More or Less: Behind the Stats

More or Less: Behind the Stats

United Kingdom

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


Hidden Figures: The Real Story  

Hidden Figures, the film, has been nominated for three awards at the Oscars and has been a box office hit in the US. It tells the little-known story of a group of African American women and their contribution to the space race in the 50s and 60s. We explore the history of how these women were recruited by Nasa and put to work on complex mathematical tasks – at a time when African Americans and women were far less likely to be employed in such jobs. (Photo: Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson,in a scene from Hidden Figures. Credit: Hopper Stone/Twentieth Century Fox/AP)

WS More or Less: Hans Rosling - the extraordinary life of a statistical guru  

A huge hole was left in the world this week with the death of the Swedish statistician Han Rosling. He was a master communicator whose captivating presentations on global development were watched by millions. He had the ear of those with power and influence. His friend Bill Gates said Hans ‘brought data to life and helped the world see the human progress it often overlooked’. In a world that often looks at the bad news coming out of the developing world, Rosling was determined to spread the good news, extended life expectancy, falling rates of disease and infant mortality. He was fighting what he called the ‘post-fact era‘ of global health. He was passionate about global development and before he became famous he lived and worked in Mozambique, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo using data and his skills as a doctor to save lives. Despite ill health he also travelled to Liberia during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to help gather and consolidate data to help fight the outbreak. On a personal level he was warm, funny and kind and will be greatly missed by a huge number of people. Presenter: Tim Harford Producer: Wesley Stephenson (Image: Hans Rosling, speaks at a conference in 2012. Credit: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images for ReSource 2012)

Is democracy failing in America?  

Does North Carolina really rank alongside North Korea if you measure electoral integrity

WS More or Less: Counting Crowds  

How many went to celebrate – and how many to protest – the Trump inauguration?

WS More or Less: Why January makes us want to scream  

Blue Monday and Oxfam’s comparison wealth of billionaires and the poor –the stories that come around every year.

WS More or Less: Christian Martyrs  

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

WS More or Less: Should we really be drinking eight glasses of water a day?  

How much water should you be drinking? There’s some age-old advice that suggests you should be drinking eight ounces (230 ml) eight times a day. Some people even advise you should be drinking this on top of what you normally drink. There is lots of advice out there but how do you know when you’ve had enough or if you’re drinking too much. With help from Professor Stanley Goldfarb from the University of Pennsylvania, Wesley Stephenson finds out. (Image: Hand holding a glass of water. Credit: Charlotte Ball/PA Wire)

WS More or Less: Does Sweden Really Have a Six Hour Day?  

There have been reports that those radical Swedes have decided to reduce the working day to just six hours because, it has been claimed, productivity does not suffer. Before you all rush to the Swedish job pages this is not quite the case – but there have been trials in Sweden to test whether you can shorten people’s working hours without having an effect on output. Tim Harford talks to our Swedish correspondent Keith Moore about what the trials have found. He also speaks to professor John Pencavel, Emeritus Professor of Economics, at Stanford University, and finds that reducing working hours may not be as radical idea as it first appears. (Photo: A business man carries a black briefcase)

The Haber-Bosch Process  

Saving lives with thin air - by taking nitrogen from the air to make fertiliser

WS More or Less:  Life, death and data  

Improving data to target help to the poorest people

Christmas Quiz  

Tim Harford poses a tough statistical challenge

WS More or Less: Yellow cards for Christmas  

Are footballers trying to get suspended for Christmas?

Have more famous people died this year?  

Notable deaths, Rule Britannia and creating your own Christmas speech

WS More or Less:  How risky is the contraceptive pill?  

We look at the numbers behind the scary headlines about birth control.

How wrong were the Brexit forecasts?  

The economic doom that never was; childhood cancer figures and Ed Balls

WS More or Less:  How not to test public opinion  

The survey by the Indian PM that broke all the polling rules and started a mass protest

Are you related to Edward III - and Danny Dyer?  

What are the odds of being related to a medieval king? and how many cows for a fiver?

WS More or Less: Good news on renewables?  

Renewable capacity has surpassed that of coal–is this good news? Plus an asteroid update.

Pensioners aren't poor anymore  

High-rolling pensioners? predicting Norovirus, air pollution deaths and lost or found?

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