More Or Less [world Service]

Episodes

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Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life.

Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in polit.

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Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in polit.

Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Ruth Alexander explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Ruth Alexander explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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A mile in under four minutes. Did positive thinking propel dozens to do the same?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

More or Less marks the passing of a sporting legend. This week Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run one mile in less than 4 minutes, died peacefully in Oxford at the age of 88.

His achievement was one of the most famous records of the 20th Century, and soon became shrouded in myth. After the ‘impossible’ psychological barrier was broken, motivational speakers like Anthony Robbins claim that the year after it was broken, the power of positive thinking helped dozens of runners to break the four-minute record.

Four years ago Tim Harford spoke to Sir Roger Bannister himself to separate myth from reality and find out exactly what propelled him to his famous feat.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: James Fletcher

(Britain's Roger Bannister (centre) being congratulated by Chris Chataway after setting a new record of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. On the left is Chris Brasher. Photo by Norman Potter / Getty Images)

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

"samba, Strings And The Story Of Hiv"20170605

Can medical statistics be transformed into a jazzy night out?

Trumpets are blasting in this week’s musical episode. But can medical statistics be transformed into a jazzy night out? That was the challenge which epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani set for composer Tony Haynes. This June, his Grand Union Orchestra will be performing Song of Contagion, an evening of steel pans, saxophones and singers telling the story of diseases including Zika and AIDs.

We met Elizabeth and Tony in an East London music studio, to hear Song of Contagion come together for the very first time.

Producer: Hannah Sander

(Photo: Detail close up of French Horn musical instrument, part of the Brass family of instruments. Credit: Shutterstock)

\u2018Sympathy\u2019 for jihadis.2015112720151130 (WS)

Are claims that one in five British Muslims \u2018sympathise with jihadis\u2019 correct?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A front page article in a British tabloid claimed that one in five British Muslims have sympathy for jihadis. Ruth Alexander investigates whether this is correct, and asks which countries have the most support for Islamic State fighters.
(Image: A muslim demonstration against terrorism. Credit: Getty)

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in polit...

Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life.

03/02/2017 Gmt2017020320170206 (WS)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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07/10/2016 Gmt2016100720161010 (WS)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in polit.

10/02/2017 Gmt2017021020170213 (WS)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

100 Year Floods?2015121120151214 (WS)

Do so-called \u2018100 year floods\u2019 only happen once a century?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

100 Year Floods?2015121120151214 (WS)

Do so-called ‘100 year floods’ only happen once a century?

Do so-called ‘100 year floods’ only happen once a century? Ruth Alexander and Wesley Stephenson investigate.

Also, does the air in Beijing cause as much damage as smoking 40 cigarettes a day?

(Image: Flooding in Paris in 1910. Credit: Getty)

11/11/2016 Gmt2016111120161114 (WS)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford investigates explains the numbers and statistics used in political debate,.

Tim Harford investigates explains the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

27/06/20142014062920140630 (WS)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

30/09/2016 Gmt2016093020161003 (WS)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

31/03/201220120401
A case of statistical significance in Greece20130202

The case of Andreas Georgiou, head of the Greek statistics agency, charged with treason

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

This week Ruth Alexander looks at the extraordinary case of Andreas Georgiou the head of the Greek statistics agency who is facing criminal charges for what amounts to statistical treason. It is a story that goes to the heart of the Greek debt crisis, that includes extreme office politics, alleged e-mail hacking and now a statistician facing up to five years in prison.

Also: do American Football Players die earlier than their fellow Americans?

(Image: A toy shark eating a toy man holding the Greek flag. Credit: Getty Images)

A grand economic experiment?20120505

European austerity versus US stimulus.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Are we witnessing a grand economic experiment being played out between Europe, trying to cut its way out of trouble, and the United States, trying to spend its way to redemption?

Plus, we investigate the height of North Koreans.

(Image: A woman holds several Euro currency notes and US ten dollar bills. Credit: BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Grand Economic Experiment?2012050520120506

European austerity versus US stimulus.

Are we witnessing a grand economic experiment being played out between Europe, trying to cut its way out of trouble, and the United States, trying to spend its way to redemption?

A Grand Economic Experiment?20120506

European austerity versus US stimulus.

A grand economic experiment?20120506

European austerity versus US stimulus.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Are we witnessing a grand economic experiment being played out between Europe, trying to cut its way out of trouble, and the United States, trying to spend its way to redemption?

Plus, we investigate the height of North Koreans.

(Image: A woman holds several Euro currency notes and US ten dollar bills. Credit: BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Liver Transplant2015041720150420 (WS)

A question from a listener about a living transplant

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A 21-year old listener in need of a liver transplant has received an offer from his older brother to act as a living donor. Henry asks More or Less if the statistics can help him decide whether to accept. How long would he have to wait for an organ from a deceased donor if he chose that option instead?

When we see news reports of a child going missing we often jump to the worst conclusions. The largest big-scale research project in the USA found almost 800,000 children – 1 in 90 – were reported missing in a year. It sounds like a worryingly large number. But almost half soon turned up. Only a very small fraction - 115 - had been kidnapped. So how should these numbers be used in news reports? Hannah Moore and Ruth Alexander hear from Professor David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Centre at the University of New Hampshire.

Image: A box for transporting human organs. Credit: Getty Images

A Liver Transplant20150417

A question from a listener about a living transplant

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A 21-year old listener in need of a liver transplant has received an offer from his older brother to act as a living donor. Henry asks More or Less if the statistics can help him decide whether to accept. How long would he have to wait for an organ from a deceased donor if he chose that option instead?

When we see news reports of a child going missing we often jump to the worst conclusions. The largest big-scale research project in the USA found almost 800,000 children – 1 in 90 – were reported missing in a year. It sounds like a worryingly large number. But almost half soon turned up. Only a very small fraction - 115 - had been kidnapped. So how should these numbers be used in news reports? Hannah Moore and Ruth Alexander hear from Professor David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Centre at the University of New Hampshire.

Image: A box for transporting human organs. Credit: Getty Images

A Warning about Big Data2014101720141019 (WS)

With the hype surrounding big data are we forgetting some basic statistical lessons?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Big data has been enjoying a lot of hype, with promises it will help deliver everything from increased corporate profits to better healthcare. While the potential is certainly there, Tim Harford asks if the hype is blinding us to some basic statistical lessons learned over the past 200 years?

Picture: Binary data, Credit: Shutterstock

A Warning about Big Data2014101720141020 (WS)

With the hype surrounding big data are we forgetting some basic statistical lessons?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Big data has been enjoying a lot of hype, with promises it will help deliver everything from increased corporate profits to better healthcare. While the potential is certainly there, Tim Harford asks if the hype is blinding us to some basic statistical lessons learned over the past 200 years?

Picture: Binary data, Credit: Shutterstock

A Warning about Big Data20141017

With the hype surrounding big data are we forgetting some basic statistical lessons?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Big data has been enjoying a lot of hype, with promises it will help deliver everything from increased corporate profits to better healthcare. While the potential is certainly there, Tim Harford asks if the hype is blinding us to some basic statistical lessons learned over the past 200 years?

Picture: Binary data, Credit: Shutterstock

€sympathy’ For Jihadis.2015112720151130 (WS)

Are claims that one in five British Muslims ‘sympathise with jihadis’ correct?

A front page article in a British tabloid claimed that one in five British Muslims have sympathy for jihadis. Ruth Alexander investigates whether this is correct, and asks which countries have the most support for Islamic State fighters.

(Image: A muslim demonstration against terrorism. Credit: Getty)

Alcohol and Cancer2014012520140126 (WS)

Do two large glasses of wine triple the risk of mouth cancer?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Do two large glasses of wine triple your risk of mouth cancer, as claimed on a health leaflet spotted by a sceptical listener? Tim Harford examines the difficulties of extracting smoking from the equation.

Surprising as this may seem, one of the world's best tennis players of all time, Roger Federer, is also the worst ranked player on one scale. The scoring system makes it possible to lose a match despite winning more points, and Federer has lost the highest percentage of these types of games. Tim speaks to sports number-cruncher Ryan Rodenberg about why this might be the case.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Ruth Alexander

Alcohol and Cancer2014012520140127 (WS)

Do two large glasses of wine triple the risk of mouth cancer?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Do two large glasses of wine triple your risk of mouth cancer, as claimed on a health leaflet spotted by a sceptical listener? Tim Harford examines the difficulties of extracting smoking from the equation.

Surprising as this may seem, one of the world's best tennis players of all time, Roger Federer, is also the worst ranked player on one scale. The scoring system makes it possible to lose a match despite winning more points, and Federer has lost the highest percentage of these types of games. Tim speaks to sports number-cruncher Ryan Rodenberg about why this might be the case.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Ruth Alexander

Alcohol and Cancer20140125

Do two large glasses of wine triple the risk of mouth cancer?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Do two large glasses of wine triple your risk of mouth cancer, as claimed on a health leaflet spotted by a sceptical listener? Tim Harford examines the difficulties of extracting smoking from the equation.

Surprising as this may seem, one of the world's best tennis players of all time, Roger Federer, is also the worst ranked player on one scale. The scoring system makes it possible to lose a match despite winning more points, and Federer has lost the highest percentage of these types of games. Tim speaks to sports number-cruncher Ryan Rodenberg about why this might be the case.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Ruth Alexander

Alcohol And Cancer2014012520140126 (WS)
20140127 (WS)

Do two large glasses of wine triple your risk of mouth cancer, as claimed on a health leaflet spotted by a sceptical listener? Tim Harford examines the difficulties of extracting smoking from the equation.

