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BBC Radio 4 - More or Less

More or Less: Behind the Stats

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

More or Less: Behind the Stats

  • WS More or Less: How Louis Bachelier Scooped Economists by Half a Century
    A forgotten French mathematician is the focus of our programme. He anticipated both Einstein's theories and the application of maths to the stock market. Born in the 1870s, his work was unusual at the time. With the help of Alison Etheridge, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, we explain how his ideas were rediscovered decades after his death. (Photo: Pocket watch. Credit: Kanyapak Lim/Shutterstock)

  • Missed appointments, graduate pay, plus cocaine on bank notes
    Did missed appointments cost the NHS £1 billion last year? New figures published recently suggest that the financial cost to the NHS for missed appointments was £1 billion last year. But our listeners are curious. How has this figure been worked out? And don’t missed appointments actually ease the pressure on an overcrowded system? Graduate pay – is it always higher than non-graduates’ pay? It is often claimed that if you go to university and get a degree, you will earn more than those who do not. But is that always true? We take a look to see if there are occasions when having a degree makes little difference or whether the benefit of a degree has changed over time. How much cocaine is on a bank note? Tim Harford speaks to Richard Sleeman who works for a firm, Mass Spec Analytical, that specialises in working out how much cocaine can be found on bank notes across the country. Do some parts of the country have more cocaine on their notes than others? Is it true that 99% of bank notes in London have cocaine on them? Is it true that one in five can’t name an author of literature? Last year the Royal Society of Literature made this claim – but what was it based on? It turns out a polling company found that 20 percent questioned failed to name a single author. Should we be surprised? We took a look at the data. Diet Coke Habit The New York Times claims that Donald Trump drinks ‘a dozen’ Diet Cokes a day. With each can of 330ml containing 42mg of caffeine - what impact, if any, could this have on the President’s health?

  • WS More or Less: Just how rare is a hole-in-one?
    Why it isn’t as simple to work out as you think.

  • More or Less: Statistics of the Year 2017
    Phones, lawn mowers and how Kim Kardashian helped the public understanding of risk.

  • WS More or Less: Will Bitcoin use more electricity than the United States?
    Measuring the energy used to keep the cryptocurrency secure.