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11/10/2016 Gmt20161011

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

19/01/2016 GMT20160119

19/01/2016 GMT20160119

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

25/10/2016 Gmt20161025

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

27/09/2016 Gmt20160927

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

BBC Trending20141117

Activists in Libya have been receiving threats online from people who do not like their views. Some have even been assassinated. The killing of 18-year-old prominent activist Tawfik Bensaud two months ago provoked anger online and there was an outpouring of support using the hashtag #IamTawfik. But more recently many activists have kept a low profile online after they were directly threatened on a number of Facebook pages.

Presenter Mukul Devichand speaks to Tawfik Bensaud’s cousin Huda El Khoja, and to one of the founders of Libyan Youth Movement on Facebook, Ayat Mneina. He is joined in the studio by Mohamed Madi of BBC World Online

BBC Trending: Online Rape Stories – Truth or Fiction?20160118

BBC Trending: Online Rape Stories – Truth or Fiction?20160118

On this week’s programme,

Two stories about rape in South Africa; one about a woman who posted about her experience on Instagram to find people didn’t believe her and another which gripped the nation but was totally made up.

Presented by Anne-Marie Tomchak @AMTomchak - with Nkem Ifejika @Nkemifejika and Emma Wilson @EmmaWilson1.

Produced by Estelle Doyle.

Image credit: Shutterstock

BBC Trending: Are British Muslim Women ‘Traditionally Submissive’?20160201

BBC Trending: Are British Muslim Women ‘Traditionally Submissive’?20160201

Are British Muslim women ‘traditionally submissive?’ Women respond with #traditionallysubmissive online following reported comments by the British prime minister. BBC Trending speaks to Shelina Janmohamed who started the hashtag.

(Photo: Shelina Janmohamed, courstesy of S. Janmohamed)

BBC Trending: Being ‘Black on Campus’20151116

BBC Trending: Being ‘Black on Campus’20151116

Black students protesting against racism in Missouri have attracted global attention all week. The head of the university has resigned. But there are now signs that the online campaign has spread to other campuses across the United States as students share their experiences of being ‘Black on Campus.’

(Image: Mizzou Legacy Circle, Image Credit: Michael B. Thomas / Getty)

BBC Trending: Being White In Taiwan20151123

BBC Trending: Being White In Taiwan20151123

Smartphone footage of an Englishman being racially abused in Taiwan has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube. We ask what the video tells us about Taiwanese culture, and how ‘foreigners’ – and Westerners in particular – are perceived in the country.

(Photo: A Taiwanese man who racially abuses an Englishman. Credit: DreamLucid/YouTube)

BBC Trending: Blessers’ - South Africa’s Sugar Daddy Problem20160523

BBC Trending: Blessers’ - South Africa’s Sugar Daddy Problem20160523

In South Africa a 'blesser' is a man who showers gifts and money on women in exchange for a relationship or sex. An online backlash against these sugar daddies has been trending this week. Even the health minister has spoken out because of fears the blesser phenomenon is contributing to high rates of HIV among young women.

(Photo: Wine and roses. Credit: iStock)

BBC Trending: Body Image Trends20160104

BBC Trending: Body Image Trends20160104

Anne-Marie Tomchak discusses with Mukul Devichand the body image trends that got people talking in 2015.

(Image Credit: Ajay Rochester / Stefania Ferrario, YouTube)

BBC Trending: Calling Out the Trolls20151207

BBC Trending: Calling Out the Trolls20151207

Meet Clementine Ford, the Australian columnist who was bombarded by misogynistic abuse on Facebook. She reported one of her trolls to his employer, and it cost him his job.

Produced by Sam Judah.

(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

BBC Trending: Can Rap Incite Crime?20161003

BBC Trending: Can Rap Incite Crime?20161003

Controversy has erupted in the US over a hip hop song that offers a step-by-step guide to committing burglary and contains lyrics suggesting criminals target Chinese homes. We talk to one of the protestors who is trying to get the track banned.

(Photo: Rapper YG attends the 10th Annual BMI Urban Awards. Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images)

BBC Trending: Can Rap Incite Crime?20161003

Controversy has erupted in the US over a hip hop song that offers a step-by-step guide to committing burglary and contains lyrics suggesting criminals target Chinese homes. We talk to one of the protestors who is trying to get the track banned.

(Photo: Rapper YG attends the 10th Annual BMI Urban Awards. Credit: David Livingston/Getty Images)

BBC Trending: Can You Ever Stop a Meme?20160215

BBC Trending: Can You Ever Stop a Meme?20160215

What would you do if you saw a cruel meme mocking your son?

Alice-Ann Meyer decided to act when this happened to her son. Jameson is four years old and has Pfeiffer Syndrome which can affect cranial and facial features. A meme was created using his picture, comparing him to a dog.

Alice-Ann speaks to BBC Trending about how she successfully removed the meme with an army of fellow parents.

Image: Jameson with birthday cake

Image credit: Jameson's Journey

BBC Trending: Cash For Catastrophes?20160829

BBC Trending: Cash For Catastrophes?20160829

Meet Kim O’Connor, the woman who filmed a boy fall into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo – moments before the animal was shot dead. Kim had no intention of making a profit at the time, but three months later she has made tens of thousands of dollars by licensing the clip to a specialist agency.

We delve into the world of viral video trading, speaking to the people who acquire and sell viral footage – some of it entertaining, some of it tragic – as well as the news organisations (the BBC included) that buy it.

Produced by Sam Judah.

Photo caption: Aftermath of the Shoreham Airshow Crash / Photo credit: Peter Macdiarmid, Getty.

BBC Trending: China’s Online Search For Stolen Children20160125

BBC Trending: China’s Online Search For Stolen Children20160125

An image of a three-year-old girl being abducted has flooded social media in China. The girl has now been found, but the search sheds light on the country's huge digital campaigns trying to return tens of thousands of missing children to their parents.

Presented by Chris Foxx @thisisFoxx with Kerry Allen @kerrya11en, Anisa Subedar @OnlyAnisa and Nooshin Soluch.

(Photo: CCTV of child. Credit: Huaxi Metropolis Daily)

BBC Trending: China’s Rush For Divorce.20160905

BBC Trending: China’s Rush For Divorce.20160905

Happy couples in Shanghai have been rushing to divorce because of rumours of rules change that would make it more expensive for them to buy property.

(Photo Credit to Think Stock)

BBC Trending: China’s Tampon Taboo20160822

BBC Trending: China’s Tampon Taboo20160822

It’s not every day that you hear someone talking about their menstrual cycle live on TV. And it’s even more rare if that person is an Olympic athlete from China. But that’s what happened this week when swimmer Fu Yuanhui, admitted she wasn’t at her best because of period pains. It’s opened up a whole new conversation about tampons in China - a country where some have never even heard of them.

Produced by Kate Lamble and Sam Judah

Photo: Swimmer Fu Yuanhui / Photo credit: Gabriel Buoys / Getty

BBC Trending: Defending the #A4waist Challenge20160328

BBC Trending: Defending the #A4waist Challenge20160328

Some Chinese women have been defending the #A4waist challenge, the latest social media craze where women compare the size of their waists to an A4 piece of paper.

Ruan is a 20 year old student living in Canada who took part in the challenge.

She explains why she did and responds to the critics who say it’s ‘unhealthy’.

Photo credit: Yuzhu Ruan Instagram @ryz.jr

BBC Trending: Dinkan the Cartoon Mouse God20160411

BBC Trending: Dinkan the Cartoon Mouse God20160411

Dinkoism is an Indian religion whose followers worship a cartoon mouse with superpowers. More than 40,000 people like the group’s worldwide Facebook pages and this month they’re even marching to try and become recognised as a religious minority. But Dinkoism was really set up by atheists in the state of Kerala to parody organised religions and many people have found it offensive.

BBC Trending’s Kate Lamble talks to Anne-Marie Tomchak about the rise of Dinkan.

Produced by Anisa Subedar.

Photo credit: jith.in

Bbc Trending: Disabled 'promposals'20160509

‘Promposals’ (that’s prom proposals for most of us) have been sweeping the internet recently. But some of the videos that have gained the most attention are those of students asking their disabled friends to the high school dance. They’ve gained a mixed reaction online, so is this recent trend inspirational or insulting to disabled people?

Produced by Emma Wilson

Photo credit: Amy Wright

BBC Trending: Do Men Need ‘Consent Lessons’?20151026

BBC Trending: Do Men Need ‘Consent Lessons’?20151026

We meet the man who caused an uproar online when he said he didn’t need ‘consent lessons’. The classes are on offer in a number of British universities to tackle both rape and sexual assault. We speak to the woman who designed one of the courses, and says they are absolutely necessary.

(Photo Credit: George Lawlor)

BBC Trending: Does Airbnb Have a Race Problem?20160516

BBC Trending: Does Airbnb Have a Race Problem?20160516

The hashtag #Airbnbwhileblack has been trending after African American twitter users accused some homeowners on the room booking website of rejecting them because of their skin colour. Greg Selden from Virginia says when he used fake white profiles he was accepted at properties who had previously said the room was unavailable.

(Photo: A man opens the door to an African woman. Credit: Airbnb publicity video)

BBC Trending: Does College ‘Party’ App Yeti Encourage Criminal Behaviour?20151214

BBC Trending: Does College ‘Party’ App Yeti Encourage Criminal Behaviour?20151214

An alleged sexual assault has surfaced through the controversial social network Yeti – Campus Stories, also dubbed a college ‘party’ app. How does it work, and why are so many students using it to upload illicit material?

Produced by Sam Judah.

Image: Students on bench / Image credit: Shutterstock)

BBC Trending: 'Don’t Buy Death'20160502

BBC Trending: 'Don’t Buy Death'20160502

Somalis have been using a hashtag to try and persuade young people to not to take the dangerous journey to Europe. #DhimashoHaGadan which translates as “Don’t buy death?, aims to counteract the positive pictures many emigrates post to social media, even though their new lives may not be as good as they seem.

Photo credit: Will Ross / BBC

BBC Trending: Don’t Punch Me! It’s A Prank20150824

BBC Trending: Don’t Punch Me! It’s A Prank20150824

Over the past year online pranks have continued to spiral and go viral. Pranksters like Vitaly, Joey Salads, FouseyTube and Prank vs Prank get billions of views but some of the videos have been pushing the boundaries and causing controversy. Punches have been pulled, slaps dealt out, and the authorities have stepped in. Is all fair in love, war and pranking? Or are the boundaries of funny bound to be broken?

Mukul Devichand is joined at the Edinburgh Festival by three obliging comedians; wind-up critic Nish Kumar, cheeky prank lover Kai Humphries and hoax sceptic Anna Morris

With interviews and clips from Vitaly, and the Etayyim Brothers

Produced by India Rakusen.

(Photo Credit: BBC at Edinburgh)

BBC Trending: Facebook and Marijuana20160222

BBC Trending: Facebook and Marijuana20160222

Mukul Devichand and Deirdre Finnerty take a look at Facebook’s decision to remove pages that advertise and promote the use and sale of recreational marijuana and hear from one company whose page was taken down. The sale of marijuana is legal in four states in America; however it’s still illegal under federal law.

Produced by Emma Wilson and Anisa Subedar.

Image: Cannabis plant

Image credit: AP Photo/Jim Mone, File

BBC Trending: Hashtag of the Year - #thedress20151228

BBC Trending: Hashtag of the Year - #thedress20151228

We revisit one of this year’s biggest talking point - #thedress. People around the world debated which colour it was - dark blue & black or white & gold.

For some, the debate suggested an existential crisis over the nature of sight and reality, which could go as far as harming interpersonal relationships. Others expressed their dismay at the triviality of the whole dispute.

Was discussing the dress a huge waste of time, or did we learn something in the process?

Produced by Estelle Doyle.

Image: Model in dress. Image credit: Roman Originals

BBC Trending: Hillary Clinton’s ‘Body Double’20160919

BBC Trending: Hillary Clinton’s ‘Body Double’20160919

Last week when Hillary Clinton almost collapsed at a 9/11 memorial, conspiracy theorists went into overdrive, falsely claiming the presidential candidate was using a body double to avoid questions about her health. We met the lookalike at the heart of the story.

(Photo: Teresa Barnwell dressed as Hillary Clinton. Credit: Teresa Barnwell)

Bbc Trending: Iran’s Sombre Soccer Victory20161017

When an important football match for Iran’s national team fell on a day of public mourning, the country’s religious leaders imposed strict rules on how fans could show their support. Cheering was banned, and only religious chanting would be tolerated. In response, Iranian social media users found an innovative way to support their team.

(Photo: Fist against grey background. Credit: Shutterstock)

BBC Trending: Should You Ask When Someone Plans To Have A Baby?20151005

BBC Trending: Should You Ask When Someone Plans To Have A Baby?20151005

Emily Bingham posted a short Facebook message saying we should all stop asking about other people’s reproductive plans. Her note struck a chord online and has been shared more than 70,000 times, mostly by people applauding her message.

(Photo: Sonogram, Photo Credit: Science Photo Library)

BBC Trending: South Carolina’s Clown Scare20160912

BBC Trending: South Carolina’s Clown Scare20160912

Sightings of suspicious clowns have left a US community in fear. We investigate the eerie goings to see whether the town could be the victim of an viral elaborate prank, or witnessing an outbreak of mass hysteria.

Produced by Kate Lamble.

Photo: Grunge clown / Credit: Shutterstock

BBC Trending: The ‘Bride Price’ Story That Got China Talking20160307

BBC Trending: The ‘Bride Price’ Story That Got China Talking20160307

A story shared on Weibo – about a girl forced to have an abortion when her boyfriend couldn’t pay her family to marry her - has raised the issue of ‘bride price’ payments in China.