Surprising as this may seem, one of the world's best tennis players of all time, Roger Federer, is also the worst ranked player on one scale. The scoring system makes it possible to lose a match despite winning more points, and Federer has lost the highest percentage of these types of games. Tim speaks to sports number-cruncher Ryan Rodenberg about why this might be the case.

Presenter: Tim Harford

Producer: Ruth Alexander

Do two large glasses of wine triple the risk of mouth cancer?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Algorithms, Crime And Punishment2016101420161017 (WS)

When maths can get you locked up.

A drive-by shooting in the US midwest has raised fundamental questions about how algorithms are being used in the country's criminal justice system. A defendant in the case was put behind bars after an algorithm used by the court calculated that he was at high risk of reoffending. The risk assessment algorithm crunches data about defendants' past criminal history and from their answers to a questionnaire to come up with the risk score. It's supposed to help make decisions less subjective, but one recent analysis found that the algorithm was biased against black people.

(Photo: A guard walking down a cell block. Credit: Getty Images)

Algorithms, Crime and Punishment2016101420161017 (WS)

When maths can get you locked up.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A drive-by shooting in the US midwest has raised fundamental questions about how algorithms are being used in the country's criminal justice system. A defendant in the case was put behind bars after an algorithm used by the court calculated that he was at high risk of reoffending. The risk assessment algorithm crunches data about defendants' past criminal history and from their answers to a questionnaire to come up with the risk score. It's supposed to help make decisions less subjective, but one recent analysis found that the algorithm was biased against black people.

(Photo: A guard walking down a cell block. Credit: Getty Images)

Algorithms, Crime and Punishment20161014

When maths can get you locked up.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A drive-by shooting in the US midwest has raised fundamental questions about how algorithms are being used in the country's criminal justice system. A defendant in the case was put behind bars after an algorithm used by the court calculated that he was at high risk of reoffending. The risk assessment algorithm crunches data about defendants' past criminal history and from their answers to a questionnaire to come up with the risk score. It's supposed to help make decisions less subjective, but one recent analysis found that the algorithm was biased against black people.

(Photo: A guard walking down a cell block. Credit: Getty Images)

An Urban Maze2017050720170508 (WS)

Why some parts of town are hard to navigate.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Why are some parts of town are hard to navigate? Mazes may seem like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon – but living in a maze can be a problem. Navigation expert Dr Ruth Dalton takes us on a tour of the Barbican Estate in London, a famous example of Brutalist architecture but many people struggle to find their way around the area. She explains the impact of “intelligibility” on a local economy, and outlines a link between map-reading and dementia.

Presenter: Tim Harford and Jordan Dunbar

Producer: Hannah Sander

(Photo: 'Floating' gardens in the Barbican Estate, Credit: Roger Jackson/Getty Images)

An Urban Maze2017050720170509 (WS)

Why some parts of town are hard to navigate.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Why are some parts of town are hard to navigate? Mazes may seem like a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon – but living in a maze can be a problem. Navigation expert Dr Ruth Dalton takes us on a tour of the Barbican Estate in London, a famous example of Brutalist architecture but many people struggle to find their way around the area. She explains the impact of “intelligibility” on a local economy, and outlines a link between map-reading and dementia.

Presenter: Tim Harford and Jordan Dunbar

Producer: Hannah Sander

(Photo: 'Floating' gardens in the Barbican Estate, Credit: Roger Jackson/Getty Images)

An Urban Maze20170508

Why some parts of town are hard to navigate.

Analysing Chris Froome's Tour de France victory2013072720130728 (WS)

What do the numbers tell us about Chris Froome's Tour de France performance?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The winner of this year's Tour de France, British rider Chris Froome, faced numerous questions about doping during the course of his victory. More or Less assesses his performance stats, and asks whether maths can measure whether cycling really has cleaned up its act and whether Froome is simply a victim of the ghosts of cycling's past. Dr Ross Tucker from The Science of Sport website gives us his views and we hear from physiologist Fred Grappe - the only man to see Froome's tour data.

(Image: Le Tour de France 2013 - Stage Eleven. Credit: Getty Images)

Analysing Chris Froome's Tour de France victory2013072720130729 (WS)

What do the numbers tell us about Chris Froome's Tour de France performance?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The winner of this year's Tour de France, British rider Chris Froome, faced numerous questions about doping during the course of his victory. More or Less assesses his performance stats, and asks whether maths can measure whether cycling really has cleaned up its act and whether Froome is simply a victim of the ghosts of cycling's past. Dr Ross Tucker from The Science of Sport website gives us his views and we hear from physiologist Fred Grappe - the only man to see Froome's tour data.

(Image: Le Tour de France 2013 - Stage Eleven. Credit: Getty Images)

Analysing Chris Froome's Tour de France victory20130727

What do the numbers tell us about Chris Froome's Tour de France performance?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The winner of this year's Tour de France, British rider Chris Froome, faced numerous questions about doping during the course of his victory. More or Less assesses his performance stats, and asks whether maths can measure whether cycling really has cleaned up its act and whether Froome is simply a victim of the ghosts of cycling's past. Dr Ross Tucker from The Science of Sport website gives us his views and we hear from physiologist Fred Grappe - the only man to see Froome's tour data.

(Image: Le Tour de France 2013 - Stage Eleven. Credit: Getty Images)

Antibiotics And The Problem Of The Broken Market2016022620160229 (WS)

The world needs new antibiotics so how do we entice big pharmaceuticals back in?

It is a life and death situation – the world is at its last line of defence against some pretty nasty bacteria and there are no new antibiotics. But it is not the science that’s the big problem, it is the economics. Despite the $40 billion market worldwide there is no money to be made in antibiotics so big pharmaceuticals have all but stopped their research. Why is this and how do we entice them back in? Wesley Stephenson finds out.

(Image: Computer artwork of bacteria. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Antibiotics and the Problem of the Broken Market2016022620160229 (WS)

The world needs new antibiotics so how do we entice big pharmaceuticals back in?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

It is a life and death situation – the world is at its last line of defence against some pretty nasty bacteria and there are no new antibiotics. But it is not the science that’s the big problem, it is the economics. Despite the $40 billion market worldwide there is no money to be made in antibiotics so big pharmaceuticals have all but stopped their research. Why is this and how do we entice them back in? Wesley Stephenson finds out.

(Image: Computer artwork of bacteria. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Antibiotics and the Problem of the Broken Market20160226

The world needs new antibiotics so how do we entice big pharmaceuticals back in?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

It is a life and death situation – the world is at its last line of defence against some pretty nasty bacteria and there are no new antibiotics. But it is not the science that’s the big problem, it is the economics. Despite the $40 billion market worldwide there is no money to be made in antibiotics so big pharmaceuticals have all but stopped their research. Why is this and how do we entice them back in? Wesley Stephenson finds out.

(Image: Computer artwork of bacteria. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Anti-Semitism2014081520140817 (WS)

In the wake of the Gaza conflict, we investigate claims that anti-Semitism is rising.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is anti-Semitism on the rise? Ruth Alexander and James Fletcher look at the numbers, as media reports in the wake of the Gaza conflict suggest anti-Semitism is a growing problem. Does the evidence support the claims?

(Image: Synagogue Walls Desecrated With Anti-Semitic Graffiti. Credit: Getty Images)

Anti-Semitism2014081520140818 (WS)

In the wake of the Gaza conflict, we investigate claims that anti-Semitism is rising.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is anti-Semitism on the rise? Ruth Alexander and James Fletcher look at the numbers, as media reports in the wake of the Gaza conflict suggest anti-Semitism is a growing problem. Does the evidence support the claims?

(Image: Synagogue Walls Desecrated With Anti-Semitic Graffiti. Credit: Getty Images)

Anti-Semitism20140815

In the wake of the Gaza conflict, we investigate claims that anti-Semitism is rising.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is anti-Semitism on the rise? Ruth Alexander and James Fletcher look at the numbers, as media reports in the wake of the Gaza conflict suggest anti-Semitism is a growing problem. Does the evidence support the claims?

(Image: Synagogue Walls Desecrated With Anti-Semitic Graffiti. Credit: Getty Images)

Are 95% of Terrorism Victims Muslim?2015011720150118 (WS)

Tim Harford investigates the popular statistical claim

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

In the wake of the Paris killings, an imam in Paris told the BBC that most terrorism victims around the world are Muslim. Is that true? More or Less speaks to Erin Miller of the Global Terrorism Database.

The reported death toll of the Boko Haram attack in Baga, Nigeria, this month has ranged from 150 to more than 2000 people. More or Less speaks to Julian Rademeyer of Africa Check, who has been trying to get to the truth.

(Image: Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami pray for the victims of Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar. Credit: Associated Press)

Are 95% of Terrorism Victims Muslim?20150117

Tim Harford investigates the popular statistical claim

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

In the wake of the Paris killings, an imam in Paris told the BBC that most terrorism victims around the world are Muslim. Is that true? More or Less speaks to Erin Miller of the Global Terrorism Database.

The reported death toll of the Boko Haram attack in Baga, Nigeria, this month has ranged from 150 to more than 2000 people. More or Less speaks to Julian Rademeyer of Africa Check, who has been trying to get to the truth.

