107 episodes

Brings together in a single hour The Why Factor; More or Less and Trending.

The Thought Show BBC

    • News

Brings together in a single hour The Why Factor; More or Less and Trending.

    A ‘Manspreading’ Video Goes Viral in Russia

    A ‘Manspreading’ Video Goes Viral in Russia

    A protest against “manspreading” went viral in Russia – but is it Russian propaganda? Activist Anna Dovgalyuk denies that she staged a stunt where a woman was filmed throwing diluted bleach at the crotches of men whose legs were sprawled out over multiple seats on the St Petersburg Metro. But media reports suggested one of the men was an actor, and a European Union website has described the film as “staged Kremlin propaganda”. So, is it real or just a hoax? And how does it fit into a larger pattern of Russian social media bots and trolls stoking culture wars online?

    How do you measure a country’s generosity when it comes to overseas aid? We crunch the numbers and talk to Brad Parks from research lab Aiddata about aid donations from some of the world’s more secretive countries.

    From yoga and mindfulness to so-called clean eating, women are increasingly turning to “wellness” to look after their minds, bodies and emotions. Nastaran Tavakoli-Far asks what is driving some women away from the medical establishment in an effort to improve their health.





    (Photo: Screenshot from the ‘manspreading’ video that went viral in Russia. Credit: Anna Dovgalyuk)

    • 50 min
    The Men Who Hunt Stolen Motorbikes

    The Men Who Hunt Stolen Motorbikes

    In one city hit by motorbike theft, volunteers are using social media to fight back.

    • 49 min
    The People Who Remove Facebook Posts

    The People Who Remove Facebook Posts

    They decide what you can and cannot see on the world’s biggest social network. Who are Facebook’s content moderators? We speak to a woman who worked in a moderation centre in Germany, often watching violent and pornographic videos and deciding what posts should be deleted.



    New figures reveal that same-sex divorce rates are higher among women than among men. Tim Harford discusses why this may be with Marina Ashdade, economist at the Vancouver School of Economics and author of Dirty Money, a book about the economics of sex and love.



    In the age of non-stop tweets, news updates and digital distractions, Sandra Kanthal finds out why, in the age of the 280 character polemic, it could be useful to rediscover the ancient art of rhetoric.



    (Photo: Close up of an eye. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 50 min
    Catching The Killers Behind A Viral Murder Video

    Catching The Killers Behind A Viral Murder Video

    In July 2018, a disturbing video began to circulate on social media. In it two women and young children are shown being led at gunpoint by a group of soldiers. The captives are blindfolded, forced to the ground and shot 22 times.



    The government of Cameroon initially dismissed the video as ‘fake news’. But through open-source investigations – examining details such as buildings, shadows, and uniforms – BBC Africa found that the blame lay squarely on Cameroonian Forces.



    From the 10th July to the 31st of October 1940 the skies above Britain were a battle zone. The German Luftwaffe launched large scale attacks aiming to reach London, they were held back and ultimately defeated by the Royal Airforce which included many nationalities. The bravery of the pilots – known as ‘The Few’ - cannot be disputed but is it really true that the average life expectancy of a spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain was just four weeks, as is often claimed. Tim Harford and Lizzy McNeill look into the statistics and consider which of the armed forces had the highest death rate.

    Thanks to our TVs and smartphones we are bombarded 24/7.



    Those whose job it is to care – doctors, nurses, mothers even – face even more relentless demands on their compassion. Until one day some feel they cannot go on anymore.

    We are all vulnerable to compassion fatigue – whether we are unable to deal with more bad news, or to care for our patients and children. But why do we get it? Why do we stop caring? And what is the impact on society when people just switch off and tune out?









    (Photo: A still from the video showing the murder of women and children by Cameroonian soldiers)

    • 50 min
    Social Media And Losing Weight

    Social Media And Losing Weight

    Do dieting influencers and online communities help or hurt when you’re trying to get in shape? Some find social media groups a useful source of support, but there are concerns that some of the advice might not be as healthy as it seems, and that social media celebrities are setting unhelpful and unrealistic body expectations.



    President Trump disputed the official figures for the death toll after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico a year ago, tweeting that the Democrats were inflating the death toll to "make me look as bad as possible". So, who is right, and how do you determine who died as a result of a natural disaster?



    How has feminism affected the relationship between mothers and their sons. Feminist mothers share with Nastaran Tavakoli-Far the complexities of bringing up boys.



    Photo Caption: A woman stands on a bathroom scale

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    • 49 min
    Russian Extremism Memes

    Russian Extremism Memes

    Why are some Russians put on extremist watch lists for saving or posting memes online? Maria Motuznaya was investigated by police after saving edgy memes on her account on the social network VKontakte. Hundreds of Russians are being targeted for using memes declared to be racist, offensive or against the Russian Orthodox Church. People on the list have their bank account frozen and some face criminal charges. Will a blogger’s campaign make a difference?

    Are you more chimp or Neanderthal? We often hear scientists talking about how we are related but what’s the difference between 96% similarity and sharing 20% of our DNA, and do some of us literally have pieces of Neanderthal within us? Tim Harford talks to Peter Donnelly, Professor of Statistical Science at the University of Oxford.

    Why is the relationship between fathers and sons so important? Nastaran Tavakoli-Far investigates.





    (Photo: A pair of hands in handcuffs hold a mobile phone showing the VKontakte website. Credit: Anton Vaganov/Interpress/TASS)

    • 49 min

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