Image credit: Wang Zhao / Getty Images

BBC Trending: The ‘Fat Ibo Lady’ Instagram Agony Aunt20151221

BBC Trending: The ‘Fat Ibo Lady’ Instagram Agony Aunt20151221

Ziya'atulhaqq Usman Tahir runs an Instagram account called ‘Fat Ibo Lady’ from Nigeria. People email her their problems and she posts them online. As well as offering advice herself, her Instagram followers pitch in to offer help and wisdom to the senders.

Image credit: Instagram / Ziya'atulhaqq Usman Tahir

BBC Trending: The Battle Between Anonymous and The KKK20151109

BBC Trending: The Battle Between Anonymous and The KKK20151109

The hackers group Anonymous released the names of hundreds of people they say are members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. It comes after a public relations campaign by Anonymous conducted mostly on social media. But what happens when hackers get it wrong? BBC Trending speaks to a woman who got caught up in the online war who says she was falsely labelled as a KKK sympathiser.

(Photo: KKK annual gathering in Tennessee. Credit: Getty Images)

BBC Trending: The Boy who Lived and was Commemorated on YouTube20151012

BBC Trending: The Boy who Lived and was Commemorated on YouTube20151012

When teenager Caleb Bratayley passed away this week, there was an outpouring of grief online. His was a member of one of YouTube’s most famous families, who became well known for simply uploading vast swathes of their day to day lives. Why did Bratayley become so popular, and why is there such a big audience for ‘family vlog’ channels?

(Photo: Caleb Bratayley. Credit: Bratayley/YouTube)

BBC Trending: The Dutch Teenager Mapping The Syrian War From His Bedroom20150831

BBC Trending: The Dutch Teenager Mapping The Syrian War From His Bedroom20150831

Meet Thomas van Linge, the 19-year-old who draws up maps of the conflict in Syria using social media. They are so detailed, they’ve been featured by CNN and the New York Times.

Photo Caption: Thomas van Linge

Photo Credit: Alvaro Alvarez

BBC Trending: The Filipino Prisoners Who Want To Stay In Jail20160815

BBC Trending: The Filipino Prisoners Who Want To Stay In Jail20160815

Photos of an overcrowded jail in the Philippines – taken by photographer Noel Celis – have gone viral, but remarkably some prisoners told him they felt ‘lucky’ to be there. They say many have met with a much worse fate as the new president Rodrigo Duterte cracks down on the country’s illegal drug trade.

Image caption: Prisoners in an overcrowded jail in the Philippines / Image credit: Noel Celis, Getty Images

Bbc Trending: The Hip Hop Doc20160926

A viral Justin Bieber parody is highlighting problems with painkiller addiction in the US. ZZ Dogg MD is a real doctor who uses a rap alter ego to discuss medical issues.

BBC Trending: The Men Recovering From ‘Porn Addiction’20160229

BBC Trending: The Men Recovering From ‘Porn Addiction’20160229

American actor – Terry Crews – has posted several videos to Facebook about fighting his addiction to pornography. It sparked a wave of support in online communities dedicated to abstaining from porn. We hear from a self-confessed porn addict, and a doctor who says pornography isn’t addictive in the same way as alcohol or gambling.

Image credit: Shutterstock

BBC Trending: The Movies Hidden in Wikipedia20160530

BBC Trending: The Movies Hidden in Wikipedia20160530

In Bangladesh, Wikipedia is fighting online pirates who are using its site to allow people to secretly download bootlegged Hollywood films for free. The pirates are hiding movie files on websites which poorer people can access for free in Bangladesh, as part of a scheme to encourage internet use. The practice is illegal, but some say it poses difficult questions about internet access in the developing world.

Produced by Sam Judah

Photo credit: Shutterstock

BBC Trending: The On-Air Groping That Got Mexico Talking20151102

BBC Trending: The On-Air Groping That Got Mexico Talking20151102

When presenter Tania Reza was groped live on air by her co-host, Enrique Tovar, the clip went viral. As the saga unfolded, she and her co-host were both fired after making a video brushing it off as a social media stunt. Tania then claimed that she was pressured into making the video with Enrique. So what does the incident – and the huge reaction online - tell us about women’s rights in Mexico?

(Photo: Tania Reza / Photo Credit: Televisa Prensa)

BBC Trending: The Photo That Gripped Brazil20160321

BBC Trending: The Photo That Gripped Brazil20160321

A seemingly innocuous photo taken during anti-government protests – showing a white couple walking their dog, while their toddlers are pushed in a stroller by their black nanny - has been held up online as emblematic of the country's economic and racial divides.

Photo credit: Joao Valadares / Correio Brazilienze

BBC Trending: The Police Who Ran Away Moments Before An Assassination20160208

BBC Trending: The Police Who Ran Away Moments Before An Assassination20160208

A video showing an assassination in Mexico has shocked many in the country, because it shows armed police running away from the scene just beforehand. Why did the police run away? And will the video change anything?

Presented by Mukul Devichand

Produced by Sam Judah and Emma Wilson

Image: Armed policemen

Image credit: Reporteros Asociados de Sinaloa / Facebook

BBC Trending: The Politician ‘Trolled by Police’20160418

BBC Trending: The Politician ‘Trolled by Police’20160418

Trending often covers trolling online, but it isn’t often that the police are the ones accused of sending abusive messages.

That’s just what’s happened in Australia this week where police officers in New South Wales are being investigated over the alleged trolling of an Australian politician. Jenny Leong was sent racist and sexist messages after she opposed the state’s sniffer dog policy.

The BBC’s Australia correspondent Jon Donnison talks to Anne-Marie Tomchak about how an argument about drug detection got out of hand.

Picture credit: Jenny Leong

BBC Trending: The Porn Star Who Went To Iran For A Nose Job20160808

BBC Trending: The Porn Star Who Went To Iran For A Nose Job20160808

The British-American porn star Candy Charms has become the talk of social media in Iran. The adult entertainer raised some eyebrows because she travelled to the Islamic republic to get a nose job. Her story has put the spotlight on Iran as a top destination for rhinoplasty and it has re-ignited a campaign to save the Iranian nose.

Produced by Kate Lamble and Sam Judah.

(Photo: Candy Charms. Credit: Instagram)

BBC Trending: The Scientists Encouraging Online Piracy20151019

BBC Trending: The Scientists Encouraging Online Piracy20151019

Across the internet, scientists are swapping academic papers in secret - most of the time illegally – using a Twitter hashtag ‘#ICanHazPDF’. We ask the scientist who came up with the idea why thousands of people are using it, and how they justify their actions.

Produced by Estelle Doyle.

(Photo: Scientist at computer / Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

BBC Trending: The Star Pupil Who Scored Zero In Every Exam20150907

BBC Trending: The Star Pupil Who Scored Zero In Every Exam20150907

Meet Maryam Malak, considered one of Egypt’s top performing students before she scored zero in all seven of her exams. The incident caused outcry in the country, and many believe corrupt officials are to blame.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

BBC Trending: This Comment Has Been Removed…20150817

BBC Trending: This Comment Has Been Removed…20150817

Is it time to get rid of the comments section? This month the Daily Dot decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and closed theirs down. They follow technology site The Verge, Slate and several other online publishers who are reassessing the need for online comment. But how do you foster engagement and dialogue without inadvertently feeding the trolls in the process? Anne-Marie Tomchak is joined by Nicholas White, the editor of the Daily Dot and Riese, the editor of Autostraddle, an online community for LGBT people.

Comments are also crucial to the appeal of a new live streaming application, Periscope. But we hear how some of the most followed women on the app feel it is leaving them exposed to sexist trolling; and some tips for handling this.

(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

BBC Trending: Tipsters on Trial20160620

BBC Trending: Tipsters on Trial20160620

Will you be betting on Euro 2016? Most people will probably rely on national allegiances if they decide to gamble, but thousands of social media users, particularly in Britain, are now taking advice on where to place their money from strangers. Twitter and Facebook accounts that claim to be able to more accurately predict the outcome of games.

But while this new breed of tipsters might offer free advice, many are actually in league with the bookies. They’re offered around 30% of all the money their followers lose. So how much faith should people have in these new gambling gurus?

Produced by Kate Lamble

Photo credit: Shutterstock

BBC Trending: Try Beating Me Lightly20160606

BBC Trending: Try Beating Me Lightly20160606

In Pakistan, the Council of Islamic Ideology (who act as an advisory body to the government on religious matters) has recently suggested that men should be allowed to beat their wives - as long as it is done ‘lightly’. The BBC’s Pakistan correspondent Shaimaa Khalil tells Kate Lamble how the ruling provoked a social media storm.

(Photo: One of the women who reacted to the suggestion in Pakistan. Credit: Fahhad Rajper)

BBC Trending: White People and Dreadlocks20160404

BBC Trending: White People and Dreadlocks20160404

Millions of people watched a video of a confrontation between two American students, one of whom was a white student with his hair in dreadlocks. What’s wrong with white people having dreadlocks?

One student had a problem with Cory Goldstein’s dreadlocks, because he is white and she believed he is “appropriating? her culture.

Yesha Callahan talks to BBC Trending about ‘cultural appropriation’.

Photo credit: Golden Gate Express

BBC Trending: Will Russians Stop Holidaying in Turkey?20151130

BBC Trending: Will Russians Stop Holidaying in Turkey?20151130

We hear about the outcry on Russian social media, calling on citizens not to holiday in Turkey following the shooting down of a Russian plane. But what lay behind the conversation? Was it started by Russian citizens, or led by government controlled accounts?

Image: Anti-Turkish memes circulated on Twitter, Image Credit: @TaniaTania2007, @zvezdanews, @virus_am71 (Twitter)

Beethoven and Brown Coal20150820

Beethoven and Brown Coal20150820

A special essay from Prague correspondent Rob Cameron on the Czech hillsides which first heard the "Eroica" - but now echo to the noise of opencast mining. Opencast extraction of brown coal turns this picturesque landscape into a moonscape - but it's profitable, and politically convenient. Could the country's energy demands end up flattening a whole small town?

(Picture: the baroque Jerezi Castle, once home to Bohemian aristocrat and music patron Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz, looks straight out over the scene of opencast mining around the town of Horni Jiretin, Czech Republic. Credit: Rob Cameron BBC)

Bravery in Baku20150910

Bravery in Baku20150910

Azerbaijan is a country flush with oil wealth, yet plagued by repeated reports of corruption, bribery and extortion. Journalist Khadija Ismayilova investigated allegations of graft and influence-trafficking - and wound up in jail. The BBC's Damien McGuinness shares his experience of meeting her and analyses why she has been given a seven-year sentence for her reporting. Is it because she got too close to details of the business dealings of President Aliyev's own family?

(Photo: Khadija Ismayilova. Credit: AP)

Can Fat Shaming be Defended?20150914

Can Fat Shaming be Defended?20150914

We hear from the woman who enraged the internet when she made a video called Dear Fat People. It was viewed over 20 million times and led to an online backlash from people saying it was offensive and hurtful. A comedian from Canada, Nicole Arbour talks to BBC Trending’s Mukul Devichand and tells him why she feels her critics are missing the point of satire.

(Photo: Nicole Arbour. Credit: Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent20151008

From Our Own Correspondent20151008

Is it back to the bad old days of war between the Turkish state and the Kurdish guerrilla organisation the PKK? Mark Lowen recently witnessed signs of renewed conflict in the south-eastern city of Cizre, where barricades, live fire and traumatised children are all to be seen on the streets again. But what lies behind Istanbul's latest offensive, and what does it mean for the planned elections in November?

(Photo: Women grieve with one holding a photo of a man killed during clashes between Turkish forces and militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Cizre, September 2015. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent20151022

"Keeping Portland Weird": Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, is one of the USA's youngest yet most distinctive cities. Anthony Denselow traces its frontier history and examines what makes its character so special. From radical chic to naked bike-riding, innovative coffee shops to artisanal entrepreneurs, its particular flavour has sometimes been satirised - but is often envied elsewhere. How does the place manage to stay so different to much of the rest of the country?

Photo: a cyclist passes a branch of one of Portland's best-known businesses, October 2015. (Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent20151022

From Our Own Correspondent20160929
From Our Own Correspondent20161006

From Our Own Correspondent20161006

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

From Our Own Correspondent20161006

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

From Our Own Correspondent20161027
From Our Own Correspondent - Belarus20160204

From Our Own Correspondent - Belarus20160204

Alex Kirby is pleasantly surprised by Belarus. He finds it's not the bleak, run-down or oppressed place he had imagined. Restaurants have to turn people away, and the opera is thronged with the well-dressed. The capital Minsk is positively gleaming. Challenging official thinking still risky, but journalism students at the university are able to give the annual Golden Duck of Belarus award - an apparently oversized bath toy fixed to a square box - given by the students to the speaker they think made the most outrageous and improbable claim in a lecture.

Photo of "Golden Ducks of Belarus" awards by Alex Kirby, BBC

From Our Own Correspondent - Venezuela20160218

From Our Own Correspondent - Venezuela20160218

Venezuela's economy is struggling due to the low oil prices, but Grace Livingstone hears that in the countryside many farmers are still grateful to the Socialist government, and former ruler Hugo Chavez in particular, for the land they now own. Though others find that they cannot make a living anymore with the low prices that the government sets.

Photo of Venezuelan farm that in 2011 was at risk of being expropriated by the late Hugo Chavez's government: MIGUEL GUTIERREZ, AFP/Getty Images

From Our Own Correspondent: A Ghost of Saudi's Future?20160623

From Our Own Correspondent: A Ghost of Saudi's Future?20160623

Long before the oil price slump, many analysts were arguing that Saudi Arabia's economy was distorted and urgently needed to modernise. The huge King Abdullah Economic City project, still under construction, was designed and intended to take the Kingdom straight into a modern economic setting and infrastructure. While the scale and ambition of the project are hugely impressive, and much has already been built, on a recent visit to the site, Stephen Sackur was driven to ask some awkward questions about how realistic the blueprint for success really is.