(Image: Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami pray for the victims of Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar. Credit: Associated Press)

Are African Football Players More Likely to Die on the Field?2017061120170612 (WS)

After the death of Cheick Tiote, are African footballers more prone to heart attacks?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Cheick Tiote, the much loved former Newcastle United player collapsed and died while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises earlier this month. His death and that of other black footballers have caused some commentators to ask – are African or black players more likely to die while playing than other people?

The data of footballers deaths is pretty poor but we try to glean some answers from the scant numbers available. It look like one of the most common causes of death among players on the pitch is cardiac arrest – son is this is a greater risk factor for people of African heritage?

We speak to statistician Dr Robert Mastrodomenico and Professor Sanjay Sharma, a specialist in sports cardiology.

Presented and produced by Jordan Dunbar and Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James Park Credit: Getty Images)

Are African Football Players More Likely to Die on the Field?2017061120170613 (WS)

After the death of Cheick Tiote, are African footballers more prone to heart attacks?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Cheick Tiote, the much loved former Newcastle United player collapsed and died while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises earlier this month. His death and that of other black footballers have caused some commentators to ask – are African or black players more likely to die while playing than other people?

The data of footballers deaths is pretty poor but we try to glean some answers from the scant numbers available. It look like one of the most common causes of death among players on the pitch is cardiac arrest – son is this is a greater risk factor for people of African heritage?

We speak to statistician Dr Robert Mastrodomenico and Professor Sanjay Sharma, a specialist in sports cardiology.

Presented and produced by Jordan Dunbar and Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James Park Credit: Getty Images)

Are African Football Players More Likely To Die On The Field?20170612

After the death of Cheick Tiote, are African footballers more prone to heart attacks?

Cheick Tiote, the much loved former Newcastle United player collapsed and died while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises earlier this month. His death and that of other black footballers have caused some commentators to ask – are African or black players more likely to die while playing than other people?

The data of footballers deaths is pretty poor but we try to glean some answers from the scant numbers available. It look like one of the most common causes of death among players on the pitch is cardiac arrest – son is this is a greater risk factor for people of African heritage?

We speak to statistician Dr Robert Mastrodomenico and Professor Sanjay Sharma, a specialist in sports cardiology.

Presented and produced by Jordan Dunbar and Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James Park Credit: Getty Images)

Are African leaders more likely to die in office?20120825

Are African leaders more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to die in office?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia is the fourth African premier to die this year alone.

Are African leaders more likely to die in office, than their counterparts elsewhere?

Also, does marriage make economic sense?

(Image: Ghanaian soldiers carry the coffin of late President John Atta Mills during the funeral service at Independence Square in Accra on 10 August 2012. Credit: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEIPIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Are African Leaders More Likely To Die In Office?2012082520120826 (WS)

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia is the fourth African premier to die this year alone. Are African leaders more likely to die in office, than their counterparts elsewhere? Also: does marriage make economic sense?

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia is the fourth African premier to die this year alone.

Are African leaders more likely to die in office, than their counterparts elsewhere?

Also, does marriage make economic sense?

(Image: Ghanaian soldiers carry the coffin of late President John Atta Mills during the funeral service at Independence Square in Accra on 10 August 2012. Credit: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEIPIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Are African leaders more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to die in office?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Are African leaders more likely to die in office?20120826

Are African leaders more likely than their counterparts elsewhere to die in office?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia is the fourth African premier to die this year alone.

Are African leaders more likely to die in office, than their counterparts elsewhere?

Also, does marriage make economic sense?

(Image: Ghanaian soldiers carry the coffin of late President John Atta Mills during the funeral service at Independence Square in Accra on 10 August 2012. Credit: AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEIPIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

Are Extradition Treaties Fair? Plus, Tour De France Performance Statistics2013072120130722 (WS)

The predicament of a young man stuck in the transit area of a Moscow airport after blowing the whistle on the US's systematic seizing of vast amounts of phone and web data has highlighted the international politics of extradition. Edward Snowden is wanted by the US for leaking details of government surveillance programmes. But are critics right to complain that it is easier to extradite a suspect to the US than vice versa? Ruth Alexander takes a look at the numbers on this - and also European arrest warrants - and some of the results might surprise you. The programme hears from Ted Bromund, a senior research fellow in Anglo-American relations at the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom thinktank in Washington DC; and Anand Doobay, an extradition lawyer from Peters and Peters Solicitors in the UK.

Plus, the leader of this year's Tour de France, British rider Chris Froome, has been speaking of his disappointment that his victory so far has been marked by questions about doping. More or Less assesses his performance stats, and asks whether maths can measure whether cycling really has cleaned up its act. Dr Ross Tucker from The Science of Sport website gives us his views.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander

Producer: Ben Carter

(Image: Edward Snowden Speaks To The Guardian. Credit: Getty Images)

Is the US-UK deal on suspects balanced? Can maths show competition leader is dope-free?

Are Manchester United a one-man team?2013042720130428 (WS)

Lead scorer power calculated; and, maths problems raised in the Kercher murder case

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is it true that top English Premier League teams are one-man sides? Before the start of the 2012/13 English Premier League season Manchester City’s manager, Roberto Mancini expressed fears that the signing of Robin Van Persie by big rival, Manchester United, would win United the league.

His fears were realised earlier this week when a Van Persie hat trick saw United beat Aston Villa to secure the league title.

But how important really have Van Persie’s goals been to Manchester United’s campaign? Would Tottenham be challenging for a Champions League spot without Gareth Bale’s goals? And how much bite has Luis Suarez’s contribution given Liverpool’s season? More or Less’ Ben Carter creates the Alternative Premier League table, where the leading scorer for each club has their goals chalked off. There are surprises, and one player really stands out as player of the season. And he wasn’t one of the six players nominated for the Professional Football Associations player of the year. Can you guess who it is?

And, as an Italian Court overturns the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, accused of killing student Merdith Kercher, mathematician and author of Math on Trial, Coralie Colmez, argues that one judge in the case failed to understand some of the probabilities attached to the forensic evidence – and, in doing so, has missed an opportunity to get to the truth of the matter.

Presenter and producer: Ruth Alexander

Image: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League, Credit: Getty Images

Are Manchester United a one-man team?2013042720130429 (WS)

Lead scorer power calculated; and, maths problems raised in the Kercher murder case

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is it true that top English Premier League teams are one-man sides? Before the start of the 2012/13 English Premier League season Manchester City’s manager, Roberto Mancini expressed fears that the signing of Robin Van Persie by big rival, Manchester United, would win United the league.

His fears were realised earlier this week when a Van Persie hat trick saw United beat Aston Villa to secure the league title.

But how important really have Van Persie’s goals been to Manchester United’s campaign? Would Tottenham be challenging for a Champions League spot without Gareth Bale’s goals? And how much bite has Luis Suarez’s contribution given Liverpool’s season? More or Less’ Ben Carter creates the Alternative Premier League table, where the leading scorer for each club has their goals chalked off. There are surprises, and one player really stands out as player of the season. And he wasn’t one of the six players nominated for the Professional Football Associations player of the year. Can you guess who it is?

And, as an Italian Court overturns the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, accused of killing student Merdith Kercher, mathematician and author of Math on Trial, Coralie Colmez, argues that one judge in the case failed to understand some of the probabilities attached to the forensic evidence – and, in doing so, has missed an opportunity to get to the truth of the matter.

Presenter and producer: Ruth Alexander

Image: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League, Credit: Getty Images

Are Manchester United a one-man team?20130427

Lead scorer power calculated; and, maths problems raised in the Kercher murder case

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is it true that top English Premier League teams are one-man sides? Before the start of the 2012/13 English Premier League season Manchester City’s manager, Roberto Mancini expressed fears that the signing of Robin Van Persie by big rival, Manchester United, would win United the league.

His fears were realised earlier this week when a Van Persie hat trick saw United beat Aston Villa to secure the league title.

But how important really have Van Persie’s goals been to Manchester United’s campaign? Would Tottenham be challenging for a Champions League spot without Gareth Bale’s goals? And how much bite has Luis Suarez’s contribution given Liverpool’s season? More or Less’ Ben Carter creates the Alternative Premier League table, where the leading scorer for each club has their goals chalked off. There are surprises, and one player really stands out as player of the season. And he wasn’t one of the six players nominated for the Professional Football Associations player of the year. Can you guess who it is?

And, as an Italian Court overturns the acquittal of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, accused of killing student Merdith Kercher, mathematician and author of Math on Trial, Coralie Colmez, argues that one judge in the case failed to understand some of the probabilities attached to the forensic evidence – and, in doing so, has missed an opportunity to get to the truth of the matter.

Presenter and producer: Ruth Alexander

Image: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United - Premier League, Credit: Getty Images

Are Tall People More Likely to Get Cancer?20151009

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? Ruth Alexander looks at a new study

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Are Tall People More Likely to Get Cancer?2015100920151011 (WS)

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? Ruth Alexander looks at a new study

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Are Tall People More Likely to Get Cancer?2015100920151012 (WS)

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? Ruth Alexander looks at a new study

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Are Tall People More Likely To Get Cancer?2015100920151010 (WS)
20151011 (WS)
20151012 (WS)

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)

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? Ruth Alexander looks at a new study

Are there 15,000 transgender people serving in the US military?2017081320170814 (WS)

President Trump says transgender individuals cannot serve, but how many do already?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

President Trump recently announced that the US Government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military." This provoked criticism from Congressman Mark Pocan who said that there were 15,000 transgender people serving in the military today. That number was widely reported – but is it true?

