype, with promises it will help deliver everything from increased corporate profits to better healthcare. While the potential is certainly there, Tim Harford asks if the hype is blinding us to some basic statistical lessons learned over the past two-hundred years? This programme was first broadcast on the BBC World Service.

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