Photo: The entrance of King Abdullah Economic City (Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: A Targeted Profession20160818

From Our Own Correspondent: A Targeted Profession20160818

As a BBC correspondent in Pakistan, Shaimaa Khalil's grown accustomed to terror alerts and the aftermaths of bomb and gun attacks. But the 8 August bombing of a hospital in Quetta was far outside the national norm - and it specifically targeted lawyers who'd gathered there to mourn the assassination of a colleague. Quetta is the main city of Baluchistan, a restive region in Pakistan's southwest with its own separatist movement - and a recurrent source of concern for the country's central government. It's also afflicted by criminal cartels and several religiously-inspired armed groups. So what is really going on?

Photo: Pakistani lawyers shout slogans against the killing of their colleagues a day after suicide bombing at the Civil Hospital in Quetta, during a protest in Islamabad on August 9, 2016. / AFP / AAMIR QURESHI (Photo credit should read AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Big Divides in the Big Apple20151231

From Our Own Correspondent: Big Divides in the Big Apple20151231

Golda Arthur takes a journey to the extreme ends of the property market in New York City. Homelessness and income inequality have both risen in recent years here - as in the rest of the United States - and the contrast between high-end penthouses and patchily-funded public shelters is more acute than ever. Just how hard is it to find the right place to live? And where can we expect to go from here?

(Photo: Housing activists march from Zuccotti Park to New York City's City Hall to demand more affordable housing options for the homeless and poor. Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Bleak in Berlin20151203

From Our Own Correspondent: Bleak in Berlin20151203

A special report from Chris Haslam in a hostel for new arrivals to Germany, in the Kopernick district of eastern Berlin. He meets one Syrian family who have just arrived there after "40 days in the European wilderness", fleeing war at home and making their way riskily - and expensively - via the Mediterranean Sea and the Balkans. They've made it to safety - yet Chris finds they have the look of people who've only just realised their journey is by no means over. Without family connections, cash or social status, is it likely that their aspirations for their children will be realised? And in the short term, how will they make it through this winter?

(Photo: Asylum seekers line up for their registration in front of the State Office of Health and Social Affairs in Berlin. Credit: Kay Nietfeld/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Breaking the Mould in Albania20160519

From Our Own Correspondent: Breaking the Mould in Albania20160519

Andrew Hosken in Tirana considers the past fears, present concerns and future aspirations of Albania - and meets a man who once led its feared security state. Many relics of its isolated, Communist era under dictator Enver Hoxha have now been turned into tourist attractions, and the country aspires to join the EU - but past habits of surveillance and mistrust still cast long shadows, and there are battles ahead to reform its power structure.

(Photo: Opposition protesters destroy a bunker installed as an artwork during a rally demanding the resignation of the government, in Tirana, 8 December, 2015. Credit: Gent Shkullaku/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Can Myanmar 'Move Forward'?20151105

From Our Own Correspondent: Can Myanmar 'Move Forward'?20151105

Ahead of Sunday's election, Jonah Fisher analyses the electoral tactics of Myanmar's power elite - and its opposition. All parties are now appealing to the public's thirst for change; even the ruling, military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party is running with a slogan proclaiming that the country needs to "Move Forward". But how can it do so if the same figures who've presided over 25 years of repression have a chance of staying in charge? And what chance does Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD movement of gaining real power?

Photo: USDP party supporters participate in an election campaign rally in Pyu township of Bago region, Myanmar on November 5, 2015. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Departed Friends20160602

Sixteen years ago, Jeremy Bowen lost three friends, all involved in the business of war reporting. He remembers them still, and in this dispatch, considers the inherent risks of the job and the way they've changed in recent decades.

Photo: The Israeli-Lebanon border at Ghajar, May 27, 2000. (Jean-Pierre REY/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Disenchanted Egypt20160303

From Our Own Correspondent: Disenchanted Egypt20160303

Egypt's President Sisi still has some passionate supporters - but are the masses drifting away from him? Amid a worsening economy and growing claims of human-rights abuses, political humour is getting rather pointed these days. The BBC's Orla Guerin reports from Cairo on the word on the street.

Photo: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaking to the press in Athens on December 8, 2015. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Finland's Reactor Blues20160609

From Our Own Correspondent: Finland's Reactor Blues20160609

The vast Olkiluoto reactor was planned as the world's largest - and it was meant to start supplying Finland with energy years ago. But the project's completion is now long overdue and way over budget. On a recent visit to the site, David Shukman had some awkward questions for Areva, the French firm which designed the facility - and he also observed two very different business cultures at work.

Photo: Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant unit OL3 and the reactor hall in Eurajoki, western Finland.(MARTTI KAINULAINEN/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Gibraltar's Neanderthal Traces20160825

From Our Own Correspondent: Gibraltar's Neanderthal Traces20160825

What could modern Europeans have inherited from hidden Neanderthal ancestors? Melissa Hogenboom considers their legacy at one of the sites on Gibraltar full of their remains.

Picture: Reconstruction of a Neanderthal, Credit: Science Photo Library

From Our Own Correspondent: Healing Romania's Hospitals20160908

From Our Own Correspondent: Healing Romania's Hospitals20160908

The Romanian healthcare system isn't much reported - except as a source of horror stories. Abroad, the rest of the world has been appalled by images of near-derelict care institutions for children and the disabled, while within Romania itself, the media circulate dire tales of corruption and incompetence. Yet Caroline Juler explores one provincial hospital which has become a byword for constant improvement. A long-term project exchanging staff and expertise between Britain and the Zalau facility has helped to reform attitudes and improve care. Patients and nurses seem delighted by the changes - but what do the doctors make of it if they're no longer "treated like gods"?

Photo: Women wear surgical masks reading 'Corruption kills' in Romanian during a protest in Bucharest on May 6, 2016 following an expose of corruption in the Romanian health system. There have been accusations of a scam where the state purchased inadequate disinfectants with public funds. (DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Hiroshima's Paper Cranes20160526

From Our Own Correspondent: Hiroshima's Paper Cranes20160526

As US President Barack Obama prepares for his visit to Hiroshima, Juliet Rix reflects on her own impressions of the city's approach to its past. The site of the world's first nuclear attack in war has made peace its watchword, and there are memorials to the dead and exhortations for harmony all over the landscape. But what do today's residents feel about the relationship between Japan and the US should be?

Photo: Juliet Rix brought back one of the symbolic paper cranes often folded and left at Hiroshima memorials to the BBC London, as a wish for peace ((c) Juliet Rix)

From Our Own Correspondent: Hungary's Migrant Trail20150813

From Our Own Correspondent: Hungary's Migrant Trail20150813

A special essay from Nick Thorpe, on the path which many migrants take across Hungary and Serbia as they try to enter the EU. Are local people growing tired of the traffic? In Szeged and Horgos, the streets are full of stories of hope, despair and escape.

(Picture: Migrants from Africa are stopped by the roadide near Szeged, Hungary, July 2015. Credit: Nick Thorpe)

From Our Own Correspondent: Ireland's Holy Mountain20151029

From Our Own Correspondent: Ireland's Holy Mountain20151029

Kieran Cooke considers the future of Croagh Patrick - a sacred crag and time-honoured pilgrimage site, which may have become too popular for its own good. The sheer number of visitors - and their activities, which aren't always religious - might be damaging the mountain itself.

Photo: Pilgrims walk up Croagh Patrick: traditionally, some might make the journey barefoot, or even on their knees (AFP)

From Our Own Correspondent: Lesotho's 'Green Drought'20160630

From Our Own Correspondent: Lesotho's 'Green Drought'20160630

A serious drought is affecting farmers and herders across southeastern Africa - and it spells disaster for many people in Lesotho, one of the world's most rural and agricultural societies. Garry Owen reports from the Mafetang region on what he saw - and, crucially, didn't see - amid the breathtaking landscape. For many people here, the cupboard is bare, the orchards are empty, and their crops for next year have already shrivelled and died.

Photo: Despite recent, erratic rains which have greened the hillsides with grass, many maize fields in Lesotho are now withered and will produce no food for next year. (c) BBC - Garry Owen

From Our Own Correspondent: Life in the Tunnel of Stories20151015

From Our Own Correspondent: Life in the Tunnel of Stories20151015

A special essay from Nick Thorpe, the BBC correspondent in Budapest, reflecting on what it's been like for reporters covering a summer of migration. He recalls a kaleidoscope of experiences along Europe's southeastern border, the people he's met, and the responsibility of a journalist's role in feeding information back and forth along the route of a great exodus.

Photo: Osama Abdul Mohsen, the Syrian refugee who made world headlines when a Hungarian journalist tripped him over as he fled, arrives at Atocha train station in Madrid, on September 17, 2015 with his sons Zaid and Mohammad, and two others. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Llivia, a historical oddity20160421

From Our Own Correspondent: Llivia, a historical oddity20160421

Chris Bockman visits a little-known enclave in the Pyrenees where France and Spain have battled for supremacy over the centuries. These days Llivia is governed from Madrid, though its people increasingly express feelings of Catalan identity - and they're still entirely surrounded by French territory. Everything depends on the "free road" to Spain...

Picture: a historic stone crest depicting the settlement of Llivia (Owen Franken/GettyImages)

From Our Own Correspondent: Merkel's Standing Firm20160811

From Our Own Correspondent: Merkel's Standing Firm20160811

After a string of bomb and gun attacks in Germany, some international media outlets ran fevered speculation that there would be a huge public backlash against migrants - and Chancellor Merkel's policy on refugees. But did the appeal of a strong story run away with these journalists? Damien McGuinness in Berlin argues that on the ground, things look very much calmer - and Mrs Merkel very much more in control - than the reportage might lead you to think.

Photo: German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a press conference on domestic and foreign policy in Berlin on July 28, 2016 (TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Myanmar's Malaise20150917

From Our Own Correspondent: Myanmar's Malaise20150917

On a potholed road in Rakhine State, Tim Butcher witnesses a near-accident - and learns a great deal about tensions with the country's Rohingya minority. He's shocked by the anti-Rohingya sentiments vented by his guide, a usually gentle and cultured man - and wonders whether Myanmar can really pull all of its peoples together.

Photo: A Rakhine boy sits at a refugee camp in Mrauk U, in Rakhine state on October 28, 2012. (Soe Than WIN/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Mysteries of Mali20151112

From Our Own Correspondent: Mysteries of Mali20151112

Alastair Leithead reports from north of Timbuktu on the challenges for the UN mission in Mali. How will its troops tell bandits from terrorists, and identify jihadi leaders? Amid the sands of the Sahara there are flourishing markets in drugs, arms and people smuggling - and there are still suicide bombers and militant groups moving around the area. The UN force in Mali (MINUSMA) has its work cut out. By some workings this is the deadliest peacekeeping mission in the world at the moment. While negotiations go on in Bamako to hammer out a workable peace, some factions are still launching attacks in the interior even as their representatives sit down for talks in the capital.

(Photo: Members of the UN peacekeeping force in Mali prepare to go out on patrol)

From Our Own Correspondent: New Pastures for Democracy20160707

From Our Own Correspondent: New Pastures for Democracy20160707

For years Mark Doyle reported for the BBC from countries across Africa and beyond - often covering wars, coups and disasters. But he also had the chance to see new democracies, and even new nations, come to maturity. He recently visited South Sudan to help train up a new generation of radio journalists - a task which entailed going deep into rural areas to catch up with cattle herders - and was moved to consider how the reporters' work might help spread democratic values.

(Photo: A young girl stands among head of cattle at a cattle camp near Nyal, Unity state, South Sudan on 25 February, 2015. Credit: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: No Deal in the Niger Delta20160728

From Our Own Correspondent: No Deal in the Niger Delta20160728

Once the Niger Delta region was a byword for militancy, kidnapping and rebel groups - but some years back a deal with central government seemed to address local discontent. Violence ebbed and there were signs more oil revenue would benefit small communities directly. Yet many of the facilities built, and the promises made, now look decidedly empty. Martin Patience visits the Gbaramatu kingdom to find a palace and a 'delta university' in ruins and public opinion growing increasingly restive.

(Photo: The deserted lecture hall of an abandoned training facility for oil workers)

From Our Own Correspondent: Old Enemies Unite20160915

From Our Own Correspondent: Old Enemies Unite20160915

Suleiman the Magnificent was one of the Ottoman empire's most renowned sultans - and led several of its military expansions. In Szigetvar, Hungary, Nick Thorpe recently witnessed a commemoration of the great siege and battle between Ottoman and European forces which took place there 450 years ago. The ceremony revealed much - not just about history, but also about current alliances and tensions in the region, as Hungarian, Croatian and Turkish delegations all showed up. But whose military band shone brightest?

Photo: Statues of the rival military leaders of the 16th century Ottoman Sultan Suleiman (R) and his opponent Miklos Zrinyi (L) at the Hungarian-Turkish friendship park in Szigetvar, Hungary, September 2, 2016. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/GettyImages)

From Our Own Correspondent: Paris, Left and Right20160714

From Our Own Correspondent: Paris, Left and Right20160714

Paris is an intensely political city, with a storied history of activism and gesture - and it's also a place where neighbourhood pride and identity are strong. Longtime resident Hugh Schofield explores its social and ideological frontlines - and explains why he still feels a frisson every time he crosses over to the 'other side'.