Presenter and Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(image: US Joint Service Honor Guard, Washington DC. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Are there 15,000 transgender people serving in the US military?2017081320170815 (WS)

President Trump says transgender individuals cannot serve, but how many do already?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

President Trump recently announced that the US Government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military." This provoked criticism from Congressman Mark Pocan who said that there were 15,000 transgender people serving in the military today. That number was widely reported – but is it true?

Presenter and Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(image: US Joint Service Honor Guard, Washington DC. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Are There 15,000 Transgender People Serving In The Us Military?20170814

President Trump says transgender individuals cannot serve, but how many do already?

President Trump recently announced that the US Government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military." This provoked criticism from Congressman Mark Pocan who said that there were 15,000 transgender people serving in the military today. That number was widely reported – but is it true?

Presenter and Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(image: US Joint Service Honor Guard, Washington DC. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Are there more black men in college or prison in the US?2013031620130317 (WS)

Last week the US Speaker said that there were more black men in prison than in college.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

At a university lecture only last week Ivory Toldson heard the speaker say there are more black men in prison in America than in college. ‘Here we go again’ he thought. Only the week before he had written his second article on why this statistic is not true, yet it was still being repeated. This week Ruth Alexander looks at where this ‘fact’ came from and why it is still being used.

Also, why the opinion polls got the Kenyan elections wrong.

Are there more black men in college or prison in the US?20130316

Last week the US Speaker said that there were more black men in prison than in college.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

At a university lecture only last week Ivory Toldson heard the speaker say there are more black men in prison in America than in college. ‘Here we go again’ he thought. Only the week before he had written his second article on why this statistic is not true, yet it was still being repeated. This week Ruth Alexander looks at where this ‘fact’ came from and why it is still being used.

Also, why the opinion polls got the Kenyan elections wrong.

Are US Millennials More Politically Engaged Online?2017102020171023 (WS)

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics? This was something that millennial Kevin Lin heard in the media after President Trump was elected. He decided to design a research project to see if there was evidence on the website Reddit that more young people were engaging with politics. Kevin explains his findings and the pitfalls of trying to measure anything on social media. He is the winner of the 2017 Young Writers competition for the statistical magazine Significance.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar
Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Students from Los Angeles California high schools gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Are US Millennials More Politically Engaged Online?2017102020171024 (WS)

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics? This was something that millennial Kevin Lin heard in the media after President Trump was elected. He decided to design a research project to see if there was evidence on the website Reddit that more young people were engaging with politics. Kevin explains his findings and the pitfalls of trying to measure anything on social media. He is the winner of the 2017 Young Writers competition for the statistical magazine Significance.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar
Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Students from Los Angeles California high schools gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Are US Millennials More Politically Engaged Online?20171020

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics? This was something that millennial Kevin Lin heard in the media after President Trump was elected. He decided to design a research project to see if there was evidence on the website Reddit that more young people were engaging with politics. Kevin explains his findings and the pitfalls of trying to measure anything on social media. He is the winner of the 2017 Young Writers competition for the statistical magazine Significance.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar
Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Students from Los Angeles California high schools gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Are Us Millennials More Politically Engaged Online?20171023

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics?

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics? This was something that millennial Kevin Lin heard in the media after President Trump was elected. He decided to design a research project to see if there was evidence on the website Reddit that more young people were engaging with politics. Kevin explains his findings and the pitfalls of trying to measure anything on social media. He is the winner of the 2017 Young Writers competition for the statistical magazine Significance.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar
Producer: Charlotte McDonald

(Photo: Students from Los Angeles California high schools gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Are We Breathing Unsafe Air?2018041420180415 (WS)

The W.H.O. say 95% of people in cities breathe unsafe air, but what does 'unsafe' mean?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world? Plus Mt Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is calculating this? And how do they know the answer with such accuracy?

(Photo: People wear masks as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant, Shanxi, China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Are We Breathing Unsafe Air?2018041420180416 (WS)

The W.H.O. say 95% of people in cities breathe unsafe air, but what does 'unsafe' mean?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world? Plus Mt Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is calculating this? And how do they know the answer with such accuracy?

(Photo: People wear masks as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant, Shanxi, China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Are We Breathing Unsafe Air?2018041420180417 (WS)

The W.H.O. say 95% of people in cities breathe unsafe air, but what does 'unsafe' mean?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world? Plus Mt Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is calculating this? And how do they know the answer with such accuracy?

(Photo: People wear masks as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant, Shanxi, China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Are We Breathing Unsafe Air?2018041420180415 (WS)
20180416 (WS)
20180417 (WS)

The W.H.O. say 95% of people in cities breathe unsafe air, but what does 'unsafe' mean?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The World Health Organisation say that 95% of people who live in cities breathe unsafe air. But what do they mean by ‘unsafe’? And how do they calculate the levels or air pollution for every city in the world? Plus Mt Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is calculating this? And how do they know the answer with such accuracy?

(Photo: People wear masks as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant, Shanxi, China. Credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Austerity: A Spreadsheet Error?2013042020130421 (WS)

The story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Tim Harford tells the story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper that has been used to make the case for austerity cuts.

In 2010, two Harvard economists published an academic study, which showed that when government debt rises above 90% of annual economic output, growth falls significantly.

As politicians tried to find answers to the global economic crisis, "Growth in a Time of Debt" by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was cited by some of the key figures making the case for tough debt-cutting measures in the US and Europe.

But graduate student Thomas Herndon and his professors say they have found problems with the Reinhart-Rogoff findings. What does this mean for austerity economics?

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: A cardboard cut-out of a pair of scissors, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Austerity: A Spreadsheet Error?2013042020130422 (WS)

The story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Tim Harford tells the story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper that has been used to make the case for austerity cuts.

In 2010, two Harvard economists published an academic study, which showed that when government debt rises above 90% of annual economic output, growth falls significantly.

As politicians tried to find answers to the global economic crisis, "Growth in a Time of Debt" by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was cited by some of the key figures making the case for tough debt-cutting measures in the US and Europe.

But graduate student Thomas Herndon and his professors say they have found problems with the Reinhart-Rogoff findings. What does this mean for austerity economics?

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: A cardboard cut-out of a pair of scissors, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Austerity: A Spreadsheet Error?20130420

The story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Tim Harford tells the story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper that has been used to make the case for austerity cuts.

In 2010, two Harvard economists published an academic study, which showed that when government debt rises above 90% of annual economic output, growth falls significantly.

As politicians tried to find answers to the global economic crisis, "Growth in a Time of Debt" by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was cited by some of the key figures making the case for tough debt-cutting measures in the US and Europe.

But graduate student Thomas Herndon and his professors say they have found problems with the Reinhart-Rogoff findings. What does this mean for austerity economics?

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: A cardboard cut-out of a pair of scissors, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Austerity: A Spreadsheet Error?2013042120130422 (WS)

Tim Harford tells the story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper that has been used to make the case for austerity cuts.

In 2010, two Harvard economists published an academic study, which showed that when government debt rises above 90% of annual economic output, growth falls significantly.

As politicians tried to find answers to the global economic crisis, “Growth in a Time of Debt? by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff was cited by some of the key figures making the case for tough debt-cutting measures in the US and Europe.

But graduate student Thomas Herndon and his professors say they have found problems with the Reinhart-Rogoff findings. What does this mean for austerity economics?

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: A cardboard cut-out of a pair of scissors, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The story of the student who uncovered a mistake in a famous economic paper.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Australia Calling2018052620180528 (WS)

Do one in seven businessmen throw out their underwear after wearing them once?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

This week we tackle some of our listeners’ questions from Australia: do one in seven businessmen throw out their pants after wearing them once? This is a claim made by an expert talking about clothes waste – but what does it come from? Do horses kill more people than venomous animals? Australia is known for its dangerous wildlife, but how deadly is it for humans? Plus, a politician says lots of Australians have used cannabis – we take a look at the evidence.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker

(Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)

Australia Calling2018052620180529 (WS)

Do one in seven businessmen throw out their underwear after wearing them once?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

This week we tackle some of our listeners’ questions from Australia: do one in seven businessmen throw out their pants after wearing them once? This is a claim made by an expert talking about clothes waste – but what does it come from? Do horses kill more people than venomous animals? Australia is known for its dangerous wildlife, but how deadly is it for humans? Plus, a politician says lots of Australians have used cannabis – we take a look at the evidence.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker

(Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)

Australia Calling2018052620180527 (WS)
20180528 (WS)
20180529 (WS)

Do one in seven businessmen throw out their underwear after wearing them once?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

This week we tackle some of our listeners’ questions from Australia: do one in seven businessmen throw out their pants after wearing them once? This is a claim made by an expert talking about clothes waste – but what does it come from? Do horses kill more people than venomous animals? Australia is known for its dangerous wildlife, but how deadly is it for humans? Plus, a politician says lots of Australians have used cannabis – we take a look at the evidence.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker

(Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)

Do one in seven businessmen throw out their underwear after wearing them once?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

This week we tackle some of our listeners’ questions from Australia: do one in seven businessmen throw out their pants after wearing them once? This is a claim made by an expert talking about clothes waste – but what does it come from? Do horses kill more people than venomous animals? Australia is known for its dangerous wildlife, but how deadly is it for humans? Plus, a politician says lots of Australians have used cannabis – we take a look at the evidence.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producers: Charlotte McDonald and Sachin Croker

(Picture: Male models in underwear follow a businessman. Credit: Getty's Images)

Avoiding Asteroids2016111820161121 (WS)

We\u2019re getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks \u2013 but how safe are we?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A new NASA warning system means we’re getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks. But how safe are we?

