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01/10/2010

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 01 October 2010

Gay Britain

According to recent Office for National Statistics figures the UK has fewer gay, lesbian and bisexual people living in it than we thought. But gay rights groups have questioned the number. Why is it so much lower than previous estimates? More or Less investigates.

Paying for bankers' mistakes

The Irish Central Bank has released an estimate of the total cost of bailing out its banking sector: about 45bn euros, or £39bn. We ask a favourite More or Less question: is that really a big number?

"Needless" deaths?

"More than 70 children may have died needlessly after heart surgery" claimed a recent Sunday Telegraph headline. But the story was based on research led by David Spiegelhalter, a medical statistician and no stranger to More or Less, who thinks the reporter misunderstood his numbers.

The PM 's pay

Last week we noted that the prime minister's salary has become a convenient benchmark against which other public sector workers' pay is measured. But you wanted us to go further and work out the PM's total reward. So we have.

The micromort

We examine the micromort, a cheeky little unit of risk, with Matt Parker, the "stand up mathematician". Matt's show at the Edinburgh Fringe was a raging success (which is what we'd expect of a show about maths).

Police numbers

An HMIC report in July claimed that only 11% of police officers are available to respond to incidents at any one time. Since then the number - generally summarised as 1 in 10 - has been widely quoted. The implication, it seems, is that while one officer is fighting crime, the other 9 are holed up in the police station eating donuts or form-filling. But with the help of listener Tim Treffry we examine whether that's really the conclusion we should draw.

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  • FOLLOW TIM HARFORD ON TWITTER

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    Author of The Undercover Economist; Financial Times columnist; presenter of More or Less, Radio 4.

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  • FROM THE ARCHIVE

    FROM THE ARCHIVE

    We lifted the lid on the 'standardised mortality ratio'- a controversial statistic used to estimate the number of patients who died because of poor care at Mid Staffordhire hospital.

    Read more and listen to the programme
  • Radio 4 Mathematics Collection

    Radio 4 Mathematics Collection

    Listen to more maths programmes

Broadcasts

Podcasts

  1. Image for 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…

  2. Image for Tim Harford: Pop-Up Ideas

    Tim Harford: Pop-Up Ideas

    Tim Harford – in the company of Malcolm Gladwell, David Kilcullen and Gillian Tett – uses key…

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