Photo: The French elite acrobatic flying team Patrouille de France (PAF) release smoke in the colours of the French flag during the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14, 2016. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Partisan Politics In Bangladesh20161013

Justin Rowlatt and his BBC team were the first journalists readmitted to the scene of the Holey Bakery attack in Dhaka - and found it still covered with signs of the horror of that assault. The state hunted down many of those involved, but now there are concerns about how the government is prosecuting its security policies. Is the fight against terrorism being compromised by the country's extremely polarised party politics - and what's to be done next?

Photo: Supporters of the Bangladesh Awami League form a human chain in Dhaka on December 10, 2013. (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Pesto Made Perfectly20160414

From Our Own Correspondent: Pesto Made Perfectly20160414

Dany Mitzman reveals one man's work to revive the traditional method of making pesto - the garlicky, basil-based sauce which is now eaten around the world. In former times it was pounded in a pestle and mortar, but many Italians now make it in a blender - while some "pesto" sold outside Italy doesn't even contain any basil at all! But Roberto Panizza is bringing back the handmade product, and inviting contestants from around the world to Genoa for a competition this weekend, to see if they can do any better.

Photo: Pesto as it should be - photographed by Dany Mitzman

From Our Own Correspondent: Plane Crazy In Perpignan20161020

Five years ago today, Colonel Gaddafi was killed by a mob, as Libya threw off his decades-long rule and entered a chaotic period of revolution. Since then, questions of authority and ownership of state assets have only become more complex. One item which symbolises the problem is the former leader's private plane - which has somehow ended up grounded on the tarmac of a French airstrip. Chris Bockman traces the legal battles which have left this expensive white elephant immobile - and in dispute.

Photo: Gaddafi's Airbus A340 plane on the premises of the maintenance company EAS Industries, a subsidiary of Air France, in Rivesaltes (RAYMOND ROIG/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Retaking Ramadi20160107

From Our Own Correspondent: Retaking Ramadi20160107

A special essay from BBC correspondent Thomas Fessy on the process of driving so-called Islamic State fighters out of one central Iraqi city - and the risks which still lurk there. Retaking Ramadi might strengthen the self-esteem of Iraq's armed forces (who abandoned it last year), but at what cost? And could this advance really be scaled up and re-run in other areas of the state?

Photo: Members of Iraq's counter-terrorism service flash the victory sign on December 29, 2015 in the city of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Sexual Equality Class for Refugees in Finland20160128

From Our Own Correspondent: Sexual Equality Class for Refugees in Finland20160128

Emma Jane Kirby visits a sexual equality class in Finland for refugees from mainly Muslim countries with different attitudes to women.

(Photo: Refugees taking Finnish sexual equality class being taught by a Red Cross worker)

From Our Own Correspondent: Sing a Song of Sami Pride20160121

From Our Own Correspondent: Sing a Song of Sami Pride20160121

With a nomadic culture oriented around reindeer-herding and fishing, Scandinavia's indigenous Sami people were once marginalised and derided. The Christian Church rejected their artforms; national governments denied them self-rule; and their children were often carted off to residential boarding schools to enforce their assimilation into the majority culture. But in recent decades their identity has gained new energy in Nordic countries and their heritage is being actively promoted. In the far north of Norway, in Tromso, Petroc Trelawny met some adults - and even more children - keeping Sami language and song alive, especially the unique "joik" vocal style.

Photo: Petroc Trelawny and Sami singer Biret ?lhttá Mienna by the shore near Tromso, winter 2015. (c) BBC

From Our Own Correspondent: Slow Train to Melbourne20160804

From Our Own Correspondent: Slow Train to Melbourne20160804

You might think that a vast, mostly empty country with huge distances between its major cities would be a natural home for rail travel. Australia's industries have certainly relied heavily on trains for years - but for passengers it is a different story. Petroc Trelawny was recently told that "everyone" flies between Sydney and Melbourne - and it is certainly one of the world's busiest air routes. But in fact there are still train services between the two cities, and he found a recent journey along the route illuminated plenty about today's Australia.

(Photo: View from the window of a train service (c) Petroc Trelawny 2016)

From Our Own Correspondent: Solomon Islands20160331

From Our Own Correspondent: Solomon Islands20160331

The UK once ruled the Solomon Islands as a British Protectorate - but the world is a very different place now and Australia and New Zealand are the major regional powers in the Pacific. But as Patrick Gregory finds in Honiara, this nation's Parliament still follows the Westminster model - even 11 time zones and half a world away from London. Still, are the British as aware of the Solomons as the Solomon Islands are of Great Britain?

Photo: Local children wait to greet Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as they visit Tuvanipupu Island in September 2012, near the Solomon Islands capital Honiara on Guadalcanal Island. (Chris Jackson /Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: South Korea's Changing Tastes20160225

From Our Own Correspondent: South Korea's Changing Tastes20160225

Some of the finest bakers in France were recently humiliated as the Coupe du Monde du Boulangerie in Paris - the most prestigious competition in the world of patisserie - declared that the best baguettes had been made by a team from South Korea. BBC Seoul correspondent Steve Evans reflects on how food has changed there over the past four decades - not just what people eat, as the nation's diet moves from rice to wheat, but also who does the cooking and where they are eating. It turns out that image is ever more important - and part of the reason the nation is feeling sophisticated and globalised lies in enjoying an increasingly varied menu.

(Photo: South Korea's team celebrate with their trophy after winning the first place during the Bakery world cup, as part of the Europain fair 2016, in Villepinte near Paris. Credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Sweden Considers Joining Nato20160211

From Our Own Correspondent: Sweden Considers Joining Nato20160211

Paul Adams visits an old military fort on the strategic Baltic island of Gotland as Sweden is considering joining Nato, after staying neutral throughout the Cold War.

(Photo: Visby's defence tower, part of the city wall. Credit: Paul Adams)

From Our Own Correspondent: Talking Shop with Poland's Grocers20151119

From Our Own Correspondent: Talking Shop with Poland's Grocers20151119

A special essay from Alex Duval Smith weighs up the economic and political future in Warsaw. Polish voters surprised the rest of the EU recently by rejecting the "Civil Platform" government of the last eight years to elect the more traditionalist and inward-looking Law & Justice Party. Over the past decade, Poland has welcomed foreign businesses, brands and lifestyle, but will that last? We take a view from a family-owned small business.

Photo: Janina Zurowska-Filipek, pictured in her grocery in Warsaw. (c) Alex Duval Smith

From Our Own Correspondent: Tarara - from communism to kitesurfing20160114

From Our Own Correspondent: Tarara - from communism to kitesurfing20160114

The BBC's Will Grant traces the history of the seaside retreat of Tarara, outside Havana - which over the decades has been a haven for revolutionary Che Guevara, child survivors of the Chernobyl disaster, and now a growing number of kitesurfers.

Photo: Matteo Gatti has been at the forefront of Tarara's growing kitesurfing scene (c) Will Grant BBC

From Our Own Correspondent: Tea and TV with a Tibetan Monk20160324

From Our Own Correspondent: Tea and TV with a Tibetan Monk20160324

In a monastery in eastern Tibet, Horatio Clare hears what a lifetime's devotion to Buddhism demands. While many older monks have spent decades chanting, working and helping their communities, new technology is now challenging the culture and distracting younger novices.

Photo: A young Buddhist monk carries tea for elder monks during morning prayers at the Thikse Monastery on October 5, 2012 near Leh in Ladakh, India. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: The Count and the Corncrake20150903

From Our Own Correspondent: The Count and the Corncrake20150903

A special essay from Transylvania, looking at how one Romanian nobleman is working to save rural species and tradition. This corner of the world still preserves some agricultural ways which have died out elsewhere in Europe - from bare-necked pedigree chickens to hand-scything the fields. It is a slower pace of life, but Count Tibor Kalnoky is passionate about preserving the environment, including some much-loved flower meadows and that charismatic bird the corncrake.

(Photo: A corncrake, Crex crex. Credit: Charlotte Smith)

From Our Own Correspondent: The Fellowship of the Ring20151217

From Our Own Correspondent: The Fellowship of the Ring20151217

The tale of a family heirloom lost on a South African beach - and its near-miraculous recovery. When Tim Butcher realised he couldn't find his father's gold ring, panic struck - but a generous "detectionist" saved the day.

Photo: Tim Butcher and sons, with the recovered ring

From Our Own Correspondent: The FN's recipe for France20151210

From Our Own Correspondent: The FN's recipe for France20151210

As the Front National makes gains in France's regional elections, Gabriel Gatehouse meets one of the party's mayors in the small town of Cogolin, near the Cote d'Azur. Marc-Etienne Lansade explains why he wants more police and pot plants (and fewer foreign food stalls) on his patch - and some constituents seem to like what he's done so far. But what are his real views on the state of the nation?

Photo: Marc-Etienne Lansade pictured in his tricolor sash after winning the post of Mayor of Cogolin in April 2014 (JEAN-CHRISTOPHE MAGNENET/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: The Power of the Piston20160505

From Our Own Correspondent: The Power of the Piston20160505

Hugh Schofield has lived in Paris for a long time - but until recently he felt like a complete outsider to the game of getting things done. In negotiating complex bureaucracy, local politics or diplomatic challenges, it felt as though everyone else was playing by different rules - and possibly using their personal connections to get on an inside track. But more recently he has learned how to use his own personal network, and get wheels turning...

(Photo: A view of the National Assembly, the lower house of the French Parliament. Credit: Franck Prevel/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Time of the Mayfly20160721

From Our Own Correspondent: Time of the Mayfly20160721

The mayfly is a butterfly-sized insect which hatches in the lakes of Western Ireland during early summer. As Diarmaid Fleming explains, the swarms make a favoured meal for brown trout - and that means a minor stampede of keen anglers hoping to reel in some delicious fish. In County Galway, the mayfly's habits and appearance are the stuff of local gossip and great excitement.

Photo: a mayfly of the order Ephemeroptera (c) BBC

From Our Own Correspondent: Trouble in Paradise?20160901

From Our Own Correspondent: Trouble in Paradise?20160901

The Maldives are best known around the world as a string of paradise islands in the Indian Ocean, home to some of the world's most expensive and luxurious resorts. But this nation is very much embroiled in politics - both local and regional - and rumours recently circulated about a possible change of government. Justin Rowlatt recently tried to see through the murk and report on what was really happening. Could he dodge the government restrictions - and the loitering eavesdroppers to find the truth?

(Photo: Hotel accommodation on an ocean atoll - the classic image of the Maldives abroad. Credit: iStock)

From Our Own Correspondent: Tunisia's Sad Fishmongers20160512

From Our Own Correspondent: Tunisia's Sad Fishmongers20160512

When people complain of a seemingly irrelevant problem, English speakers often reply: "What's that got to do with the price of fish"? Well, in a dispatch from Tunisia's central market, Ed Lewis reveals the answer is - everything. In Tunis, strikes, unemployment, terror attacks and political uncertainty have all had a direct effect on the lives of fishmongers and their customers.

(Photo: Women buy fish at Tunis central market during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Credot: Fethi Belaid/AFP/Getty Images)

From Our Own Correspondent: Via Egnatia, the road that lost its way20160317

From Our Own Correspondent: Via Egnatia, the road that lost its way20160317

In a special essay, Elizabeth Gowing recounts the experience of taking a road trip - or at least trying to - in northern Greece along a route which once linked empires. The Via Egnatia of antiquity let people travel between Roman territory, Greece and Byzantium, and in recent years the EU has paid out generously to fund a partial rebuild. Along the way, Elizabeth notes the quality and comfort of the new surfacing, as well as the sheer number of new bridges and crossings - but she isn't entirely convinced that this new road recaptures all the grandeur and adventure of the ancient one.

Photo: a surviving section of the ancient Via Egnatia, seen near Radozhda, Macedonia. (c) Marion Golsteijn, 2013, wikicommons

From Our Own Correspondent: War Graves in South Korea20160407

From Our Own Correspondent: War Graves in South Korea20160407

In a recent ceremony (pictured above), South Korea and China honoured the remains of Chinese soldiers who fought and died in the Korean War of the 1950s. These bodies are to be taken back to China and buried there. Yet relations with North Korea, just over the border, are more fractious - and Pyongyang, too, left tens of thousands of dead in the South. The remains of those men are very unlikely to be repatriated any time soon. BBC Seoul correspondent Steve Evans reflects on the political and human remains left by the Korean war - and why attitudes to it are so different in China and North Korea today.

Photo: Chinese honor guards salute caskets containing the remains of Chinese soldiers with Chinese national flags during a handing over ceremony of the remains at the Incheon International Airport, March 31, 2016. The coffins carry the remains of 36 soldiers - excavated by South Korea's Defence Ministry from March to November last year - which were flown to the northeastern city of Shenyang, where China has a state cemetery for its war dead. / AFP / POOL / KIM HONG-JI

Inquiry20151202

Inquiry20151202

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

Inquiry20160928
Inquiry20161026
Inquiry: Has Russia Won In Ukraine?20160810

Inquiry: Has Russia Won In Ukraine?20160810

What did President Putin want when he sent men and arms to fight in Eastern Ukraine - and has he got it? In this excerpt from The Inquiry Moscow-based journalist Anna Arutunyan sets out why Putin has limited control over events in Ukraine.

(Image: Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends a rally by the Kremlin Wall in central Moscow. Credit to Getty Images)

More or Less - Fishy Numbers?20160216

More or Less - Fishy Numbers?20160216

There were reports recently that there will more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. The report comes from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But as we discovered, there's something fishy about these figures.

(Image: Plastic waste in the waters off Manila Bay. DIRECTO/AFP/Getty)

More or Less: Antibiotics and the Problem of the Broken Market20160301

More or Less: Antibiotics and the Problem of the Broken Market20160301

If we don’t get new antibiotics, as they become more resistant it is likely that people will die. It’s a huge business but there’s a problem - pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to invest time and money to develop new antibiotics. But why not?