The proportion of asteroids we know about has grown rapidly in the past few decades, so what are the chances of us being taken by surprise? If we did spot an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, what could we do about it? And – perhaps most importantly of all – could the plot of the film Armageddon happen in real life? We get answers from NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

Image: Asteroid - photo credit: Shutterstock

Avoiding Asteroids20161118

We\u2019re getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks \u2013 but how safe are we?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A new NASA warning system means we’re getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks. But how safe are we?

The proportion of asteroids we know about has grown rapidly in the past few decades, so what are the chances of us being taken by surprise? If we did spot an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, what could we do about it? And – perhaps most importantly of all – could the plot of the film Armageddon happen in real life? We get answers from NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

Image: Asteroid - photo credit: Shutterstock

Avoiding Asteroids2016111820161121 (WS)

We’re getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks – but how safe are we?

A new NASA warning system means we’re getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks. But how safe are we?

The proportion of asteroids we know about has grown rapidly in the past few decades, so what are the chances of us being taken by surprise? If we did spot an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, what could we do about it? And – perhaps most importantly of all – could the plot of the film Armageddon happen in real life? We get answers from NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

Image: Asteroid - photo credit: Shutterstock

Baby Boxes \u2013 Are they Really Saving Infants' Lives?2017032420170327 (WS)

They have become a bit of a phenomenon but what is the evidence that they work?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Ever since a BBC article highlighted the use of baby boxes in Finland they have become a bit of a phenomenon. They are not new though - Finland has been doing this for 75 years. The simple cardboard boxes are given to families for their new born babies to sleep in. Since their introduction, cot death and has fallen and child health has improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But think about it for minute – can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect? Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been looking at the truth behind the story.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald
Producer: Elizabeth Cassin

(Photo:One of Scotland's first baby boxes is seen at Clackmannanshire Community Health Centre. Credit: Getty Images)

Baby Boxes \u2013 Are they Really Saving Infants' Lives?2017032420170328 (WS)

They have become a bit of a phenomenon but what is the evidence that they work?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Ever since a BBC article highlighted the use of baby boxes in Finland they have become a bit of a phenomenon. They are not new though - Finland has been doing this for 75 years. The simple cardboard boxes are given to families for their new born babies to sleep in. Since their introduction, cot death and has fallen and child health has improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But think about it for minute – can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect? Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been looking at the truth behind the story.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald
Producer: Elizabeth Cassin

(Photo:One of Scotland's first baby boxes is seen at Clackmannanshire Community Health Centre. Credit: Getty Images)

Baby Boxes \u2013 Are they Really Saving Infants' Lives?20170324

They have become a bit of a phenomenon but what is the evidence that they work?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Ever since a BBC article highlighted the use of baby boxes in Finland they have become a bit of a phenomenon. They are not new though - Finland has been doing this for 75 years. The simple cardboard boxes are given to families for their new born babies to sleep in. Since their introduction, cot death and has fallen and child health has improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But think about it for minute – can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect? Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been looking at the truth behind the story.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald
Producer: Elizabeth Cassin

(Photo:One of Scotland's first baby boxes is seen at Clackmannanshire Community Health Centre. Credit: Getty Images)

Baby Boxes € Are They Really Saving Infant’s Lives?2017032420170327 (WS)
20170328 (WS)

They’ve become a bit of a phenomenon but what’s the evidence that they work?

Ever since a BBC article highlighted the use of baby boxes in Finland they have become a bit of a phenomenon. They’re not new though: Finland has been doing this for 75 years. The simple cardboard boxes are given to families for their new born babies to sleep in. Since their introduction, cot death and has fallen and child health has improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But think about it for minute – can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect? Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been looking at the truth behind the story.

Presenter: Charlotte McDonald

Producer: Elizabeth Cassin

(Photo:One of Scotland's first baby boxes is seen at Clackmannanshire Community Health Centre. Credit: Getty Images)

Bad Luck and Cancer2015011020150111 (WS)

Is 'bad luck' the cause of most cancers as reports of a new study suggest?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Most cancers are caused by 'bad luck' according to reports of a new study. But, actually, the study doesn't say that. Tim Harford finds out what the research really tells us about the causes of cancer, speaking to PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, in the United States and Professor George Davey-Smith, clinical epidemiologist at Bristol University in the UK.

(Photo: Dividing breast cancer cell. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Bad Luck and Cancer2015011020150113 (WS)

Is 'bad luck' the cause of most cancers as reports of a new study suggest?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Most cancers are caused by 'bad luck' according to reports of a new study. But, actually, the study doesn't say that. Tim Harford finds out what the research really tells us about the causes of cancer, speaking to PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, in the United States and Professor George Davey-Smith, clinical epidemiologist at Bristol University in the UK.

(Photo: Dividing breast cancer cell. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Bad Luck and Cancer20150110

Is 'bad luck' the cause of most cancers as reports of a new study suggest?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Most cancers are caused by 'bad luck' according to reports of a new study. But, actually, the study doesn't say that. Tim Harford finds out what the research really tells us about the causes of cancer, speaking to PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, in the United States and Professor George Davey-Smith, clinical epidemiologist at Bristol University in the UK.

(Photo: Dividing breast cancer cell. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Big Numbers2015051520150517 (WS)

How a simple computer bug has led to explosions, missing planes and more

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Big numbers do not just confuse people – many computers struggle to process them too. Tim Harford talks to technology journalist Chris Baraniuk, who explains how a simple software bug affects computers controlling planes, spacecraft and has led to explosions, missing space probes and more. And good news – two mothers who asked us to work out the chances of giving birth on the same day have had their babies. We reveal what happened.

(Photo:Composition of connected abstract elements on the subject of networking, science, education and modern technology. Credit: Shutterstock)

Big Numbers2015051520150518 (WS)

How a simple computer bug has led to explosions, missing planes and more

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Big numbers do not just confuse people – many computers struggle to process them too. Tim Harford talks to technology journalist Chris Baraniuk, who explains how a simple software bug affects computers controlling planes, spacecraft and has led to explosions, missing space probes and more. And good news – two mothers who asked us to work out the chances of giving birth on the same day have had their babies. We reveal what happened.

(Photo:Composition of connected abstract elements on the subject of networking, science, education and modern technology. Credit: Shutterstock)

Big Numbers20150515

How a simple computer bug has led to explosions, missing planes and more

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Big numbers do not just confuse people – many computers struggle to process them too. Tim Harford talks to technology journalist Chris Baraniuk, who explains how a simple software bug affects computers controlling planes, spacecraft and has led to explosions, missing space probes and more. And good news – two mothers who asked us to work out the chances of giving birth on the same day have had their babies. We reveal what happened.

(Photo:Composition of connected abstract elements on the subject of networking, science, education and modern technology. Credit: Shutterstock)

Big Polluters: Ships v Cars2017100120171002 (WS)

Do the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A number of websites have claimed that ‘15 of the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world.’ That is a very catchy statement which gives an indication of the pollution produced by shipping containers around the world. But is it true? We look at the different types of emissions produced by container ships and cars.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar

(Photo: The ultra-large container ship MOL Triumph, from South Korea, coming in to port. Credit: M.MacMatzen/Getty Images)

Big Polluters: Ships v Cars2017100120171003 (WS)

Do the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

A number of websites have claimed that ‘15 of the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world.’ That is a very catchy statement which gives an indication of the pollution produced by shipping containers around the world. But is it true? We look at the different types of emissions produced by container ships and cars.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar

(Photo: The ultra-large container ship MOL Triumph, from South Korea, coming in to port. Credit: M.MacMatzen/Getty Images)

Big Polluters: Ships Versus Cars20171002

Do the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world?

A number of websites have claimed that ‘15 of the largest ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world.’ That is a very catchy statement which gives an indication of the pollution produced by shipping containers around the world. But is it true? We look at the different types of emissions produced by container ships and cars.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Charlotte McDonald and Jordan Dunbar

(Photo: The ultra-large container ship MOL Triumph, from South Korea, coming in to port. Credit: M.MacMatzen/Getty Images)

Biggest Movies2015062620150628 (WS)

Jurassic World took $511m in its first weekend. Why have recent films done so well?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The film Jurassic World broke the record for the biggest opening weekend taking $511m. Most of the top ten films with the biggest opening weekends were released in the last five years. So in an age where the competition is fierce for cinemas why are these films doing so well?

Bees and the British Royal Family
For reasons best known to the editors, one British newspaper decided to ask the question: ‘Who brings more to the British economy – the British Royal Family or bees. The answer? Bees of course. More or Less takes a look and finds the methodology is as bee-musing as the initial comparison.

