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Abortion, Modern slavery, Math versus maths

The British abortion statistics gaining attention in Ireland's referendum debate, plus counting the number of modern slaves in the UK.

The UK abortion statistics gaining attention in Ireland's referendum debate

In two weeks' time the Republic of Ireland is holding a referendum into whether to make changes to its strict abortion laws. We have been inundated with emails and Tweets from listeners asking us to look at some of the statistics that keep coming up during the course of the campaigns for and against changing the law. The one that has caught the most attention is a statistic which has appeared on posters saying: "In Britain, "Limited" abortion kills 1 in 5 babies." We take a look at the numbers.


How good are political and economic forecasts? Philip Tetlock, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania collects forecasts from a wide range of experts to see if they come true or not. One nickname he has for some the best forecasters is the "foxes" - not to be confused with the woeful "hedgehogs".

Modern Slavery

Former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross asked us to look into the numbers of 'modern slaves' reported in the UK. We explore the definition of modern slavery and how the authorities create estimates of the size of what is largely a hidden phenomenon.

Math versus Maths

North Americans like to use the word 'math' while the Brits like to say 'maths' - but who is correct? We hear the case for both words and try work out which one is right, with the help of the Queen of Countdown's Dictionary Corner, Susie Dent.

Available now

28 minutes


  • Fri 11 May 2018 16:30
  • Sun 13 May 2018 20:00

Explore further with The Open University

Explore further with The Open University

Visit The Open University’s More or Less pages on OpenLearn

When can you trust statistics?

When can you trust statistics?

BBC Ideas discovers three easy ways to help make sense of statistics.

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