(Image: Computer artwork of bacteria - credit: Science Photo Library)

More Or Less: Are Tall People More Likely to Get Cancer?20151014

More Or Less: Are Tall People More Likely to Get Cancer?20151014

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? Ruth Alexander looks at a new Swedish study that has caused headlines around the world, and asks how worried tall people like her should be about developing the condition.

(Photo: A patient has her height measured. Credit: Shutterstock)

More or Less: Can We Trust Food Surveys?20160315

More or Less: Can We Trust Food Surveys?20160315

Stories about what foods are good and bad for you, which foods are linked to cancer and which have beneficial qualities are always popular online and in the news. But how do experts know what people are eating? Tim Harford speaks to Christie Aschwanden, FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for science, about the pitfalls of food surveys. She kept a food diary and answered nutrition surveys and found many of the questions were really hard to answer – how could she tell all the ingredients in a restaurant curry? And, how many tomatoes did she eat regularly over the past six months?

(Photo: Food diary. Credit: Shutterstock)

More or Less: China Stock Market Crash20150902

More or Less: China Stock Market Crash20150902

The Chinese Market Crash in context.

How big is the market, how many investors does it have and does it tell us anything about the wider Chinese economy?

More or Less: China’s One Child Policy20151110

More or Less: China’s One Child Policy20151110

As China ends its one child rule what has been its impact on the country’s population? The More or Less team take a look at whether the policy on its own has slowed the rate at which China’s population has been growing. Ruth Alexander presents.

(Image: A woman carrying a baby in Yanji, in China's northeast Jilin province. Credit: Getty)

More or Less: Climate Change20151208

More or Less: Climate Change20151208

Did climate change contribute to the war in Syria? Ruth Alexander investigates.

Photo: COP21-Eiffel Tower, Credit: Stephane de Sakutin/Getty Images)

More or Less: Death Penalty abolition20160830

More or Less: Death Penalty abolition20160830

Statistics suggest that officially about half of the countries in the world have abolished Capital Punishment, and a further 52 have stopped its use in practice. But we tell the story behind the numbers and show why the picture is more complicated. We speak to Parvais Jabbar, co-director of the Death Penalty Project.

(Image: Handcuffed hands of a prisoner behind the bars of a prison. Credit: View Apart via Shutterstock)

More or Less: Drug Deaths in the Philippines20160913

More or Less: Drug Deaths in the Philippines20160913

Over the last two months the government in the Philippines has been encouraging the police to clampdown on the illegal drug trade. The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, went as far as saying that citizens could shoot and kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, and the killings of drug suspects were lawful if the police acted in self-defence. The press have been reporting numbers of how many people have been killed during the crackdown – but how much trust can we put in these figures?

Lottery Wins

We interview Adam Kucharski, author of The Perfect Bet, to find out if maths can give you an edge to playing the lottery or gambling.

(Photo: A Filipino human rights advocate holds a placard as he joins a demonstration in front of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters, protesting the number of deaths related to government's war against illegal drugs. Credit: European Photopress Agency)

More or Less: HIV in Africa20160607

More or Less: HIV in Africa20160607

The news aggregation website Zimbabwe Today recently ran a headline stating that 74% of African girls aged 15-24 are HIV positive. Although the statistic is not true, Mary Mahy from UNAIDS reveals that young women do have a higher infection rate than young men.

Kyle Evans is a folk singing mathematician by trade who is always looking for new ways to communicate his love of maths to a sometimes apprehensive audience. Next week he is representing the UK against 26 other countries at the Cheltenham Science festival in England. He came into the studio to perform his competition entry.

Producer: Laura Gray

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

(Image: HIV test in Africa. Credit: Polepole-tochan/Getty Images)

More or Less: How Many is Too Many Bananas?20150916

More or Less: How Many is Too Many Bananas?20150916

There is a belief among some people that too many bananas will kill you. Eat too many and you will overdose on potassium and die. But how many bananas would you need to eat? (Photo: Bunch of bananas)

More or Less: How Many Stormtroopers Are There?20151222

More or Less: How Many Stormtroopers Are There?20151222

Are Star Wars’ Stormtroopers the biggest secret army on Earth? Ruth Alexander investigates, and looks at some of the other numbers behind one of the most successful movie franchises in history.

(Photo: Stormtroopers at Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere. Credit: PA Wire)

More or Less: How Reliable is Psychology Science?20150930

More or Less: How Reliable is Psychology Science?20150930

The Reproducibility of Psychological Science project reported recently and it made grim reading. Having replicated 100 psychological studies published in three psychology journals only 36 had significant results compared to 97% first time around. So is there a problem with psychological science and what should be done to fix it.

(Photo: Conceptual image of a brain. Credit: Shutterstock)

More or Less: Leicester City football fluke?20160510

More or Less: Leicester City football fluke?20160510

At the beginning of the season of the English football Premier League, few people would have been brave enough to predict that Leicester City would finish top. But was it that surprising?

Tim Harford speaks to Lord Finkelstein, a political journalist, who has been running his own statistical model to assess the teams in the Premier League. We also hear from James Yorke from the football analytics website Stats Bomb. Was Leicester’s success down to the team’s skills, or was it down to luck?

(Leicester City celebrate with the trophy after winning the Barclays Premier League. Credit: Action Images via Reuters)

More Or Less: Mobiles or lightbulbs20160329

More Or Less: Mobiles or lightbulbs20160329

Are there more mobile phones than lightbulbs in Uganda? Plus: Thyroid cancer has gone up after the Fukushima accident - but it's not what you think.

(Image: Woman looking at her mobile phone in Kampala, Uganda. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

More or Less: Nigerian Economy20160105

More or Less: Nigerian Economy20160105

How healthy is the Nigerian economy? Tim Harford looks back over some of the numbers that made the news in 2015.

(Image: Nigerians check their ballot station positions in Yenagoa. Credit: Getty Images)

More or Less: Odd Socks and Algorithms20160802

More or Less: Odd Socks and Algorithms20160802

How can the techniques of computer science help us in everyday life? We speak to Brian Christian co-author of Algorithms to Live by: The Computer Science of Human Decisions. He argues that the techniques of computer science can help us manage everyday situations in a more logical and efficient manner. So which algorithm can help solve the problem of odd socks? And what is the most efficient way of alphabetising your book collection? Tim Harford investigates.

(Photo: Socks. Credit: Angela N Perryman/Shutterstock)

More or Less: Oil20151028

More or Less: Oil20151028

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said a million barrels of the country’s oil were stolen per day. Is he right? Ruth Alexander asks Peter Cunliffe-Jones of Africa Check.

Producers: Keith Moore and Phoebe Keane

(Image: A Nigerian Oil Rig. Credit: Getty)

More or Less: Old versus young Brexit voters20160705

More or Less: Old versus young Brexit voters20160705

Many media outlets have reported that it was predominantly the older generations in the UK who voted to ‘Leave’ the EU in a recent referendum, while those under 25 were keenest to ‘Remain’. It has prompted many listeners to ask whether a referendum on this topic might yield a different result if held in a few years’ time as the electorate changes. We attempt some back of the envelope calculations with Tom Chivers from Buzzfeed. But actually – how good is the data available? How do we know how people voted or how they would vote in the future?

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

More or Less: Swimming World Records20160816

More or Less: Swimming World Records20160816

World Records are being set at a much faster rate in swimming than in other sports. At the Rio Olympics, British swimmer Adam Peaty managed to break the men's 100m breaststroke world record twice in two days. Tim Harford speaks to swimming coach, Rick Madge, about the reasons swimmers keep getting better results in the pool.

Also, science writer Christie Aschwanden makes the case for the virtues of the 5,000 metre race. She says that in recent times it has become very popular for people to train to run a marathon. But when you look at the numbers, is the 5K a better distance?

Presenter: Tim Harford

Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(Image: Britain's Adam Peaty swimming, credit: Reuters)

More or Less: The Story of Average20160412

More or Less: The Story of Average20160412

In the 1600s astronomers were coming up with measurements to help sailors read their maps with a compass. But with all the observations of the skies they were making, how do they choose the best number? We tell the story of how astronomers started to find the average from a group of numbers. By the 1800s, one Belgian astronomer began to apply this to all sorts of social and national statistics – and the ‘Average Man’ was born.

(Image: Illustration of an observatory. Credit: Shutterstock)

More Or Less: The Sustainable Development Goals € Are There Just Too Many?20161011

It’s now a year since the UN set its new Sustainable Development Goals to try to make the world a better place. They include 17 goals and a massive 169 targets on subjects like disease, education and governance. But some people like Bjorn Lomborg are saying that there’s just too many and they are too broad, and left like that will never achieve anything. Is he right – and is there a better way to make the world better and stop some countries lagging behind? Wesley Stephenson and Charlotte McDonald find out.

(Image: A teacher writes on a blackboard during a class in Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

More or Less: The World's Most Profitable Product20160524

More or Less: The World's Most Profitable Product20160524

Recently one of our listeners contacted us to say he heard a BBC correspondent describe the iPhone as the most profitable product in history. It was just an off-the-cuff comment but it got us thinking - could it be true? We compare and contrast a range of products suggested by More or Less listeners to work out if the iPhone truly is the most profitable.

Producer: Laura Gray

(Image: An iPhone on a pile of coins. Credt: Shutterstock)

More or Less: Violence, shootings and the police in the US20160719

More or Less: Violence, shootings and the police in the US20160719

Protests have spread across the United States over the last few weeks. The protestors have been registering their feelings about incidents where police have shot and killed black men. High profile recent incidents resulted in the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castle, and the protestors feel that minorities are being disproportionately targeted by the police.

On top of this, at a recent protest in Dallas a gunman shot and killed five police officers.

But what can the numbers tell us about the issue? How many people do police officers kill each year in the USA? And how many police officers are killed? Tim Harford investigates.

Producers: Charlotte McDonald, Elizabeth Cassin

(Image: Police officers stand guard at a barricade following the sniper shooting in Dallas. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

More or Less: When Companies Track Your Life20160621

More or Less: When Companies Track Your Life20160621

How are companies using our personal data? It is a familiar concern. Online retailers are tracking us so they can sell things to us. Bricks and mortar retailers have loyalty card schemes. Our banks and credit card companies know all about us. And of course, the big computer and telecoms companies could potentially track our internet searches, our phone calls – even our location as we wander around. But this isn’t the first time that large corporations have gathered sensitive data about their customers. We tell the shadowy story of how the personal details of Americans were pooled among insurance companies more than a hundred years ago. (Photo: A police CCTV camera observes a woman walking. Credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

More or Less: Worm Wars20150819

More or Less: Worm Wars20150819

A debate has been raging over the last month about the benefits of mass deworming projects. Hugely popular with the UN and charities, the evidence behind the practice has come under attack. Are the criticisms justified? We hear from the different sides – both economists and epidemiologists and their approach to the numbers. (Photo: A nurse gives medecine to a child to prevent worms. Credit: AFP)

No Quick Fix for Myanmar20151001

No Quick Fix for Myanmar20151001

A special essay from Leo Johnson in Mandalay reflects on the doubts and dilemmas besetting Myanmar ahead of its landmark elections this November. The military junta might have already earmarked a quarter of the seats for its own officers; still, there is a chance that Aung San Suu Kyi and her party the NLD could make huge gains. But are they prepared for the tasks of lifting the nation out of poverty, or healing its religious and ethnic divisions?

Photo: Female day labourers ride on truck on their way to work on September 21, 2015. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

Talking About Death20150826

It’s something that will come to all of us. So why is it so hard to talk about death?

Mike Williams meets a British doctor facing her own mortality and another in India who wrestles with telling her patients the bad news

Produced by Smita Patel

(Photo: Four gravestones in a graveyard. Credit: Shutterstock)

Testour: a Tunisian town where history runs backwards20150827

Testour: a Tunisian town where history runs backwards20150827

A special essay from Edward Lewis explores the fascinating twists and turns of the history of Testour. This place was founded and built by Muslims and Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula during the Reconquista, between the 12th and 15th centuries AD. Now it's inhabited mostly by Arabic-speaking Muslims - but signs of the original builders' nostalgia for Spain and cosmopolitan culture are everywhere. This is by no means a typical Tunisian town - yet it holds valuable, centuries-old lessons about tolerance and migration across the Mediterranean which are still very relevant today.

Photo: the minaret of Testour's mosque incorporates loudspeakers, a unique clock tower - and a clockface with numerals in reverse order. (c) Edward Lewis @ejlewis80

The Inquiry20141118

Are sanctions hurting Putin? Veteran European diplomat Sir Robert Cooper and Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, give their view.

The Inquiry - Can We Learn To Live With Nuclear Power?20150901

The Inquiry - Can We Learn To Live With Nuclear Power?20150901

In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It was the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl. It appeared to send the nuclear power industry into retreat – and not just in Japan.

Other nations had second thoughts too. Germany decided to phase out its nuclear reactors altogether. But now Japan has resumed nuclear power generation.

At the heart of the “nuclear wobble? of 2011 is the question of risk: attitudes to, and understanding of, risk vary surprisingly between nations and cultures. But after one of the most shocking incidents in nuclear power's history, will we be able to cope with our fears? In other words - our question this week - can we learn to live with nuclear power? Presenter: Michael Blastland

(Image: A Czech Power plant. Credit: AP)

The Inquiry: Are we fighting cancer the right way?20160203

The Inquiry: Are we fighting cancer the right way?20160203

In this extract from The Inquiry, leading oncologist Dr Vincent DeVita warns that strict rules governing the use of drugs block innovation and prevent doctors from curing patients.