(Photo: Scene from Jurassic World. Credit: ILM/Universal Pictures/Amblin Entert, Associated Press)

Biggest Movies2015062620150629 (WS)

Jurassic World took $511m in its first weekend. Why have recent films done so well?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The film Jurassic World broke the record for the biggest opening weekend taking $511m. Most of the top ten films with the biggest opening weekends were released in the last five years. So in an age where the competition is fierce for cinemas why are these films doing so well?

Bees and the British Royal Family
For reasons best known to the editors, one British newspaper decided to ask the question: ‘Who brings more to the British economy – the British Royal Family or bees. The answer? Bees of course. More or Less takes a look and finds the methodology is as bee-musing as the initial comparison.

(Photo: Scene from Jurassic World. Credit: ILM/Universal Pictures/Amblin Entert, Associated Press)

Biggest Movies20150626

Jurassic World took $511m in its first weekend. Why have recent films done so well?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

The film Jurassic World broke the record for the biggest opening weekend taking $511m. Most of the top ten films with the biggest opening weekends were released in the last five years. So in an age where the competition is fierce for cinemas why are these films doing so well?

Bees and the British Royal Family
For reasons best known to the editors, one British newspaper decided to ask the question: ‘Who brings more to the British economy – the British Royal Family or bees. The answer? Bees of course. More or Less takes a look and finds the methodology is as bee-musing as the initial comparison.

(Photo: Scene from Jurassic World. Credit: ILM/Universal Pictures/Amblin Entert, Associated Press)

Black prisoners in the US2015022820150301 (WS)

Legend: \u2018More black men under correctional control now than enslaved in 1850\u2019. True?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Was Oscar-winner John Legend right to say that there are more black men ‘under correctional control’ in the United States now than were in slavery in 1850? Ruth Alexander and Wesley Stephenson look into the statistics, and consider how US prisoner numbers compare with those of other countries.

Plus, how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, would it take to destroy the bottom brick? Ruth and the UK’s Open University engineering department find out.

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: Common and John Legend accept the Best Original Song Award for 'Glory' from 'Selma' at the 2015 Oscars. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Black prisoners in the US20150228

Legend: \u2018More black men under correctional control now than enslaved in 1850\u2019. True?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Was Oscar-winner John Legend right to say that there are more black men ‘under correctional control’ in the United States now than were in slavery in 1850? Ruth Alexander and Wesley Stephenson look into the statistics, and consider how US prisoner numbers compare with those of other countries.

Plus, how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, would it take to destroy the bottom brick? Ruth and the UK’s Open University engineering department find out.

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: Common and John Legend accept the Best Original Song Award for 'Glory' from 'Selma' at the 2015 Oscars. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Brain food and bacteria20121117

Ruth Alexander explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

There's not an obvious link between chocolate and Nobel prizes, but this did not stop news outlets around the world reporting the amount of chocolate a country consumes influences the number of Nobel prizes they will win.

In many cases the scientific study was reported without question or comment. Ruth Alexander asks what this story tells us about the way the media reports scientific studies, and why the correlation between the two might be so strong.

Also – it's often said that chopping boards or dishcloths have many more bacteria than toilet seat but is this really true?

(Image: Rows of chocolates, Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Brazil\u2019s Maths Superstar2014050920140511 (WS)

Alex Bellos tells the surprising story of Brazil's favourite maths book.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Alex Bellos tells the story of The Man Who Counted, a book of 'Arabic' mathematical tales written by middle-eastern scholar Malba Tahan. Published in Brazil in the 1930s, it became a huge success. Malba Tahan's birthday, May 6, is now celebrated as Brazil's National Day of Mathematics. But the author was not who everybody thought he was.

(Photo credit: Official family collection/malbatah.com.br)

Brazil\u2019s Maths Superstar2014050920140512 (WS)

Alex Bellos tells the surprising story of Brazil's favourite maths book.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Alex Bellos tells the story of The Man Who Counted, a book of 'Arabic' mathematical tales written by middle-eastern scholar Malba Tahan. Published in Brazil in the 1930s, it became a huge success. Malba Tahan's birthday, May 6, is now celebrated as Brazil's National Day of Mathematics. But the author was not who everybody thought he was.

(Photo credit: Official family collection/malbatah.com.br)

Brazil\u2019s Maths Superstar20140509

Alex Bellos tells the surprising story of Brazil's favourite maths book.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Alex Bellos tells the story of The Man Who Counted, a book of 'Arabic' mathematical tales written by middle-eastern scholar Malba Tahan. Published in Brazil in the 1930s, it became a huge success. Malba Tahan's birthday, May 6, is now celebrated as Brazil's National Day of Mathematics. But the author was not who everybody thought he was.

(Photo credit: Official family collection/malbatah.com.br)

Brazil’s Maths Superstar2014050920140511 (WS)
20140512 (WS)

Alex Bellos tells the surprising story of Brazil's favourite maths book.

Alex Bellos tells the story of The Man Who Counted, a book of 'Arabic' mathematical tales written by middle-eastern scholar Malba Tahan. Published in Brazil in the 1930s, it became a huge success. Malba Tahan's birthday, May 6, is now celebrated as Brazil's National Day of Mathematics. But the author was not who everybody thought he was.

(Photo credit: Official family collection/malbatah.com.br)

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Brexit Economics2016062420160627 (WS)

What will happen to trade and business in the UK after leaving the EU?

Following a referendum, the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Tim Harford and the team explore what that might mean for the UK’s economy. Most notably - what might be the impact on trade? We examine the economic forecasts from the government, and how the UK might manage its relationships with other countries.

(Photo: A pay-per-view binocular with the British and European Union flags. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Brexit Economics2016062420160627 (WS)

What will happen to trade and business in the UK after leaving the EU?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Following a referendum, the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Tim Harford and the team explore what that might mean for the UK’s economy. Most notably - what might be the impact on trade? We examine the economic forecasts from the government, and how the UK might manage its relationships with other countries.

(Photo: A pay-per-view binocular with the British and European Union flags. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Calculating the Distance to the Sun2014092820140929 (WS)

Two young listeners ask how we calculate the distance to the sun

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Two young listeners emailed the programme to ask how we calculate the distance to the sun. We decided to invite them and their parents to More or Less towers where Andrew Pontzen, an astrophysicist at University College London was on hand to explain the answer.

A BBC nature documentary stated that there are 14,000 ants to every person on earth, and that were we to weigh all of these ants they would weigh the same as all the people. Can this be true? Tim Harford and Hannah Moore investigate with the help of Francis Ratnieks, professor of apiculture at the University of Sussex.

(Photo: The Sun and the Earth. Credit: Shutterstock)

Calculating the Distance to the Sun20140928

Two young listeners ask how we calculate the distance to the sun

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Two young listeners emailed the programme to ask how we calculate the distance to the sun. We decided to invite them and their parents to More or Less towers where Andrew Pontzen, an astrophysicist at University College London was on hand to explain the answer.

A BBC nature documentary stated that there are 14,000 ants to every person on earth, and that were we to weigh all of these ants they would weigh the same as all the people. Can this be true? Tim Harford and Hannah Moore investigate with the help of Francis Ratnieks, professor of apiculture at the University of Sussex.

(Photo: The Sun and the Earth. Credit: Shutterstock)

Calling the shots at Wimbledon2017071620170717 (WS)

Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis is the theme this week. In this digital age we are used to information at our fingertips. This week More or Less finds out how every rally, every shot at this tennis championship is counted and makes its way to our phones, desktops and TV screens. And once you have this information – what can you do with it? Is it useful for players and coaches? Traditionally, players will take a risk on their first chance to serve, and hit the ball as fast as they can, knowing that they have a second chance. On their second attempt, players tend to serve more slowly and carefully to make sure it goes in. But could the statistics show they might as well take a risk again?

(Photo: Venus Williams plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles first round match against Elise Mertens at Wimbledon. Credit: Getty Images)

Calling the shots at Wimbledon2017071620170718 (WS)

Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis is the theme this week. In this digital age we are used to information at our fingertips. This week More or Less finds out how every rally, every shot at this tennis championship is counted and makes its way to our phones, desktops and TV screens. And once you have this information – what can you do with it? Is it useful for players and coaches? Traditionally, players will take a risk on their first chance to serve, and hit the ball as fast as they can, knowing that they have a second chance. On their second attempt, players tend to serve more slowly and carefully to make sure it goes in. But could the statistics show they might as well take a risk again?

(Photo: Venus Williams plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles first round match against Elise Mertens at Wimbledon. Credit: Getty Images)

Calling The Shots At Wimbledon20170717

Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis.

Using statistics to prove or disprove the wisdom of tennis is the theme this week. In this digital age we are used to information at our fingertips. This week More or Less finds out how every rally, every shot at this tennis championship is counted and makes its way to our phones, desktops and TV screens. And once you have this information – what can you do with it? Is it useful for players and coaches? Traditionally, players will take a risk on their first chance to serve, and hit the ball as fast as they can, knowing that they have a second chance. On their second attempt, players tend to serve more slowly and carefully to make sure it goes in. But could the statistics show they might as well take a risk again?

(Photo: Venus Williams plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles first round match against Elise Mertens at Wimbledon. Credit: Getty Images)

Can big data save lives?2013032320130324 (WS)

Ruth Alexander speaks to Kenneth Cukier about how data can be used.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

In More or Less Ruth Alexander explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life. This week we ask - our everyday lives generate around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data according to IBM. So could we be using this daily avalanche of statistics to make our lives better? Ruth Alexander talks to Kenneth Cukier, the data editor of the Economist magazine, and co-author of Big Data – A revolution that will transform how we work live and think - about how it can be used, if it could save lives, and the darker side of big data.

