Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4
A TikTok tale
Nowadays if you are an academic and who needs some participants for a study you go online, but over the summer academic studies were inundated with participants who all happened to be teenage girls ... we explore how one TikTok can tip the balance of data gathering.
Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Chris Flynn
(Image: TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone screen/Getty/NurPhoto/contributor)
The carbon cost of breakfast at COP26
A French minister told people to eat fewer croissants at this year’s COP26 summit, after the menu said the carbon cost of the pastry was higher than that of a bacon roll, even if it was made without butter. Tim Harford investigates whether this claim could be true, and how the effect of food on climate change can be measured.
(Image: Continental breakfast with coffee and croissants: Getty/Cris Cantón)
Same data, opposite results. Can we trust research?
When Professor Martin Schweinsberg found that he was consistently reaching different conclusions to his peers, even with the same data, he wondered if he was incompetent. So he set up an experiment.
What he found out emphasises the importance of the analyst, but calls into question the level of trust we can put into research.
Features an excerpt from TED Talks
The art of counting
Who is counting, why are they counting, and what are they are counting?
These three questions are important to ask when trying to understand numbers, according to Deborah Stone, author of Counting, How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters.
In this episode, she explains how different ways of totting up can have real-world consequences.
(Image: Betta Blue Red Veiltail/Getty Images/zygotehasnobrain)
The numbers behind Squid Game
Netflix has announced that South Korean survival drama Squid Game is its most popular series ever.
We scrutinise the statistics behind the claim, and look at the odds of surviving one of the show’s deadly contests.
The prize-winning economics of migration and the minimum wage
Do immigrants drive down wages, do minimum wage increases reduce job opportunities, and do people who did well in school earn more money?
These are questions that the winners of the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics looked to the world around them for answers to.
David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens developed ways of interpreting what they saw that changed the way economists think about what they see.
In this episode of More or Less, presenter-turned-guest Tim Harford explains how.
(Image: Mariel boat lift, which brought over 100,000 Cubans into the United States: Photo by Tim Chapman/Miami Herald)
Put it on schools curriculum
By far my favourite podcast. I love the blend of humour and serious statistics. It should be put on schools curriculum as an antidote to social media sensationalism.
Clarity and sense
Your program brings clarity and sense to the numbers (mid)quoted by politicians and journalists. The more people who listen to your program, the more informed the public will become. Keep up the great work.
Usually great podcast but when I heard a recent episode where a Cambridge professor compared covid deaths to heart attacks….I thought, oops someone forgot pandemics are multiplicative processes !!! That’s really pathetic and I hope one day these academics learn.