Image: Biological samples being analysed at Cancer Research UK/ Getty/Dan Kitwood

The Inquiry: Are We Fighting Cancer The Right Way?20160601

In this extract from The Inquiry, leading oncologist Dr Vincent DeVita warns that strict rules governing the use of drugs block innovation and prevent doctors from curing patients.

(Photo: Biological samples being analysed at Cancer Research UK. Credit: Dan KitwoodGetty Images)

The Inquiry: Can A Corrupt County Get Clean?20161012

Endemic corruption is very hard to deal with. But not impossible. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Former Georgian government spokesman, Shota Utiashvili explains how they got rid of police corruption in just a few short years – but with some pretty drastic methods.

The Inquiry: Can Colombia Reintegrate The FARC?20160727

The Inquiry: Can Colombia Reintegrate The FARC?20160727

Former fighter Boris Forero describes being brought up in a Communist household and joining the FARC when he was 19. He spent several years in the jungle with the guerrillas, who have fought a 50-year war with the Colombian government. Today he works with a government organisation that helps former fighters reintegrate into Colombian society. He says that it will be easier for those expected to lay down their arms in the coming months to reintegrate as a group than for those who did so individually.

Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Fighters of the Front 53, a faction of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla movement, in Los Alpes, 150 Km southeast of Bogota. Credit to: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Can Coral Reefs Survive?20160907

The Inquiry: Can Coral Reefs Survive?20160907

Why do coral reefs matter? Rebecca Albright is a marine biologist from the Carnegie Institution for Science in San Francisco. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, she explains just how much damage has been done to coral and why we should care.

(Photo: Fish looking out from the coral of the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Can the EU Survive?20160629

The Inquiry: Can the EU Survive?20160629

Is Britain’s vote to leave the European Union the beginning of the end of the project? Aristotle Kallis is an expert on populist movements through history. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, he argues that the EU has no future if it fails to win back the trust of the European people.

(Photo: David Cameron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian Prime minister Roesen Plevneliev, Eurozone finance ministers with bank notes, euro coins and a map of Europe in the background. Credit to Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Can Trump Win?20160713

The Inquiry: Can Trump Win?20160713

Donald Trump is about to be officially designated the Republican party candidate for president of the United States. But he's still trailing in most important polls and he's raised far less money than his opponent, Hillary Clinton. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Scott Jennings, a veteran of several presidential campaigns, sets out why money is essential to success.

(Photo: Donald Trump, presidential candidate 2016. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Can Virtual Reality Help Treat PTSD?20160518

The Inquiry: Can Virtual Reality Help Treat PTSD?20160518

Skip Rizzo is director for medical virtual reality at the University of Southern California. He uses virtual reality to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A common treatment for PTSD is to get people to recount their traumatic memories, but a lot of sufferers bury them. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Skip Rizzo describes how he recreated scenes from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to help soldiers talk through their experiences.

(Photo: virtual reality presented in the form of binary code, in the shape of a man’s head with virtual reality glasses on. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Inquiry: Can We Quake-Proof A City?20160323

The Inquiry: Can We Quake-Proof A City?20160323

Architect David Malott has designed some of the world’s tallest buildings. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, he explains his plan to build a mile-high tower in Tokyo – an earthquake zone. He says tall towers are safer in an earthquake than single-storey dwellings. This extract includes audio from a visualisation of earthquakes in Japan by Solarwatcher.net.

(Photo: Japan's highest mountain Mount Fuji is seen behind the skyline of the Shinjuku, Tokyo at sunset)

The Inquiry: Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?20160706

The Inquiry: Can You Make Bankers Behave Better?20160706

From Libor rate-rigging to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, many say that problems in banking culture lie behind these scandals. But can it be changed? In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Dutch regulator Wijnand Nuijts explains how his team uses psychologists to try to improve bankers' behaviour.

(Photo: The Goldman Sachs building is seen in lower Manhattan on April 15, 2016 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Do Drone Strikes Work?20150929

The Inquiry: Do Drone Strikes Work?20150929

In this excerpt, Brian Glyn Williams, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, argues that drone strikes have made the US safer.

Professor Williams spent four summers in Afghanistan researching terrorism and is the author of Predators: The CIA's Drone War on Al-Qaeda, based on his field work in Pakistan.

(Photo: Reaper flies without pilot. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Do We Have Enough Genders?20160113

Brin Bixby says gender is a spectrum and that many people do not fit neatly into male or female categories. In this excerpt from the Inquiry, she explains how she lives as both male and female but would prefer it if society was less focussed on binary genders.

(Photo:Transgender trans-sexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Do We Have Enough Genders?20160413

The Inquiry: Do We Have Enough Genders?20160413

Brin Bixby, who is bi-gender, says gender is a spectrum and that many people do not fit neatly into male or female categories.

(Photo: Transgender trans-sexual concept. Credit: Thinkstock by Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Has President Assad Won?20160224

The Inquiry: Has President Assad Won?20160224

Middle East analyst Hassan Hassan is from eastern Syria, where his home town is now run by so called Islamic State. Before President Assad received military backing from Russia, he was losing the support of even his most loyal followers. So what does his power base look like now?

The Inquiry: Have we Underestimated Plants?20151118

The Inquiry: Have we Underestimated Plants?20151118

New research suggests plants might be capable of more than many of us might expect. Some – controversially – even describe plants as “intelligent?, or even “sentient?. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Professor Daniel Chamovitz - Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University - explains how plants, despite not having brains, are able to make “decisions? and exchange information. He warns that failing to understand how plants work could have devastating consequences for the human race.

(Photo: US-Fall-Shenandoah, Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: How Did Governments Lose Control of Encryption?20160302

The Inquiry: How Did Governments Lose Control of Encryption?20160302

Cryptography was once controlled by the state, which deployed it for military and diplomatic ends. But in the 1970s, long-haired hippy Whitfield Diffie came up with what has been described as the most revolutionary concept in encryption since the Renaissance. Diffie’s invention took the keys away from the state and marked the start of the ‘Crypto Wars’ – the fight for the right of individuals and companies to communicate beyond the gaze of government agencies. In this excerpt from The Inquiry Diffie explains how his invention helped governments lose control of encrytption.

(Photo: Whitfield Diffie. Credit: Stanford University)

The Inquiry: How Did Iceland Clean up its Banks?20160210

The Inquiry: How Did Iceland Clean up its Banks?20160210

When Iceland’s banking sector collapsed in 2008 it was 10 times the size of the country’s entire economy. Gudrun Johnsen sat on the special commission put in place in the aftermath of the crash. In this excerpt from The Inquiry she explains how they were determined to find out what went wrong. “As a consequence,? she says, “we were able to clean house pretty quickly.?

(Photo: Demonstrators in central Reykjavik 22 November 2008. Credit AFP/Getty Images)

The Inquiry: How Did We Mess Up Antibiotics?20161019

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, infectious disease specialist Brad Spellberg explains why we are struggling to find the antibiotics we need. He also describes what it’s like to treat a patient resistant to all antibiotics.

The Inquiry: How Did We Save the Ozone Layer?20160803

The Inquiry: How Did We Save the Ozone Layer?20160803

The story of how environmental campaigners persuaded people to stop using aerosols. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, the former director of Friends of the Earth, Jonathan Porritt, tells us about the campaign he lead in the 1980s to stop the use of aerosols. The success of the campaign wasn’t just down to slogans and leaflets; he may have also had a little bit of unexpected help from Princess Diana.

(Photo: Severe thinning of Earth's protective ozone layer found over Antarctica, by NASA scientists. Credit to: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: How Do You Save the Rhino?20151027

The Inquiry: How Do You Save the Rhino?20151027

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Danene van der Westhuyzen – argues that selling licenses to hunt old, aggressive rhinos could help ensure the survival of the rhino. Danene is Namibia's first female dangerous game professional hunter.

(Photo: Danene van der Westhuyzen, Credit: Aru Game Lodges)

The Inquiry: How Has the US Gun Lobby Been so Successful?20160127

The Inquiry: How Has the US Gun Lobby Been so Successful?20160127

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Richard Feldman – president of the Independent Firearm Owners’ Association in the US, and a former lobbyist for the National Rifle Association – explains how the NRA lobbies US lawmakers.

The Inquiry: How Much Inequality Is too Much?20160106

The Inquiry: How Much Inequality Is too Much?20160106

Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to President Obama, says there is too much inequality in America today. In this excerpt from The Inquiry he explains why, in his view, inequality is bad for the US economy.

(Photo: Woman walks past poor man, Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: How Will A Population Boom Change Africa?20150908

The Inquiry: How Will A Population Boom Change Africa?20150908

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third-largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Hans Rosling argues that this spectacular demographic shift could be a good news story for Africa.

The Inquiry: How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?20151223

The Inquiry: How Will a Population Boom Change Africa?20151223

The UN forecasts that the number of people living in Africa will double in the next 35 years. Nigeria, the fastest-growing nation, is expected to become the third-largest country in the world by 2050. By the end of the century, almost 40% of the world’s population will live on this one continent. It raises questions about how countries – some of which are already facing big challenges – will cope. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Hans Rosling argues that this spectacular demographic shift could be a good news story for Africa.

The Inquiry: Is Brexit Inevitable?20160720

The Inquiry: Is Brexit Inevitable?20160720

“Brexit means Brexit,? says Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister. It sounds unequivocal: the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, so that’s what it must do. But credible figures have suggested that Brexit may not actually happen. Is that possible? In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Guardian journalist John Harris says Britain’s political elite cannot wriggle out of Brexit without unleashing “malign, divisive political forces?.

Presenter: Maria Margaronis

(Photo: Illustration flags of the European Union and the Union flag sit on top of a sand castle on a beach in Southport, United Kingdom. Credit to Getty images)

The Inquiry: Is it too Late to Save Syria’s Antiquities?20151111

The Inquiry: Is it too Late to Save Syria’s Antiquities?20151111

Syria’s cultural heritage is being attacked from all sides - the Assad regime, opportunistic looters, opposition forces, Islamic State fighters and even Russian air strikes. Ancient sites like Palmyra have been destroyed, and it is feared that hundreds of precious valuables have been smuggled out of the country to be sold on the international art market. Is it too late to save Syria’s antiquities? We speak to experts including the specialist trying to recover stolen items being sold on the global antiquities market, the volunteer organising a kind of archaeological resistance inside Syria, and the team reconstructing the country’s historic sites using technology.

(Photo: Baalshamin detonation; Credit: AP)

The Inquiry: Is Retirement Over?20160831

The Inquiry: Is Retirement Over?20160831

For millennia human beings worked until they dropped. Then in the late 19th century, Otto von Bismarck started the first state pension in Germany. The idea caught on. By the 20th century, advances in medicine meant that many more people were surviving childhood and living longer and longer into old age.

This was great news for those individuals but not such good news for governments and companies who found themselves having to fund ever-longer retirements. In this excerpt from The Inquiry David Blake, director of the Pensions Institute at Cass Business School in London, says retirement might soon be a thing of the past.

(Photo: Clayton Fackler, 72, works at the check out at a supermarket in Ohio. Credit: J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Is Russia Vulnerable?20151013

The Inquiry: Is Russia Vulnerable?20151013

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Alexander Korolev argues that a new type of geopolitics is emerging as Russia and China become closer allies.

Born in Siberia Dr Korolev is a research fellow at the National University of Singapore specialising in China-Russia relations. He believes that while international isolation and a faltering economy may have forced Russia to look East, its alliance with Chain has made it stronger.

(Photo: President Putin at the UN General Assembly. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Is Saudi to Blame for ‘IS’?20151216

The Inquiry: Is Saudi to Blame for ‘IS’?20151216

Many claim that ‘Islamic State’ is the ideological offspring of Saudi Arabia; that the strict form of Islam originating in the Kingdom - and the Saudi state's aggressive promotion of it around the world – has fostered terrorism. Prof Bernard Haykel explains what Wahhabism is and how it came to be Saudi Arabia’s state religion. Presenter: Helena Merriman

(Photo: Kingdom Tower in Riyadh. Credit to Shutterstock)

The Inquiry: Migrant Crisis – What Else Could Europe Try?20150825

The Inquiry: Migrant Crisis – What Else Could Europe Try?20150825

Tens of thousands of migrants continue to queue at the borders of the European Union in search of a better life. Their journeys are often hazardous and thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy or Greece. Attempts to share the burden among EU member states have been dogged by internal politics. And Europe’s actions so far have focussed on deterrence despite little evidence that such a strategy will work. So, in this week’s Inquiry, we’re asking what else Europe could try? In this excerpt from The Inquiry Alexander Betts argues Europe and other world powers could help refugees re-settle closer to home, where they could be an economic boon rather than a burden.

(Photo: Young migrant at Psalidi on Kos, Credit: Press Association Wires)

The Inquiry: Should Anyone Ever Talk To IS?20150811

The Inquiry: Should Anyone Ever Talk To IS?20150811

Negotiator Jonathan Powell makes the case that talks with so-called Islamic State are inevitable.

(Photo: Jonathan Powell, Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Should Governments Drop Money Out of Helicopters?20151209

The Inquiry: Should Governments Drop Money Out of Helicopters?20151209

Since the crash of 2008 wages in advanced economies have hardly risen and unemployment remains stubbornly high in many countries. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Adair Turner, former head of the Financial Services Authority in the UK, explains why he thinks it’s time to try something radical to boost economic growth.

The Inquiry: Should We Solar Panel the Sahara?20151230

The Inquiry: Should We Solar Panel the Sahara?20151230

Harvesting the sun’s power where it shines brightest, in the Sahara Desert, could reduce global demand for fossil fuels. A lot. In this excerpt of The Inquiry, nuclear physicist Gerhard Knies explains how it could work.