(Image: A technician assembles computers Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Can big data save lives?20130323

Ruth Alexander speaks to Kenneth Cukier about how data can be used.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

In More or Less Ruth Alexander explains - and sometimes debunks - the numbers and statistics used in political debate, the news and everyday life. This week we ask - our everyday lives generate around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data according to IBM. So could we be using this daily avalanche of statistics to make our lives better? Ruth Alexander talks to Kenneth Cukier, the data editor of the Economist magazine, and co-author of Big Data – A revolution that will transform how we work live and think - about how it can be used, if it could save lives, and the darker side of big data.

(Image: A technician assembles computers Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Can We Trust Food Surveys?2016031120160314 (WS)

The pitfalls of nutrition science - how do really know what people are eating?

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)

Can We Trust Food Surveys?2016031120160314 (WS)

The pitfalls of nutrition science - how do really know what people are eating?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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)

Can We Trust Food Surveys?20160311

The pitfalls of nutrition science - how do really know what people are eating?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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)

Cancer Risk and Romanian crime2013051820130519 (WS)

Assesing the probabilities of cancer and is the UK suffering a Romanian crime wave?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

As Angelina Jolie announces that an 87% cancer risk has prompted her to have a double mastectomy, Tim Harford assesses the probabilities associated with the disease and speaks to Dr Kat Arney from the charity Cancer Research.

Has the UK been hit by a Romanian crime wave? In a recent edition of a BBC radio debate programme Any Questions, political personality Christine Hamilton, claims it has. More or Less checks the numbers and speaks to the Romanian ambassador, Dr Ion Jinga.

(Image: Angelina Jolie. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Cancer Risk and Romanian crime2013051820130520 (WS)

Assesing the probabilities of cancer and is the UK suffering a Romanian crime wave?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

As Angelina Jolie announces that an 87% cancer risk has prompted her to have a double mastectomy, Tim Harford assesses the probabilities associated with the disease and speaks to Dr Kat Arney from the charity Cancer Research.

Has the UK been hit by a Romanian crime wave? In a recent edition of a BBC radio debate programme Any Questions, political personality Christine Hamilton, claims it has. More or Less checks the numbers and speaks to the Romanian ambassador, Dr Ion Jinga.

(Image: Angelina Jolie. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Cancer Risk and Romanian crime20130518

Assesing the probabilities of cancer and is the UK suffering a Romanian crime wave?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

As Angelina Jolie announces that an 87% cancer risk has prompted her to have a double mastectomy, Tim Harford assesses the probabilities associated with the disease and speaks to Dr Kat Arney from the charity Cancer Research.

Has the UK been hit by a Romanian crime wave? In a recent edition of a BBC radio debate programme Any Questions, political personality Christine Hamilton, claims it has. More or Less checks the numbers and speaks to the Romanian ambassador, Dr Ion Jinga.

(Image: Angelina Jolie. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Caps off to Rooney2014112220141123 (WS)

Wayne Rooney wins his 100th cap but is it easier to earn them than in previous eras?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

England captain Wayne Rooney made his 100th appearance last weekend but former England star Chris Waddle claims that it is easier to win caps now than it was in previous generations. Wesley Stephenson asks whether Waddle is right and how many caps would football legends like Bobby Moore, Maradona and Pele have won if they had played in today’s era.

Plus the programme hears from professor Carlos Vilalta from the University of California, San Diego and Steven Dudley from Insight Crime about claims that '98% of homicides in Mexico are unsolved'. An amazing statistic but is it true?

(Photo: England's striker Wayne Rooney celebrates. Credit: Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

Caps off to Rooney2014112220141125 (WS)

Wayne Rooney wins his 100th cap but is it easier to earn them than in previous eras?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

England captain Wayne Rooney made his 100th appearance last weekend but former England star Chris Waddle claims that it is easier to win caps now than it was in previous generations. Wesley Stephenson asks whether Waddle is right and how many caps would football legends like Bobby Moore, Maradona and Pele have won if they had played in today’s era.

Plus the programme hears from professor Carlos Vilalta from the University of California, San Diego and Steven Dudley from Insight Crime about claims that '98% of homicides in Mexico are unsolved'. An amazing statistic but is it true?

(Photo: England's striker Wayne Rooney celebrates. Credit: Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

Caps off to Rooney20141122

Wayne Rooney wins his 100th cap but is it easier to earn them than in previous eras?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

England captain Wayne Rooney made his 100th appearance last weekend but former England star Chris Waddle claims that it is easier to win caps now than it was in previous generations. Wesley Stephenson asks whether Waddle is right and how many caps would football legends like Bobby Moore, Maradona and Pele have won if they had played in today’s era.

Plus the programme hears from professor Carlos Vilalta from the University of California, San Diego and Steven Dudley from Insight Crime about claims that '98% of homicides in Mexico are unsolved'. An amazing statistic but is it true?

(Photo: England's striker Wayne Rooney celebrates. Credit: Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

Chance encounters20120616

Is the chance of bumping into your boss on holiday greater than you think?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Chance encounters20120617

Is the chance of bumping into your boss on holiday greater than you think?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Chavez's cancer claims and counting doctors from Malawi20120113

Does the number of Latin American leaders with cancer defy probability?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

LATIN AMERICAN CANCER PLOT?
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez thinks the US may have developed a secret technology to give him and other Latin American leaders cancer.

He said the fact that several presidents have had cancer is "difficult to explain using the law of probabilities".

Is he right? Tim Harford speaks to Dr Eduardo Cazap, president of the Union of International Cancer Control.

MALAWIAN DOCTORS
It is often said that there are more Malawian doctors in the British city of Manchester than there are in Malawi.

Can this be true? And if professionals emigrate, is it always bad news for the country they leave?

The programme hears from John Lwanda, a Malawian doctor based in the UK; and Robert Guest, author of Borderless Economics.

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Picture shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaking before the Parliament in Caracas on 13 January 2012. Credit: AFP)

Chavez's cancer claims and counting doctors from Malawi20120114

Does the number of Latin American leaders with cancer defy probability?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

LATIN AMERICAN CANCER PLOT?
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez thinks the US may have developed a secret technology to give him and other Latin American leaders cancer.

He said the fact that several presidents have had cancer is "difficult to explain using the law of probabilities".

Is he right? Tim Harford speaks to Dr Eduardo Cazap, president of the Union of International Cancer Control.

MALAWIAN DOCTORS
It is often said that there are more Malawian doctors in the British city of Manchester than there are in Malawi.

Can this be true? And if professionals emigrate, is it always bad news for the country they leave?

The programme hears from John Lwanda, a Malawian doctor based in the UK; and Robert Guest, author of Borderless Economics.

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Picture shows Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speaking before the Parliament in Caracas on 13 January 2012. Credit: AFP)

Child Marriage and Dangerous Algorithms2016102820161031 (WS)

Is a girl under 15 married every seven seconds? And beware dangerous algorithms

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is a girl under the age of 15 married every seven seconds somewhere in the world? That is what the charity Save the Children claim in their attempts to raise awareness of child marriage. But how is this figure calculated? We take a look at the difficulties with counting child brides.

Data scientist and activist Cathy O’Neil wants to protect you from dangerous, and often hidden, algorithms. They help make important decisions, like whether you are eligible for a loan, but they could be based on unfair statistics with hidden biases. She talks about her new book Weapons of Math Destruction.

(Photo: Algorithm code. Credit: Shutterstock)

Child Marriage and Dangerous Algorithms20161028

Is a girl under 15 married every seven seconds? And beware dangerous algorithms

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Is a girl under the age of 15 married every seven seconds somewhere in the world? That is what the charity Save the Children claim in their attempts to raise awareness of child marriage. But how is this figure calculated? We take a look at the difficulties with counting child brides.

Data scientist and activist Cathy O’Neil wants to protect you from dangerous, and often hidden, algorithms. They help make important decisions, like whether you are eligible for a loan, but they could be based on unfair statistics with hidden biases. She talks about her new book Weapons of Math Destruction.

(Photo: Algorithm code. Credit: Shutterstock)

Child Marriage And Dangerous Algorithms2016102820161031 (WS)

Is a girl under the age of 15 married every seven seconds somewhere in the world? That is what the charity Save the Children claim in their attempts to raise awareness of child marriage. But how is this figure calculated? We take a look at the difficulties with counting child brides.

Data scientist and activist Cathy O’Neil wants to protect you from dangerous, and often hidden, algorithms. They help make important decisions, like whether you are eligible for a loan, but they could be based on unfair statistics with hidden biases. She talks about her new book Weapons of Math Destruction.

(Photo: Algorithm code. Credit: Shutterstock)

Is a girl under 15 married every seven seconds? And beware dangerous algorithms

China Stock Market Crash2015082820150830 (WS)

The Chinese stock market may have crashed but was it really \u2018Black Monday\u2019?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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?

Sprinters legs
It may seem strange, but world class runners don’t move their legs faster than average park runner. That’s the claim anyway – is it true and if so what is it that makes athletes like Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin run so fast?

(Image: An investory looks at a stock information board. Credit: Reuters.)

China Stock Market Crash2015082820150831 (WS)

The Chinese stock market may have crashed but was it really \u2018Black Monday\u2019?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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?

