Thought Show, The [world Service]

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

Episodes

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Broadcast
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20180308
20141030
20141030

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

20141113
20150820

A debate has been raging over the last month about the benefits of mass deworming projects. Hugely popular with the UN and many charities, the evidence behind the practice has come under attack. Are the criticisms justified?

BBC Trending asks if it’s time to get rid of the “comments? section. This month the Daily Dot decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and closed theirs down. Several other technology sites are assessing the need for online comment. But how do you foster engagement and dialogue without inadvertently feed the trolls?

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why do we keep diaries. He talks to the people who write diaries and the historians on a mission to “rescue? the diaries of normal people.

(Image: A nurse gives medicine to a child to prevent worms. Credit: AFP)

20170601

Our entire education system is faulty, some experts claim, as it fails to prepare children for a future world of work in which 65 % of jobs have not yet been invented. We set off on a round-the-world sleuthing trip to trace this statistic that has been causing headaches for students, teachers and politicians alike.

Travelling without male consent: we unpick the case of Dina Ali, the 24-year-old Saudi national whose story triggered a viral hashtag challenging Saudi Arabia’s 'guardianship' rules, which give male guardians control over women. Where is Dina now? And why was the hashtag she inspired so significant?
Why take on a role where lots of people hate you for doing it?

Dotun Adebayo talks to people whose daily life can include verbal and even physical abuse. They include an 18 year old referee in Manchester and electricity workers in Lagos in Nigeria who are regularly beaten up as they disconnect disgruntled customers. And the plus side of doing a thankless job from a debt collector in Jamaica and death row lawyers in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

(Photo: Classmates taking part in peer learning. Credit: Shutterstock)

20170608

Can medical statistics be transformed into music? That was the challenge set by epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani for composer Tony Haynes. The result was Song of Contagion to be performed this month by his Grand Union Orchestra with steel pans, saxophones and singers telling the story of diseases including Zika and AIDs.

What Is 4Chan? How an anonymous social network spawned some of the biggest and most recognisable online political movements. We look at the origins, the people who use it and where it’s going.

And why do we talk to ourselves? Matthew Sweet hears how it can calm us down, help us organise our thoughts, and in the case of Sarah Outen, who spent four and a half years rowing, cycling and kayaking around the planet, he hears how it saved her life on more than one occasion.

(Photo: Detail close up of French Horn musical instrument, part of the Brass family of instruments. Credit: Shutterstock)

20170615

Cheick Tiote, the much loved former Newcastle United player collapsed and died while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises earlier this month. His death and that of other black footballers have caused some commentators to ask if cardiac arrest – one of the most common causes of death on the field – is a greater risk factor for people of African heritage.

The conflict in Venezuela has now moved beyond the country’s borders – both on and offline. It involves Venezuelan exiles publicly shaming people living abroad who are connected to the government. We hear from those who are targeted and targeting.
Also, offensive messages on social media have resulted in some students having their admissions revoked from one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Why do some people deliberately inflict pain on themselves as a way of managing how they feel? Catherine Carr explores the impact self-harming has on those who do it and those close to them, and she hears from people who have recovered by finding alternative coping strategies.

(Photo: Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James Park Credit: Getty Images)

20170713

The American basketballer Stephen Curry has just signed the biggest contract in NBA history for $200 million over 5 years but amazingly, according to fellow superstar player Lebron James, he’s probably being underpaid. We look at the economics of superstar sports salaries.

Rumours in football and the fake news generated by these rumours are nothing new, but we’ll be looking at the way these stories impact clubs, players and fans.

And what’s in a kiss? Charlotte McDonald examines the biochemistry, psychology, anthropology and history of kissing. Where does it come from and is it innately human?

(Image: NBA Finals: Game Four, Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

20170720

We discover how every shot at the Wimbledon tennis championships is counted, analysed and makes its way to our phones, desktops and TV screens. How useful is this information for players and their coaches? The statistics prove and disprove some of the received wisdom of the game.

New Chinese regulations have resulted in a crackdown on online videos. Chinese censors have banned around 84 categories of material including prostitution, drug addiction, and extra marital affairs, and the classification of homosexuality as an 'abnormal' sexual activity has caused anger online.

What drives women – and men – to choose to be childless, especially as they often face suspicion, abuse even, for being selfish or materialistic. Women, in particular, who decide not to have children can experience the full force of this near-universal stigma. Mary-Ann Ochota reports.

(image: Venus Williams plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles at Wimbledon. Credit: Getty Images)

20170727

The only woman to win the maths world’s biggest prize has died at the age of 40. As the only female winner of the Fields Medal – the maths equivalent to the Nobel Prize – Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani inspired a generation of female mathematicians. We look at her life and her legacy.