The Inquiry: What Does The President Need To Know?20151006

The Inquiry: What Does The President Need To Know?20151006

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Will Inboden, part of President George W. Bush’s National Security Council, talks about how intelligence officials sort through the huge amount of information coming into the US government.

The Inquiry: What Happened to Al-Qaeda?20160406

The Inquiry: What Happened to Al-Qaeda?20160406

In recent years al-Qaeda has been eclipsed by the so-called Islamic State. But we are in danger of underestimating the threat from al-Qaeda, according to analyst Katherine Zimmerman. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, she explains that although the central core is depleted, al-Qaeda is now made up of smaller groups spread through different countries around the world. These affiliated groups still share the same goals, she says, and pose a durable threat.

(Photo: A fighter is seen standing in front of an image of Osama bin Laden, the late head of al-Qaeda, in the town of Rada. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: What Happened To The European Dream?20160504

The Inquiry: What Happened To The European Dream?20160504

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, European integration went through a golden era - including agreement on plans for a single currency, the euro. But that high water mark was quickly followed by a backlash. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Adriaan Schout from the Netherlands Institute of International Relations explains why and how Europeans began to resist the accelerating growth of the "European project".

(Image: A postcard calling on people to 'Strike Back at the Empire' is displayed ahead of the Dutch referendum in 2005 that rejected the European Union Constitution. Credit: JOHN D MCHUGH/AFP/Getty Images)

The Inquiry: What Is China Doing to Clear the Air?20160120

The Inquiry: What Is China Doing to Clear the Air?20160120

If a pregnant woman breathes polluted air it can damage not just her health but that of her unborn child too. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Dr Jim Zhang from Duke University in the US reveals what he found when he studied the weight of babies born just after a period of reduced air pollution in Beijing. His findings may surprise you.

(Photo: A man and his child wear masks to protest against pollution, Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: What Kind Of Person Becomes A Violent Jihadi?20160420

The Inquiry: What Kind Of Person Becomes A Violent Jihadi?20160420

Former CIA operative Marc Sageman has spent decades studying militants. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, he says his ex-colleagues don't have the skills to find out why some people turn to political violence.

(Photo: The CIA symbol shown on the floor of CIA Headquarters, in Langley, Virginia. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs?20150818

The Inquiry: What Will Happen When Robots Take Our Jobs?20150818

As more and more work is automated, the prospect of a future without work becomes ever closer. Tech journalist and life coach David Baker says we should embrace it.

(Photo: David Baker Credit: Nick Wilson)

The Inquiry: What's Killing White American Women?20160511

The Inquiry: What's Killing White American Women?20160511

Advances in everything from medicine to nutrition to economic growth mean death rates have been falling around the world for years. But for less educated white American women, that trend has reversed. One reason is a rise in drug overdoses. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Dr Andrew Kolodny of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing explains how a slick 1990s marketing campaign led to the US's worst ever drug addiction epidemic.

(Photo: Prescription Oxycodone pain pills lie on display. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: What's the point of Lotteries?20160914

The Inquiry: What's the point of Lotteries?20160914

It is now hard to find a country that does not have a state sponsored lottery – even the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan recently adopted one. They have famously been called a “tax for people who are bad at maths? and make little economic sense for the individuals who play. Instead, lotteries allow governments to raise much needed revenue to be spent on ‘good causes.’ But there’s more to lotteries than powerballs and million dollar prizes. Should we embrace them as a way of making life more fair?

Presenter: Michael Blastland

(Photo: Lottery balls are seen in a box at a Liquor store in San Lorenzo, California. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Who Wins In A Cashless Economy?20160921

Proponents of a cashless future point to the use of wads of notes in criminality and corruption. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Harvard economist Ken Rogoff explains the various ways in which cash holds back economies.

The Inquiry: Why Are 10,000 Children Missing In Europe?20161005

The Inquiry: Why Are 10,000 Children Missing In Europe?20161005

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Gulwali Passarlay recounts his journey as a lone 12-year-old from Afghanistan to Britain.

The Inquiry: Why Are 10,000 Children Missing In Europe?20161005

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Gulwali Passarlay recounts his journey as a lone 12-year-old from Afghanistan to Britain.

The Inquiry: Why Are Wages So Low?20160309

The Inquiry: Why Are Wages So Low?20160309

President Obama’s chief economist Jason Furman on the question his boss asks him most often. In America, media wages have been stagnant for more than 40 years – and it’s a problem across the developed world.

(Photo: Furman and Obama, Credit: Pete Souza)

The Inquiry: Why Can’t Egypt Stop FGM?20160608

The Inquiry: Why Can’t Egypt Stop FGM?20160608

Since FGM was outlawed in Egypt in 2008 the percentage of girls aged 15 to 17 who have had FGM has dropped from 75% to 60%. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, women’s rights activist Dalia abd El-Hameed says Egypt needs a sexual revolution if it’s to get that number down to zero.

(Image: A gynaecologist cooperating with the Coptic Center for Training and Development gives a lecture on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a village close to Beni Sueif a town 130 kilometers south of Cairo.)

The Inquiry: Why Do Mexicans Drink So Much Soda?20160330

The Inquiry: Why Do Mexicans Drink So Much Soda?20160330

In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Claudia Campero argues that a lack of reliable drinking water is helping to fuel Mexico’s thirst for sugary soft drinks. Most research places Mexico at the top of the chart when it comes to the consumption of these drinks: by some estimates, they get through half a litre per person every day. Mexico also has some of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the world, exacerbated by their love of sugar sweetened beverages.

Presenter: James Fletcher

(Photo: A variety of fizzy drinks stocked on a shelf in a shop. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Why Do So Many People Dislike Hillary?20160622

The Inquiry: Why Do So Many People Dislike Hillary?20160622

Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favourite to be the next president of the USA. But polls show more and more Americans view her unfavourably. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, seasoned observer of US politics Mark Halperin tries to make sense of this political paradox.

(Image: Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favourite to be the next president of the USA. But polls show more and more Americans view her unfavourably. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, seasoned observer of US politics Mark Halperin tries to make sense of this political paradox)

The Inquiry: Why Don’t Cities Want the Olympics?20160817

The Inquiry: Why Don’t Cities Want the Olympics?20160817

The Olympic Games has a problem. In recent years the number of cities entering bids to host either the Winter or Summer Olympics has dropped dramatically. So how can we ensure the future of the Olympic Games? Judith Grant Long, Associate Professor of Sport Management and Planning at the University of Michigan in the US, looks at some radical solutions.

(Image of a banner saying 'No Boston Olympics' permission from Liam Kerr and Chris Dempsey)

The Inquiry: Why don’t we eradicate mosquitoes?20160217

The Inquiry: Why don’t we eradicate mosquitoes?20160217

Should we be concerned about the possible unintended consequences of removing mosquitoes from the ecosystem? In this excerpt from The Inquiry, mosquito expert Heather Ferguson suggests we could get rid of the most dangerous species without wreaking havoc on nature.

(Photo: Aedes Aegypti mosquito, Credit: LUIS ROBAYO / Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Why is Argentina Still so Sexist?20150915

The Inquiry: Why is Argentina Still so Sexist?20150915

Known as the ‘Sexy Deputy? Victoria Donda is all too familiar with sexism. In this excerpt from The Inquiry she describes her campaign in the Argentine National Congress for new laws to protect women from street harassment. Male colleagues, she says, are oblivious to the problem while many female politicians find it necessary to act like men in order to secure positions of power.

(Photo: Argentina Femicide Demo. Credit: Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Why was Mohammed Akhlaq Killed?20151104

The Inquiry: Why was Mohammed Akhlaq Killed?20151104

Mohammed Akhlaq’s murder shocked India. A mob broke into his house last month and beat him to death. They believed a rumour that Mr Akhlaq, a Muslim, had broken a Hindu taboo by slaughtering a cow. We find out how the cow became such a political animal and look at whether Hindu nationalists are feeling bolder in today’s India.

(Photo: An Indian woman sprinkles yoghurt paste on to a cow's head; Credit:Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Would A New International Convention Help Refugees?20160525

The Inquiry: Would A New International Convention Help Refugees?20160525

As the world grapples with a new refugee crisis, and the largest numbers of displaced people since World War Two, many think the UN’s 65-year old Refugee Convention isn’t working. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, political philosopher Luara Ferracioli says the only way to deal with refugees is to distribute numbers more fairly around the world.

(Photo: A Somali father and his daughter queue to register at Dadaab in Kenya, the world's largest refugee camp. Credit: TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Inquiry: Would Donald Trump Be a Dangerous President?20160824

The Inquiry: Would Donald Trump Be a Dangerous President?20160824

Senior Republican national security officials in the US have signed a letter arguing that Donald Trump “would be a dangerous president?. In this excerpt from The Inquiry, Elaine Kamarck – who has worked in the White House – says a US President’s power is limited, whoever they are.

(Photo: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during an event at Trump SoHo Hotel, 2016, New York. Credit: Getty Images)

The Why Factor20141119

The extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions.

The Why Factor: Thin20160531

The Why Factor: Thin20160531

Former French model Victoire Macon-Dauxerre talks to Mike Williams about the fashion industry’s obsession with 'thin' and how she ended up living on three apples a day.

(Photo: A vendor arranges stick-thin mannequins in a store in China. Credit: China Photos/Getty Images)

The Why Factor: Addiction - Why Do Some People Succumb to it?20160223

The Why Factor: Addiction - Why Do Some People Succumb to it?20160223

Last week we looked at the science of pleasure… the biochemistry of the brain’s reward system. This week, what happens when that mechanism goes wrong. Addiction.

How can something that’s start off being pleasurable end up making us feel so low?

Mike Williams talks to scientists and former addicts in the search for some answers.

Produced by Ben Carter

(Photo: Collection of different hard drugs Heroin, Pills, Tobacco and Alcohol. Credit to Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: American Identity20160503

The Why Factor: American Identity20160503

As part of the BBC World Service Season on Identity, The Why Factor asks what does the rest of the world think of the United States - one of the most recognisable nations on the planet?

The Why Factor: Assisted Death20161004

Is it ever right to take a life? Mike Williams explores the dilemmas of assisted death

Is it ever right to take a life? Mike Williams explores the ethical dilemmas of assisting death. In a few countries, terminally-ill people suffering pain and distress are allowed to get help from friends, family and physicians to bring their lives to an end. In many countries, it is a crime.

Helping someone to kill themselves is illegal in the UK but there are attempts to get the law revised. The rules are most liberal in Belgium where recently a 17-year-old boy became the first minor to be granted help with dying. And, in the United States, California has become the fifth state to approve what they’ve called “physician assisted death”.

(Photo: Woman touching elderly man's hand. Credit: Arman Zhenikeyev/Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Copying Art20160614

The Why Factor: Copying Art20160614

Why do people try to create old masters and modern art, brush stroke by brush stroke? And why do people buy them? Mike Williams talks to art copier David Henty, fine art expert and gallery owner Philip Mould and Colette Loll, director of the Washington-based Art Fraud Insights.

The Why Factor: Encryption20150909

The Why Factor: Encryption20150909

We use encryption every day: in our bank transfers, on our mobile phones and whenever we buy anything online. Yet what is it and why is it so important? Mike Williams explores cryptography from the Roman Caesar Cipher to modern day computer encryption. Classified as a munition in the USA until the late Nineties, lawyer Cindy Cohn recounts the court case she fought which helped put computer encryption into the public’s hands. Science writer Simon Singh talks us through some the mathematics behind the ciphers and Andrew Clark, a specialist in Information Forensics details the darker side of encryption, through its uses in crime. Encryption also plays into our obsession with secrets, puzzles and hidden messages. We hear from a fan of the electronic duo, Boards of Canada, who obsessively followed a trail of encrypted clues left by the band in 2013. Finally, encryption lies at the heart of the debate about national security and individual privacy. We hear from an anonymous contributor from Pakistan where the use of encryption is restricted. Produced by Rose de Larrabeiti (Photo: Encrypted icon, internet button on black background. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Farewell Letters20161018

Why do we write farewell letters? Whether it's messages from the living to the dying or from the dead to the living, how can we find the words to say goodbye?

A letter from a daughter to her dying father, a last letter from a soldier on the eve of battle, messages of love from a dying mother to her young daughter and a suicide note from a father to his teenage son. Mike Williams explores the comfort and pain of goodbye letters.

Presenter: Mike Williams

Producer: Sally Abrahams

(Photo: Woman and child walking along woodland path. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Fear vs Fact20160809

The Why Factor: Fear vs Fact20160809

Mike Williams asks if we now live in a post-factual age — where messages of fear dominate and the truth goes unspoken or unheard? He investigates the “Backfire Effect? which means that entrenched views can become more entrenched – when confronted by contradictory facts. Politicians are often accused of distorting the truth – with Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump the latest.

(Image - Group of people standing with one holding a newspaper with the headline "Earth Doomed". Credit - Everett Collection via Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Graffiti – Why do we do it?20151007

The Why Factor: Graffiti – Why do we do it?20151007

From Stone Age caves, to the buildings of Pompeii and on the walls of our modern cities we find evidence of a very human – and ancient – urge to leave a mark. Why? Mike Williams joins the artists at a Graffiti competition held in London and talks to Art Historian Richard Clay, Professor of Digital Humanities at Newcastle University.

This still illegal activity has gained a more acceptable face in the growth and popularity of street art, but in many countries, graffiti writers still risk their lives to paint political messages on public walls. Researcher Rana Jarbou has been documenting Graffiti in the Arab World since 2007. She reveals the role it has played in the war in Syria.

Graffiti can be political and artistic, but sometimes it is as simple as scratching names and love hearts into desks. For four years Quinn Dombrowski took photographs of the Graffiti left on the study desks of The University of Chicago’s Library. The scrawled messages, an insight into the emotional lives of the students there.

