Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4
Covid deaths, outdoor swimming and care homes
The official number of deaths attributed to Covid 19 around the world in the whole of 2020 is 1.88 million. The global toll this year surpassed this figure on 11th of June. We look at how things are worse worldwide, despite vaccines and lock downs.
Does the UK have the worst bathing sites in Europe? That’s certainly a claim made by a number of newspapers. We show why this is not the case.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been in the news again with comments regarding care homes during the pandemic. Just how good was the government’s ‘ring of protection’ around care homes during the first wave - and the second? We speak to Steven Johnson about his book ‘Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer.’
The doubling of life-expectancy
Steven Johnson, author of Extra Life, tells the fascinating history of life expectancy, and the extraordinary achievements of the last century, in which it has practically doubled.
It’s a story that has data at its heart, from the ground-breaking invention of the category itself in 17th century London to the pioneering social health surveys of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1890s Philadelphia.
Tim Harford spoke to Steven about the numbers beneath possibly the most important number of all.
Third wave fears, smart motorways and bra sizes
Covid cases are rising again in the UK – should we be worried about a third wave? Tim Harford speaks to David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of Risk at the University of Cambridge.
How safe are smart motorways? Many listeners have concerns that they seem more dangerous than conventional motorways. We take a look at the numbers.
What proportion of adults in England have been vaccinated? Listeners have spotted a potential discrepancy in the public data online.
Are 80% of women wearing the wrong size bra? This frequently repeated statistic has been around for decades – could it possibly be true?
Bolton vaccines, Yorkshire versus Scotland and the average gamer
Health Minister Matt Hancock recently told the House of Commons that: “The number of vaccinations happening in Bolton right now is phenomenal - tens of thousands every single day.” We explain why this is not the case.
The recent SNP election success has turned attention to the question of independence. We compare Scotland’s finances to the comparably sized Yorkshire and Humber region.
How do you work out 28 + 47 in your head? We speak to mathematician Katie Steckles.
A listener asked us to find out if it is true that the average age of a gamer is over 40.
Plus, we take a look at this claim from Netflix documentary Seaspiracy: “if current fishing trends continue we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048.”
The Seaspiracy “virtually empty ocean” claim
Popular Netflix documentary Seaspiracy has sparked a lot of debate recently, including some controversy over some of the claims the documentary makes and the numbers behind them. One of the most striking is that: “if current fishing trends continue we will see virtually empty oceans by the year 2048.” Although overfishing is a global problem, we take a look and find that this scenario is unlikely.
Wales jab success, Eurovision and living with your parents
Wales has given one vaccination dose against Covid 19 to a larger proportion of their population than any other country except a couple of super tiny ones. They’ve given one vaccine dose to over 80% of their adult population. We explore some reasons why they seem to be doing so well.
The UK continues to do poorly at Eurovision – we take a look back over the years to examine why the UK used to do well, and why it doesn’t any more.
Waiting lists for NHS treatment across the UK have grown – but why are things so bad in Northern Ireland?
Is it true that 42% of young people are living at home with their parents? We find out what a young person is and why they haven’t flown the nest.
I love the way this program explains the mathematical reasoning behind aspects of our lives. I find it particularly helpful in the explanations of events in the coronavirus pandemic. Keep up the good work Tim.
Presented in a fun AND serious way. Some of the ideas are complex BUT explained clearly. Live it. Every episode delivers.
Really interesting and exceptionally clear
Statistics are dry. This isn't. It doesn't just explain numbers in the news but it puts them in context and manages to be fascinating at the same time. Highly recommended.