The first of two special reports reveals a unique Chinese love story involving one of China's most well-known live streamers, and a fan who watches her on a screen every single day. Live streaming is big business in China, with half of the online Chinese community using livestreaming apps in 2016.

And why do some people crave the limelight? Jordan Dunbar undergoes an experiment to find out what the limelight does to our bodies, to get a chemical answer.

(Photo: Front pages of Iranian newspapers on 16 July 2017, bearing portraits of the top female mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani. Credit: Atta Kenare/Getty Images)

20170803

Last year it was reported that there could soon be up to 123 boys aged 16 to 17 for every 100 girls the same age in Sweden. This disparity was thought to be caused by an influx of teenage boys claiming asylum in the country. We look at whether age testing of asylum seekers has had an impact and skewed the sex ratio in Sweden.

China's Livestreaming: The Super Fan: BBC Trending brings you the second half of a strange love story involving one of China's most well-known live streamers, and a fan who pays to watch her live stream every single day. Last week we introduced you to Lele Tao, a well-known live streamer in China. This week we meet Shage, who is a devoted fan of Lele's and witness their first ever face-to-face interaction.

Every country in the world has at least one Sign Language. Each is a complete communication system with its own grammar, lexicon and structure and has evolved over centuries, just like their verbal counterparts. Although many have legal status under disability legislation, only four have been given the status of a recognised official language. But not everyone who is deaf uses sign language, and not everyone who uses sign language is deaf. Some deaf rights campaigners say that Sign language is a signifier of belonging to a Deaf community, with a rich cultural legacy. But does the choice to use hearing aids and cochlear implants to help use verbal language really mean a rejection of deaf culture and a deaf identity?

(image: teenagers enjoying themselves outdoors. Credit: Shutterstock)

20170810

Raising children is demanding. It takes time, money and devotion. So, why would anyone want to raise another person's child? Can mothers who adopt or foster have the same connection to their children as a birth mother would? We explore what it means to be a parent.

Mathematician Matt Parker on the unsung prime numbers such as the Mersenne 49 - the largest ever found.

Whistleblowers from inside YouTube's voluntary Trusted Flagger scheme, which helps identify potential child groomers, tell us that the company are failing to respond to the vast majority of reports from them and the public.

An unsolved murder of a young man in Washington DC last year has sparked widespread conspiracy theories online. But these aren't just any kind of conspiracy theories – they are linked to people in positions of power. Why has one murder led to such a huge response online?

(image credit: Shutterstock/family)

20170817

President Trump recently announced that the US Government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military." This provoked criticism from Congressman Mark Pocan who said that there were 15,000 transgender people serving in the military today. That number was widely reported – but is it true?

A visual protest accompanied by a viral hashtag has sparked a new twist in the fight for women's rights in India. It began with one woman driving in her car late at night, and has resulted in the country's ruling party facing embarrassment and possible damage to their reputation.

On trains, in cafes, offices and in the street, we cannot help overhearing conversations not intended for our ears. Catherine Carr explores why we eavesdrop, and whether it is a harmless habit or a dangerous invasion of privacy.

(image: US Joint Service Honor Guard, Washington DC. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

20170824

How accurate are President Trump’s claims to have created a booming economy in America? We take a look at the numbers relating to employment, wages and the stock market.

Following the violent clashes in Charlottesville in the US, internet giants have quelled the voice of one notorious neo-Nazi website. We talk to one person who campaigned to have the website shut down, and another who wrote for it. And, a classified ads site accused of facilitating sex trafficking has prompted action for a change in US law. Critics say if the law goes through, it could result in an attack on free speech on the internet.

News has a powerful pull. We spend so much of our time checking it, absorbing it and talking about it. And some of us even claim to be addicted to it. But why, asks David Baker, do we need news in the first place?

(photo: US President Donald Trump speaks to auto workers in Michigan. Credit: Getty Images.)

20170831

As the world’s most popular football leagues start up again after the summer break, one listener asks how to figure out the best strategy to become a fantasy football champion. How should you spend that £100m budget?

We focus on the social media scene in war-torn Yemen. What does the recent detention of a prominent political analyst reveal about freedom of speech in the country?
And, the question of which African country makes the best Jollof rice has been causing heated debate online.

Also, Shivaani Kohok explores why storing and displaying human remains in museums has become so contentious.

(photo: Manchester United player Paul Pogba in action. Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

20170907

Establishing the death toll in the fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential block in West London, has proved to be unexpectedly difficult. Commander Stuart Cundy, who oversaw the Metropolitan police operation following the fire, tells Tim Harford why it is has been so challenging.

