More or Less: Behind the Stats

BBC Radio 4

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

  • 8 minutes 59 seconds
    Federer’s 54%: Tennis stats explained

    How can tennis star Roger Federer have won only 54% of the points he played, but been the best player in the world? Jeff Sackmann, the tennis stats brain behind tennisabstract.com, explains to Tim Harford how probability works in the sport.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

    13 July 2024, 5:00 am
  • 9 minutes 35 seconds
    The magic of trigonometry

    You might have found it boring in school maths classes, but Matt Parker thinks we should all learn to love trigonometry.

    The ‘Love Triangle’ author talks to Tim Harford about the maths used in GPS, architecture and special effects.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Series Producer: Tom Colls Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Sound Mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

    6 July 2024, 5:00 am
  • 37 minutes 24 seconds
    Election endings, tennis and meeting men in finance

    Are Labour right about employment? Are the Conservatives right about cutting NHS managers? Are the Lib Dems right about share buyback? Are Reform UK right about their tax plans?

    How do they make the exit poll so accurate?

    What are the odds of meeting a very tall man in finance (with a trust fund)?

    What does it mean that Roger Federer only won 54% of the points he played?

    Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead Latham and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

    3 July 2024, 8:30 am
  • 9 minutes 3 seconds
    How a tick box doubled the US maternal mortality rates.

    he US has been portrayed as in the grip of a maternal mortality crisis. In contrast to most other developed nations, the rate of maternal deaths in the US has been going up since the early 2000s.

    But why? With the help of Saloni Dattani, a researcher at Our World in Data, Tim Harford explores how a gradual change in the way the data was gathered lies at the heart of the problem.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Debbie Richford Production Co-ordinator: Brenda Brown Series Producer: Tom Colls Sound Mix: Emma Harth Editor: Richard Vadon

    29 June 2024, 5:00 am
  • 28 minutes 29 seconds
    Election claims and erection claims

    Are Labour right about the Liz Truss effect on mortgages? Are the Conservatives right about pensioners? Are Plaid Cymru right about spending? Are the Lib Dems right about care funding? Is Count Binface right about croissants?

    Why are MRP polls coming up with such different numbers?

    Do erections require a litre of blood?

    Tim Harford investigates the numbers in the news.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Simon Tulett, Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead Latham and Debbie Richford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Rod Farquhar Editor: Richard Vadon

    26 June 2024, 9:33 am
  • 9 minutes 31 seconds
    Do ‘pig butchering’ cyber scams make as much as half Cambodia’s GDP?

    So-called “pig butchering” scams take billions of dollars from people around the globe. But do the cyber scams run from compounds in Cambodia really take an amount of money equivalent to half that country’s GDP? We investigate how the scale of these criminal operations has been calculated.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Andrew Garratt Editor: Richard Vadon

    22 June 2024, 5:00 am
  • 31 minutes 52 seconds
    Worse mortgages, better readers, and potholes on the moon

    Will Conservative policies raise mortgages by £4800, as Labour claim? Are primary school kids in England the best readers in the (western) world, as the Conservatives claim? Are there more potholes in the UK than craters on the moon?

    Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Simon Tullet Beth Ashmead-Latham and Debbie Richford Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

    19 June 2024, 8:30 am
  • 9 minutes 53 seconds
    Shakespeare’s maths

    AWilliam Shakespeare might well rank as the most influential writer in the English language. But it seems he also had a knack for numbers.

    Rob Eastaway, author of Much Ado about Numbers, tells Tim Harford about the simple maths that brings Shakespeare’s work to life.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Readings: Stella Harford and Jordan Dunbar Producer: Beth Ashmead-Latham Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: James Beard Editor: Richard Vadon

    15 June 2024, 5:00 am
  • 28 minutes 31 seconds
    Leaflets, taxes, oil workers and classrooms

    What’s going on with the dodgy bar charts that political parties put on constituency campaign leaflets?

    What’s the truth about tax promises?

    Are 100,000 oil workers going to lose their jobs in Scotland?

    Will class sizes increase in state schools if private schools increase their fees?

    Tim Harford investigates some of the numbers in the news.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Reporter: Kate Lamble Producers: Nathan Gower, Beth Ashmead-Latham, Debbie Richford Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Neil Churchill Editor: Richard Vadon

    12 June 2024, 8:30 am
  • 9 minutes 13 seconds
    Why medical error is not the third leading cause of death in the US

    The claim that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US has been zooming around the internet for years.

    This would mean that only heart disease and cancer killed more people than the very people trying to treat these diseases.

    But there are good reasons to be suspicious about the claim.

    Professor Mary Dixon-Woods, director of The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute, or THIS Institute, at Cambridge University, explains what’s going on.

    Presenter: Tim Harford Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Sound mix: Nigel Appleton Editor: Richard Vadon

    8 June 2024, 5:00 am
  • 30 minutes 5 seconds
    Debate, Reform, tax evasion and ants

    Were there any suspicious claims in the election debate between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer?

    Do the claims in Reform UK’s policy documents on excess deaths and climate change make sense?

    Can the Conservatives and Labour raise £6bn a year by cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion?

    And do all the humans on earth weigh more than all of the ants?

    Presenter: Tim Harford Reporters: Kate Lamble and Nathan Gower Producer: Beth Ashmead-Latham Series producer: Tom Colls Production coordinator: Brenda Brown Editor: Richard Vadon

    5 June 2024, 8:30 am
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