Sprinters legs
It may seem strange, but world class runners don’t move their legs faster than average park runner. That’s the claim anyway – is it true and if so what is it that makes athletes like Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin run so fast?

(Image: An investory looks at a stock information board. Credit: Reuters.)

China Stock Market Crash20150828

The Chinese stock market may have crashed but was it really \u2018Black Monday\u2019?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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?

Sprinters legs
It may seem strange, but world class runners don’t move their legs faster than average park runner. That’s the claim anyway – is it true and if so what is it that makes athletes like Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin run so fast?

(Image: An investory looks at a stock information board. Credit: Reuters.)

China Stock Market Crash2015082820150829 (WS)
20150830 (WS)
20150831 (WS)

The Chinese stock market may have crashed but was it really ‘Black Monday’?

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?

Sprinters legs

It may seem strange, but world class runners don’t move their legs faster than average park runner. That’s the claim anyway – is it true and if so what is it that makes athletes like Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin run so fast?

(Image: An investory looks at a stock information board. Credit: Reuters.)

China\u2019s One Child Policy2015110620151109 (WS)

As China ends its one child policy what has been its impact? Ruth Alexander investigates.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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. And now that parents in China will be allowed to have two children, which country will have the largest population in 2030? China or India? Ruth Alexander presents.
(Image: A woman carrying a baby in Yanji, in China's northeast Jilin province. Credit: Getty)

China\u2019s One Child Policy20151106

As China ends its one child policy what has been its impact? Ruth Alexander investigates.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

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. And now that parents in China will be allowed to have two children, which country will have the largest population in 2030? China or India? Ruth Alexander presents.
(Image: A woman carrying a baby in Yanji, in China's northeast Jilin province. Credit: Getty)

China’s One Child Policy2015110620151109 (WS)

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. And now that parents in China will be allowed to have two children, which country will have the largest population in 2030? China or India? Ruth Alexander presents.

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

As China ends its one child policy what has been its impact? Ruth Alexander investigates.

Christian Martyrs2017011320170116 (WS)

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016, as a new report claims? The figure comes from The Center for the Study of Global Christianity and was published earlier this month. But another report published this week says that 1,207 were killed – that’s from Open Doors, an organisation which helps persecuted Christians. So how did two groups, apparently looking at the same thing, come up with such different numbers? And who, if anyone, is right?

Presenters: Charlotte MacDonald and Wesley Stephenson
Producer: Joe Kent

(Image: Rrmaj cemetery in Shkoder, Albania.
Photo Credit: Gent Shkullaku /Getty Images)

Christian Martyrs20170113

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016, as a new report claims? The figure comes from The Center for the Study of Global Christianity and was published earlier this month. But another report published this week says that 1,207 were killed – that’s from Open Doors, an organisation which helps persecuted Christians. So how did two groups, apparently looking at the same thing, come up with such different numbers? And who, if anyone, is right?

Presenters: Charlotte MacDonald and Wesley Stephenson
Producer: Joe Kent

(Image: Rrmaj cemetery in Shkoder, Albania.
Photo Credit: Gent Shkullaku /Getty Images)

Christian Martyrs2017011320170116 (WS)

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016?

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016, as a new report claims? The figure comes from The Center for the Study of Global Christianity and was published earlier this month. But another report published this week says that 1,207 were killed – that’s from Open Doors, an organisation which helps persecuted Christians. So how did two groups, apparently looking at the same thing, come up with such different numbers? And who, if anyone, is right?

Presenters: Charlotte MacDonald and Wesley Stephenson

Producer: Joe Kent

(Image: Rrmaj cemetery in Shkoder, Albania.

Photo Credit: Gent Shkullaku /Getty Images)

Climate Change2015120420151207 (WS)

Did climate change contribute to the war in Syria?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

Climate Change2015120420151207 (WS)

Ruth Alexander investigates claims climate change has contributed to the war in Syria, and with the climate change summit COP21 underway in Paris, we answer listener’s climate change number questions.

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

Did climate change contribute to the war in Syria?

Climate change and using statistics to predict football results.20120120

A bet about climate change is settled. Plus, predicting the Africa Cup of Nations winner.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

CLIMATE CHANGE
A four-year bet between two scientists about global warming is settled.

In 2008, after there had been no new record for the global average temperature since 1998, David Whitehouse and James Annan disagreed over whether there would be a new record set by 2011.

As the UK Meteorological Office publishes the figures for the past year, presenter Tim Harford bring the two scientists together.

Who has won, and does the victory tell us anything about global warming?

Plus, Peter Stott from the Met Office tells us how the world’s temperature is measured.

AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Sports statistician Robert Mastrodomenico attempts to predict the results of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.

Will his numerical analysis impress the BBC's African football expert Farayi Mungazi in Gabon?

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: Dried up river bed near Lodwar, Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

Climate change and using statistics to predict football results.20120121

A bet about climate change is settled. Plus, predicting the Africa Cup of Nations winner.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

CLIMATE CHANGE
A four-year bet between two scientists about global warming is settled.

In 2008, after there had been no new record for the global average temperature since 1998, David Whitehouse and James Annan disagreed over whether there would be a new record set by 2011.

As the UK Meteorological Office publishes the figures for the past year, presenter Tim Harford bring the two scientists together.

Who has won, and does the victory tell us anything about global warming?

Plus, Peter Stott from the Met Office tells us how the world’s temperature is measured.

AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
Sports statistician Robert Mastrodomenico attempts to predict the results of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament.

Will his numerical analysis impress the BBC's African football expert Farayi Mungazi in Gabon?

Producer: Ruth Alexander

(Image: Dried up river bed near Lodwar, Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

Communicating Risk2013040620130407 (WS)

It's the 4th anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L\u2019Aquila in Italy.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

It's the fourth anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L'Aquila in Italy and which led to the conviction of six scientists and an official who failed to predict the disaster. Scientists and statisticians worldwide were alarmed at the six-year sentences for manslaughter the seven accused received. It was feared the prospect of being put on trial would put off scientists from even trying to communicate risk – a very difficult business. But, as reporter Dany Mitzman in Italy discovers, the risk assessors’ pendulum seems to have swung the other way. Data and alarms about tremors are being issued regularly, triggering school closures and building evacuations. But how useful is this information? Ian Main, professor of seismology and rock physics at Edinburgh University in the UK, puts the risks into context.

Presenter and producer: Ruth Alexander

Communicating Risk2013040620130408 (WS)

It's the 4th anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L\u2019Aquila in Italy.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

It's the fourth anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L'Aquila in Italy and which led to the conviction of six scientists and an official who failed to predict the disaster. Scientists and statisticians worldwide were alarmed at the six-year sentences for manslaughter the seven accused received. It was feared the prospect of being put on trial would put off scientists from even trying to communicate risk – a very difficult business. But, as reporter Dany Mitzman in Italy discovers, the risk assessors’ pendulum seems to have swung the other way. Data and alarms about tremors are being issued regularly, triggering school closures and building evacuations. But how useful is this information? Ian Main, professor of seismology and rock physics at Edinburgh University in the UK, puts the risks into context.

Presenter and producer: Ruth Alexander

Communicating Risk20130406

It's the 4th anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L\u2019Aquila in Italy.

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

It's the fourth anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L'Aquila in Italy and which led to the conviction of six scientists and an official who failed to predict the disaster. Scientists and statisticians worldwide were alarmed at the six-year sentences for manslaughter the seven accused received. It was feared the prospect of being put on trial would put off scientists from even trying to communicate risk – a very difficult business. But, as reporter Dany Mitzman in Italy discovers, the risk assessors’ pendulum seems to have swung the other way. Data and alarms about tremors are being issued regularly, triggering school closures and building evacuations. But how useful is this information? Ian Main, professor of seismology and rock physics at Edinburgh University in the UK, puts the risks into context.

Presenter and producer: Ruth Alexander

Could an Apple-a-day Reduce Illness?2014011820140119 (WS)

A study has shown an apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away but is it accurate?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

An apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away, according to a study in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. It generated headlines around the world. But were the media right to take the story so seriously? Tim interviews one of the study’s authors and critic Paul Marantz.

And, mathemagical mind-reading with Jolyon Jenkins as he reveals the maths behind a classic long-distance mind-reading card trick.

(Photo: Apples)

Could an Apple-a-day Reduce Illness?2014011820140120 (WS)

A study has shown an apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away but is it accurate?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

An apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away, according to a study in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. It generated headlines around the world. But were the media right to take the story so seriously? Tim interviews one of the study’s authors and critic Paul Marantz.

And, mathemagical mind-reading with Jolyon Jenkins as he reveals the maths behind a classic long-distance mind-reading card trick.

(Photo: Apples)

Could an Apple-a-day Reduce Illness?20140118

A study has shown an apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away but is it accurate?

Tim Harford explains the numbers and statistics in the news and in life.

An apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away, according to a study in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. It generated headlines around the world. But were the media right to take the story so seriously? Tim interviews one of the study’s authors and critic Paul Marantz.

And, mathemagical mind-reading with Jolyon Jenkins as he reveals the maths behind a classic long-distance mind-reading card trick.

(Photo: Apples)

Could An Apple-a-day Reduce Illness?2014011820140119 (WS)
20140120 (WS)

An apple-a-day will actually keep the doctors away, according to a study in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. It generated headlines around the world. But were the media right to take the story so ser