Podcast: More or less

moreorlessMannen denken om de zeven seconden aan seks. 90% van de Raynair-vluchten landt op tijd. De wereldbevolking en haar productiemiddelen, inclusief de agrarische, kunnen probleemloos ondergebracht worden in een gebied zo groot als de Amerikaanse staat Texas. U hebt deze boude beweringen waarschijnlijk al eens gehoord en misschien al wel eens met veel aplomb, zo tussen de soep en de patatten, gedebiteerd.

Moest u zich afvragen of deze ‘feiten’ kloppen, dan kan u steeds bij More or less terecht, “the podcast that really counts”. Tim Harford en zijn team geven duiding bij de cijfers en de statistieken die u in het nieuws hoort. Ze geven extra informatie, corrigeren en passen aan waar nodig. Regelmatig ruimen ze “zombie statistieken” op, cijfers die pertinent fout zijn maar toch steeds opnieuw en opnieuw de ronde doen. More or less wordt uitgezonden door de BBC World Service en is als podcast te downloaden. Een aflevering duurt zo’n 30 minuten, in het weekend is er ingekorte editie van 10 minuten.

Mijn favoriete afleveringen van de laatste maanden:

  • Is a child dying of hunger every 15 seconds? (15 juni 2013)
    Ruth Alexander examines the claim that every 15 seconds a child dies of hunger. It’s a popular statistic used by celebrities and charity campaigners in support of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign. It conjures up the image of millions of young children starving to death. But is this really the case?
  • Communicating Risk (6 april 2013)
    It’s the fourth anniversary of the earthquake which devastated the city of L’Aquila in Italy and which led to the conviction of six scientists and an official who failed to predict the disaster. Scientists and statisticians worldwide were alarmed at the six-year sentences for manslaughter the seven accused received. It was feared the prospect of being put on trial would put off scientists from even trying to communicate risk – a very difficult business. But the risk assessors’ pendulum seems to have swung the other way. Data and alarms about tremors are being issued regularly, triggering school closures and building evacuations. But how useful is this information? Ruth Alexander speaks to Ian Main, professor of seismology and rock physics at Edinburgh University in the UK, who puts the risks into context.
  • Indian Farmer Suicides (19 januari 2013)

    This week Ruth Alexander is looking at farmer suicides in India. But is it any more prevalent than in any other area of Indian society? Given the attention it has had in India and across the world the results are surprising showing the suicide rate amongst farming and agricultural workers is a third lower than the national average. It also shows that the over-emphasis on farmers may be drawing attention away from other groups that are in more urgent need of help. Also what is the history behind the Lakh and the Crore in South Asia? It confused one contributor on the farmer suicide story and caused him to get the figures wrong by a factor of 10.