Hurricane Harvey brought devastating floods to large areas of Texas; and in its wake came a flurry of fake news, much of which went viral - including a picture of a shark on a highway and reports of mass looting. And there’s growing concern in the Gulf States where an illegal market for employing domestic servants is using social media to circumvent the law.

Also, why does new technology often feel so complicated? Kate Lamble asks if stupidity on the users’ part or poor design is to blame? Or is it part of our natural psychological response to artificial devices?

20170914

Is the UK the only country with more horses than tanks in its army? And what does the number of tanks say about a country’s capacity to fight?

On the face of it, Eduardo Martins had an inspiring story as a young, conscientious photographer working in conflict zones. His images were used on a number of reputable news sites, and his Instagram following reached into the tens of thousands. But a BBC Brasil investigation has revealed Martins to be a fake identity. Martins – whoever he really is – took another man's self-portraits and passed them off as his own, and stole the work of a real war photographer.

When we meet someone and ask them what do you do – what are we really hoping to find out about that person? David Baker explores how much emphasis we place on our jobs as part of our identity.

(image: Members of the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Wellington Barracks in London. Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty images)

20170921

What’s the best way to measure a hurricane? As hurricanes continue to threaten the Caribbean and American East coast, Tim Harford examines the different ways of calculating their respective strengths.

We investigate new German legislation which will force social networks to delete hate speech – or face massive fines. Some support it, and the government is determined to go ahead, but critics say it will restrict free speech.

Red roses, romantic dinners and Valentine's Day might have become the modern expression of romance – but where do its ancient roots lie? And do traditional ideas about romance conflict with today's experience of gender, love and sexuality. Afua Hirsch reports.

(Satellite image showing Hurricane Irma moving towards the Florida Coast on Sept 07 2017. Photo credit NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)

20170928

A recent study says that male sperm count has declined by 50 per cent since 1973, so how worried should we be?

We investigate claims that posts by Rohingya activists are being unfairly deleted by social media companies.

And, some people condemn surrogacy as a dangerous industry that exploits the vulnerable, while others see it as a welcome solution to the heartache of infertility. Mary-Ann Ochota reports.

(Image: Father with his daughter at breakfast time. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

20171005

Do the largest container ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world? We check out the claims and the different types of emissions produced by container ships and cars.

We hear from the Indian couple behind the viral 'husband-proof' shopping list; and the targeting of a Finnish journalist by pro Russian online trolls.

How easy is it to live in a small space? Is sharing space more important than having space to ourselves? Catherine Carr reports.

(image: the ultra-large container ship MOL Triumph from South Korea, coming in to port. Credit: M.MacMatzen/Getty Images)

20171012

The numbers we need to describe the world around us are getting bigger. Maths author Rob Eastaway explains the names for successive sizes of computer storage space and makes the case for a new giant unit of measurement: the Brontobyte.

Tales of sexist double standards have become a talking point on social media in Pakistan. We delve into this issue through the lens of three viral stories.

Why, when natural disaster is imminent, do some people ignore all warnings to leave and decide to stay put in their homes? Shivaani Kohok investigates.

(Photo: Journalist working on his computer, August 1980, at the Agence France-Presse. Credit: Getty Images)

20171019

Richard Thaler is this year’s recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences. Charlotte McDonald speaks to Tim Harford to get an insight into Thaler’s work and explore the psychological realism of behavioural economics.

The Russian military wants to stop its regular soldiers from posting selfies on social media and an online argument has started between two rival film-makers documenting the life and death of a black transsexual woman. The trending team find out why.

Lucy Ash looks into breath-holding. From those who choose to restrict it to others who do it subconsciously, how does breath-holding affect our bodies and our minds?

(Photo: Prof Richard Thaler standing in front of portraits of previous winners at the University of Chicago: Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

20180405

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

20180412
20180412

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

20180419

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

20180419

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

20180426

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

20180503

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

20180510

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

20180524

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

20180531

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

20180607

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

It is almost a year since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and their allies cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar. BBC Arabic journalist Owen Pinnell reveals how allegations of hacked websites, bot armies and other online dirty tricks have fuelled the ongoing tensions between the two sides.

Fans of Harry Potter have been asking - just how many wizards live among us? We follow a trail of clues in J K Rowling's best-selling books to provide the definitive estimate of the wizarding population.

And why do we believe complete strangers can guide us in improving every aspect of our lives? Mary-Ann Ochota explores whether the self-help industry really makes a difference.

Photo Credit: Reuters

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

20180614
20180614

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

20180621

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

20180628

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

20180712

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

20180726

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

20180809

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

20180830

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

20180927

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

20181018

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

#MeToo: Part Two20180802

Sexual harassment in the media and society \u2013 what impact has the #MeToo movement had?