Finally, back in London at the Graffiti competition, Mike picks up a spray-can and has a go himself.

Produced by Rose de Larrabeiti

(Photo: The Why Factor sprayed graffiti on a wall. Credit: Mike Williams)

The Why Factor: Group Thinking20151229

The Why Factor: Group Thinking20151229

Anyone who has ever been in a meeting has seen the phenomenon of "Groupthink" first hand. The will of the crowd over shadows the wisdom of individuals and it can lead to dangerous consequences. Mike Williams asks why humans succumb to "Groupthink" and how we fight the tendency to follow the hurd even if it leads to very perilous outcomes.

(Image: A meeting. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Hunting20160112

Why do we hunt? In some societies hunting is necessary to get food, but why do those who can buy meat in a shop go out hunting? Do they like to kill? Or is there something else at play? Lucy Ash talks to hunters from Canada, South Africa, the US and Scotland, who between them have killed animals ranging from deer to elephants, to ask them why they do it. She finds out that the majority of hunters don’t actually like the act of killing, but hunt because they enjoy the adrenaline-fuelled tracking, or being out in nature with heightened senses, or simply to provide for their families in a way they find much more satisfying than simply buying meat in a grocery store. And then there are some reasons that go deeper.

(Photo: A hunter with this dog and a deer)

The Why Factor: Identity20160405

The Why Factor: Identity20160405

As part of the BBC World Service Season on Identity, The Why Factor examines one simple question: who are you? Did you choose your identity or was it given to you? Mike Williams asks how our identities are created and if that shapes the way we see the world, and the way the world sees us.

Producer: Sandra Kanthal

(Crowds on Oxford Street, London UK / Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty)

The Why Factor: Newspapers20160712

The Why Factor: Newspapers20160712

Free, digital news is threatening traditional newspapers around the world, so why do they survive and what is their future? Mike Williams speaks to legendary newspaper editor Sir Harry Evans and journalist in exile Qaabata Boru who fought to set up an independent newspaper in a Kenyan refugee camp. Mike also hears from Melody Martinsen who owns and edits The Choteau Acantha, a tiny newspaper in rural Montana where not even the premature birth of her son stopped publication. And at the British Library’s newspaper archive, Mike learns how, as chronicles of ordinary people’s lives, newspapers can throw up some surprise stories missed by the history books.

(Image: Early edition of the Daily Mirror spread on table. Credit: Image courtesy of the British Library)

The Why Factor: The Voice20160906

The Why Factor: The Voice20160906

We each have a unique voice, shape by our biology, history, class and education. It is a powerful tool and we are often judged by the very first words out of our mouths.

In this week’s Why Factor, Mike discovers what makes one voice trustworthy and another not. We hear from a voice coach about how we can adapt and deceive with our voices and a vocalist demonstrates the power of the voice as an instrument.

We also hear from an American teenager who has been voiceless since birth but whose personalised computerized voice has enabled her to find her own.

Presenter: Mike Williams

Producers: Sandra Kanthal and Rose de Larrabeiti

Audio clip of Elaine Mitchener, taken from:

Focus (2012) by Sam Belinfante, courtesy of The Wellcome Collection

(Photo: Woman singing into microphone. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Time Perception20160517

The Why Factor: Time Perception20160517

Mike Williams asks why some weeks just fly by but sometimes minutes can seem like hours? Why do we perceive time differently in different circumstances? And are you a Monday or a Friday person?

The Why Factor: Violence20160726

The Why Factor: Violence20160726

Anybody who watched the European Championships of football this summer in France would have seen shocking scenes of violence between fans. The vast majority, if not all, were men.

Men also commit more than 90% of murders across the world and are more likely to join a gang.

In this episode of the Why Factor, Caroline Bayley asks: Why are men more violent than women?

She speaks to ex-football hooligan Cass Pennant about his experiences and motivation when violence became his way of life.

Former British Army officer Jane Middleton explains the differences between men and women on the battlefield when she served in Afghanistan.

Caroline also hears views from Sweden about how equal violence between men women in relationships is.

Producer: Keith Moore

(IMAGE: Group of football fans fighting in street - Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The Why Factor: Why are More and More Children seeing a Tutor?20151117

The Why Factor: Why are More and More Children seeing a Tutor?20151117

Why is private tutoring becoming so commonplace? In London it is estimated that 50% of schoolchildren have a tutor at some point. In Hong Kong, that figure is much higher. What impact does tutoring have education systems around the world? And does it entrench inequality? Mike Williams hears from academics, tutors and the students they teach.

Produced by Rosamund Jones

(Photo: School teacher and student high five in a classroom. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Why Do Crazes Take Off?20160920

Pokemon Go has been the runaway success of the summer but why is it that some games, hobbies and activities become crazes while others do not? Is there a secret formula? Johanna Basford, the illustrator behind the current adult colouring book craze and Cheong Choon Ng, who invented the Rainbow Loom, explain how they managed to get their ideas off the ground and loved by millions. We hear from psychologist Ben Michaelis that insecure people are more likely to engage with crazes than people who have a lot of self-confidence. Matthew Alt, co-founder of Alt Japan, a company which produces English versions of Japanese games, explains why so many childhood crazes of the last 30 years including Transformers, Power Rangers, Tamagotchi and Pokemon started in Japan. Presenter Aasmah Mir also takes a trip down memory lane, trying out hula-hooping at a class in London after enthusiastically abandoning the fad 30 years earlier. Is she any better now? Hula-Hoop teacher and performer Anna Byrne explains why the craze is making a comeback. But not all fads are harmless fun. Sometimes playground crazes can go wrong and have devastating consequences. Sabrina Lippell talks openly about the tragic death of her twelve-year-old son William Stanesby after he took part in the so-called ‘choking game’ that encourages participants to restrict their airways.

(Photo: A hand holds a phone showing a Pokémon character on screen. Credit:JoeyPhoto/Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Why do Pet Videos go Viral?20160823

The Why Factor: Why do Pet Videos go Viral?20160823

Why have cats become celebrities and why do we love to watch and follow them on social media? Those viral videos of our cats stalking us or the dogs saying I love you. Mike Williams meets the cat at the top of the viral video tree - the one and only Grumpy Cat with 12 million followers. Her owners and business managers are just trying to keep up with all her fans.

Assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick from Indiana University, conducted an online survey of some 7000 cat video watchers and found that people felt happier watching them and were less likely to feel anxious or sad. With all that happiness around, the creator of NyanCat – an animated cat flying through space with a rainbow trail and catchy tune to match, has a mind-boggling 133 million views last time Chris Torres checked. He tells The Why Factor why he thinks it has been such a viral sensation.

We also talk to Jason Eppink, curator of a recent exhibition at the Museum of Moving Image in New York on How Cats Took Over the Internet. Then there is a serious side to all this cat, dog, chicken and goat watching online. Anh Xiao Mina, a writer and researcher, has been looking at the growth of ‘cute cat digital activism’ – the theory that pet viral videos are teaching us important lessons about what we can say and do online and could, in the future, be used to promote new social movements.

(Photo: Grumpy Cat)

The Why Factor: Why Do We Love The Bicycle?20151103

The Why Factor: Why Do We Love The Bicycle?20151103

The bicycle - and cycling - started out as somewhat of a faddish leisure pursuit, largely the preserve of middle-aged and wealthy men. Yet it quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. So what lies behind its mass appeal?

Author and life-long cyclist Rob Penn, helps us chart the cultural and social impact of the bicycle. From helping to widen the human gene pool to blazing a trail for the women’s movement.

‘It’s like learning to ride a bike’ is a common phrase across the globe for ‘once learned, never forgotten’. But what does this suggest about the human body and cycling? Many people describe it as meditative and calming, but what if cycling could actually have a therapeutic effect on those suffering from serious medical conditions?

Dr Jay Alberts works at the Center of Neurological Restoration at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio - USA, and has recently been looking into the impact of cycling on the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease patients. We hear about his surprising results.

Finally, in the West cycling has become more of a lifestyle choice than a means of transport, but what about in countries like India? We hear from a hardy cyclist who regularly braves the streets of Old Delhi.

Produced by Rose de Larrabeiti

(Photo: Cycling guide Arpita Sinha leading a bike tour through the streets (and ditches) of Delhi, India)

The Why Factor: Why do we travel?20150812

The Why Factor: Why do we travel?20150812

Mike Williams asks why do we travel? Why do we leave the comforts of our homes to go to other places?

Psychology has shown that travel - even just thinking about other countries - broadens our minds and makes us more creative. But we travel for many reasons, from acquiring memories, to seeing how other people live, even to build or re-invent our identities. And then there are those, like P. J. O’Rourke, who claim to hate travelling and prefer to stay home. Though it turns out he actually likes tourism, just not tourists.

Mike also talks to South African travel writer Sihle Kuhmalo, Stanford Travel bookshop senior buyer David Montero, and psychologist Corinne Usher.

Produced by Arlene Gregorius

(Photo: An international traveller arrives at an airport. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

The Why Factor: Why do we wear Skirts?20151215

The Why Factor: Why do we wear Skirts?20151215

It’s a simple item of dress but one that says much about the societies in which we live. Mike Williams looks at this most basic form of dress the skirt. A rectangle cloth which throughout centuries has been associated with great meaning including women’s liberation and their oppression, politics & gender. The programme includes an interview with Jung Chang, author of the bestselling “Wild Swans?, who describes how the skirt was a dangerous thing to wear during the cultural revolution. Produced by Smita Patel (Photo: Woman wears a polkadot skirt on a green background. Credit: Shutterstock). Credit: Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Why do we wear Suits?20151201

The Why Factor: Why do we wear Suits?20151201

It’s a style of dress that’s spread around the world - the suit. It’s survived, largely unchanged, for the three centuries. But, where does it come from, what’s its appeal and what does it say about those who wear it? Mike Williams talks to fashion designer Paul Smith who wears one every day and to the author Jung Chang who had no choice but to follow suit during the Cultural Revolution in China.

Produced by Smita Patel

(Photo: Two men sit side by side wearing sharp suits. Credit Shutterstock)

The Why Factor: Why does commuting make us the way we are?20151021

The Why Factor: Why does commuting make us the way we are?20151021

Hundreds of millions of us bear the stress and boredom of the same journey day in day out: the commute. For some it’s a time of reflection while for others it’s a time to turn the air blue with howls of frustration. Why does commuting make us the people we are and how?

Produced by Sonia Rothwell

(Photo: Rush hour in Nairobi. Credit to Abdinoor Maalim)

The Why Factor: Why I'm Not Just Blind20160419

The Why Factor: Why I'm Not Just Blind20160419

Lee Kumutat examines why blindness comes to define the identity of people who have little or no sight. Why must blind people either be inspirational or deserving pity?

(image: Camille Wilson, teacher at a regular inner-city school, Kingston Jamaica)

The Why Factor: Why is Water exceptional?20160209

The Why Factor: Why is Water exceptional?20160209

Water is the only molecule in the natural world which expands when it freezes. And that is not its only unusual feature. It is the cornerstone of all of life on this planet, and maybe others.

Water is part of the myths and rituals of civilisations all over the world. But if H20, the one chemical formula just about everyone can recognise, was just a little bit different, life as we know it would not exist.

Mike Williams explains why water is exceptional and what that means for all of us.

Produced by Sandie Kanthal

(Photo: Raindrops on a window. Credit to James Beard)

The Why Factor: Why We Search for the Origins of Life20160308

The Why Factor: Why We Search for the Origins of Life20160308

Mike Williams visits the ultimate cathedral of science, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where researchers from around the world have built the largest single machine on earth to discover some of the most extreme elements of nature, from the heart of an atom to the origins of the universe. But what drives the human need to know how the universe began and our desire to keep searching for what our world is really made of – down to the smallest particles on earth?

(Photo: A worker walks past a giant photograph of a Large Hadron Collider at an exhibition in Berlin, Germany. Credit to Getty Images)

Trending20161010

A chance to hear extracts from some of our most thought provoking broadcasts.

Trending20161024
Trending: The 'Rosa Parks' of Saudi Arabia20160111

Trending: The 'Rosa Parks' of Saudi Arabia20160111

We hear from Nawal Al-Hawsawi, a black Saudi woman who’s received racist abuse online for tweeting about

her support for inter-racial relationships. She’s been called the 'Rosa Parks' of Saudi Arabia for her campaigning against racism. BBC Trending asked her why she thought she was being targeted in this way?

(Photo: Nawal al-Hawsawi, courtesy of N al-Hawsawi)

Trending: The women “shouting? their abortions20150928

Trending: The women “shouting? their abortions20150928

We hear why women around the world are sharing deeply personal stories about having an abortion and publishing their experiences to social media.

(Photo: Baby in Marble, Credit: ThinkStock)

Where the Castoffs Go20160616

Where the Castoffs Go20160616

Every day the huge Textrade recycling centre in Hungary - just off the M7 motorway from Budapest to the Adriatic - receives over 100 tonnes of used clothing, much of it donated in Britain. Here, the unwanted garments are sorted, made into bales, and sent off to markets around the world. Many of them end up in West Africa. Nick Thorpe explores the business and considers why the rich world buys so much stuff.

(Photo: A recycling worker sorts through clothing at the facility. Credit Nick Thorp)

Why are People Putting their Names in Brackets on Twitter?20160613

Why are People Putting their Names in Brackets on Twitter?20160613

Sam Judah and Emma Wilson explain why people are putting their names in parenthesis on Twitter. What started as a campaign led by anti-Semitic trolls turned into an act of defiance, as both Jewish and non-Jewish people tried to reclaim the racist symbol.

(Photo: Illustration of brackets. Credit: Shutterstock)