More or Less: Behind the Stats podcast

More or Less: Behind the Stats

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From 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

 

#935

Tackling The Three-Body Problem

Netflix has a big new show named after and inspired by a classic problem in astrophysics, 'The Three Body Problem', where predicting the course and orbits of three or more celestial bodies proves near impossible. But how faithful is the Netflix show - and original novel - to the actual physics? Dr Anna Lisa Varri from the University of Edinburgh explains what we can and can't say about the complex and beautiful motions of planets, stars and moons, and brings a dose of scientific facts to science fiction. Presenter: Kate Lamble Producer: Nathan Gower Sound Engineer: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

Yesterday

08 MINS

08:58

Yesterday


#934

Is loneliness as bad for you as smoking?

Is loneliness as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes per day? That’s the claim circulating on social media. We trace this stat back to its source and speak the scientist behind the original research on which it is based, Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad. Presenter / series producer: Tom Colls Reporter: Perisha Kudhail Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

06 Apr 2024

08 MINS

08:57

06 Apr 2024


#933

Remembering Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel prize-winning behavioural economist and More or Less hero, has died at the age of 90. Tim Harford explains his ideas and influence. Presenter: Charlotte McDonald Series producer: Tom Colls Sound mix: Hal Haines Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

30 Mar 2024

08 MINS

08:58

30 Mar 2024


#932

Bonus episode: Daniel Kahneman on Thinking, Fast and Slow

In an episode of More or Less from 2012, Daniel Kahneman – the Nobel prize-winning behavioural economist who has died at the age of 90 – explains the big ideas in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow. ... Read more

28 Mar 2024

09 MINS

09:12

28 Mar 2024


#931

What's happening to Arctic ice?

The area of ice covering the Arctic ocean has been in a state of long decline, as climate change takes effect. But recent fluctuations in the ice have been seized on by climate change sceptics, who say it tells a different story. We speak to polar climate scientist Professor Julienne Stroeve to better understand how to read the ice data. Presenter / producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

25 Mar 2024

09 MINS

09:48

25 Mar 2024


#930

Does the Russian government really spend 40% of its budget on the military?

According to the head of the British military, the Russian government spends 40% of its budget on its war machine. But is it true? With the help of Professor Bettina Renz from Nottingham University and Dr Richard Connolly from The Royal United Services Institute, Olga Smirnova investigates the figure. Presenter: Tom Colls Producer: Olga Smirnova Production Co-ordinator Katie Morrison Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Graham Puddifoot Editor: Richard Vadon Image: Russian Military Perform Victory Day Parade Night Rehearsal in Moscow Credit: (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images) ... Read more

16 Mar 2024

08 MINS

08:58

16 Mar 2024


#929

Is public speaking really our biggest fear?

For over 50 years it’s been widely reported that speaking before a group is people’s number one fear. But is it really true? With the help of Dr Karen Kangas Dwyer, a former Professor in the School of Communication at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Dr Christopher Bader, Professor of Sociology at Chapman University, Tim Harford tracks the source of the claim back to the 1970’s and explores whether it was true then, and whether it’s true today. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon Picture Credit: vchal via Getty ... Read more

09 Mar 2024

08 MINS

08:58

09 Mar 2024


#928

Ultramarathons: Are women faster than men?

As running races get longer, the gap between male and female competitors seems to close. Tim Harford and Lucy Proctor investigate the claim that when the race is 195 miles long, women overtake men to become the fastest runners. Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Lucy Proctor Producers: Nathan Gower and Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (Image:Male and female running together up a mountain trail. Credit: nattrass via Getty) ... Read more

02 Mar 2024

08 MINS

08:58

02 Mar 2024


#927

School spending, excess deaths and billions of animals at Heathrow

Is school funding at record levels as the education secretary claimed? Why did the ONS change how they measure excess deaths? Is there a shoplifting epidemic? Did 6.5bn creatures arrive in the UK by plane last year? Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower, Perisha Kudhail, Debbie Richford and Olga Smirnova Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Sound mix: Sarah Hockley Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

28 Feb 2024

28 MINS

28:59

28 Feb 2024


#926

NBA basketball: Is height more important than skill?

In the NBA, the US professional basketball league, the average player is a shade over 6ft 6 inches tall. So just how much does being very tall increase a man’s chances of becoming a professional player? Tim Harford talks to data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author of Who Makes the NBA?: Data-Driven Answers to Basketball’s Biggest Questions. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: David Crackles Editor: Richard Vadon (Image: Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks. Credit: Focus on Sport/Getty Images) ... Read more

24 Feb 2024

08 MINS

08:59

24 Feb 2024


#925

Per capita GDP, MP claims and the entire EU budget

What does per capita GDP tell us about the UK economy? Did the government spend £94bn helping with rising energy prices? Was Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg right about the cost of the EU covid recovery scheme? How did Ben Goldacre persuade scientists to publish all their medical research? Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Reporters: Nathan Gower and Lucy Proctor Producers: Debbie Richford, Perisha Kudhail, Olga Smirnova Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Katie Morrison Sound mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

21 Feb 2024

28 MINS

28:23

21 Feb 2024


#924

The digital ‘robots’ unlocking medical data

Big medical datasets pose a serious problem. Thousands of patients’ health records are an enormous risk to personal privacy. But they also contain an enormous opportunity – they could show us how to provide better treatments or more effective health policies. A system called OpenSAFELY has been designed to solve this problem, with the help of a computer code “robot”. Professor Ben Goldacre, director of the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science at the University of Oxford, explains how it works. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Janet Staples Sound mix: Hal Haines Editor: Charlotte McDonald ... Read more

17 Feb 2024

09 MINS

09:47

17 Feb 2024


#923

Debt, students, shark and chips

What is the government’s fiscal rule on the national debt? Are international students stealing places from the UK’s young people? How much social housing is really being built? Do 90% of chip shops sell shark and chips? Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Janet Staples Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Charlotte McDonald ... Read more

14 Feb 2024

28 MINS

28:35

14 Feb 2024


#922

The global gender split in young people’s politics

In a surprising new trend, young men and women around the world are dividing by gender on their politics and ideologies. Whilst young women are becoming more liberal, young men are becoming more conservative. Tim Harford speaks to John Burn-Murdoch, Columnist and Chief Data Reporter at the Financial Times, about why this global phenomena may be occurring and Dr Heejung Chung, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, explains why the ideological divisions between young men and women in South Korea are some of the most extreme. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom Colls Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon (Picture: A couple with their back to each other busy with their mobile phones Credit: Martin DM / Getty) ... Read more

10 Feb 2024

08 MINS

08:58

10 Feb 2024


#921

Council tax weirdness: Hartlepool vs Westminster

Do you really pay more in council tax on a semi in Hartlepool than a mansion in Westminster? How do the Office for National Statistics work out how much the UK population is going to grow by? How much do junior doctor strikes cost? Is home grown veg worse for climate change than veg grown on a farm? Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news. Presenter: Tim Harford Producers: Nathan Gower, Debbie Richford and Perisha Kudhail Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon ... Read more

07 Feb 2024

28 MINS

28:43

07 Feb 2024