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

The hashtag MeToo swept across social media in 2017 as victims of sexual harassment spoke out to show how prevalent sexual harassment is within society.

The trending team are joined by Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle, author Kirsty Allison, gender justice specialist Natalie Collins and from journalist and activist, Meghna Pant to discuss the movement and whether there is space for both men and women to come forward with their stories.

More or Less: Getting Creative with Statistics

How big are your testicles and what does that mean? Data journalist and self-confessed ‘Queen of too much information’ Mona Chalabi talks to Tim Harford about her unusual approach to representing statistics.

The Why Factor: Female Friendships

How does social media impact friendships and is this new technology both a blessing and a curse? Can being more connected also highlight vulnerabilities? Nastran Tavakoli-Far exams the female friendship in asks whether closeness can sometime cause rifts.

#metoo: Part Two20180802

Sexual harassment in the media and society \u2013 what impact has the #MeToo movement had?

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

The hashtag MeToo swept across social media in 2017 as victims of sexual harassment spoke out to show how prevalent sexual harassment is within society.

The trending team are joined by Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle, author Kirsty Allison, gender justice specialist Natalie Collins and from journalist and activist, Meghna Pant to discuss the movement and whether there is space for both men and women to come forward with their stories.

More or Less: Getting Creative with Statistics

How big are your testicles and what does that mean? Data journalist and self-confessed ‘Queen of too much information’ Mona Chalabi talks to Tim Harford about her unusual approach to representing statistics.

The Why Factor: Female Friendships

How does social media impact friendships and is this new technology both a blessing and a curse? Can being more connected also highlight vulnerabilities? Nastran Tavakoli-Far exams the female friendship in asks whether closeness can sometime cause rifts.

#MeToo: What's Next?20180726

#MeToo: What's Next? What\u2019s the future for the movement started by the hashtag?

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

What’s the future of #MeToo? In October 2017, the hashtag became a worldwide movement in the wake of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – who denies the charges against him. In the first of a two-part series, we host a panel discussion on the fightback against sexual harassment and assault with writer Kirsty Allison, gender justice expert Natalie Collins and Washington Post columnist Megan McCardle.

How do you cycle really fast? Former British Time trial champion Michael Hutchinson calculates how much better the pros are than the rest of us, and aerodynamics expert Bert Blocken explains the numbers behind slipstreaming.

The importance of male friendships: from the Obama – Biden bromance to the transformative experience of the men’s group, we explore what men can get from their friendships with other men that is unique, and do long held notions of masculinity prevent men from getting close to other men?

(Picture Caption: A #MeToo sign at a rally in South Korea. Picture Credit: Getty Images)

#MeToo: What's Next?20180726

#MeToo: What's Next? What\u2019s the future for the movement started by the hashtag?

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

What’s the future of #MeToo? In October 2017, the hashtag became a worldwide movement in the wake of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein – who denies the charges against him. In the first of a two-part series, we host a panel discussion on the fightback against sexual harassment and assault with writer Kirsty Allison, gender justice expert Natalie Collins and Washington Post columnist Megan McCardle.

How do you cycle really fast? Former British Time trial champion Michael Hutchinson calculates how much better the pros are than the rest of us, and aerodynamics expert Bert Blocken explains the numbers behind slipstreaming.

The importance of male friendships: from the Obama – Biden bromance to the transformative experience of the men’s group, we explore what men can get from their friendships with other men that is unique, and do long held notions of masculinity prevent men from getting close to other men?

(Picture Caption: A #MeToo sign at a rally in South Korea. Picture Credit: Getty Images)

#neveragain: A Turning Point For The Us?20180329

Students demand bans on semi-automatic rifles and measures to stop school shootings

A special report from Washington, where thousands of students are marching in favour of stricter gun control laws. BBC Trending has been following three student activists affected by gun violence. The students are demanding bans on powerful semi-automatic rifles and a comprehensive raft of measures to stop school shootings.

Vladimir Putin has won a second consecutive and fourth overall term as the Russian President with official polling results from the election showing he received over 76% of the vote, with a total turnout of 67%, but there were also widespread allegations of irregularities including inflated turnout figures. We take a closer look at the election data from Russia to see if these complaints have merit.

Machines are merging into our lives in ever more intimate ways. They interact with our children and assist with medical decisions. Cars are learning to drive themselves, and algorithms can determine who gets government assistance and help suggest our romantic partners. But machines learn from the instructions humans give them. So, how do we know that the technology we are creating is going to do the right thing? Sandra Kanthal reports.

#NeverAgain: a Turning Point for the US?20180329

Students demand bans on semi-automatic rifles and measures to stop school shootings

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

A special report from Washington, where thousands of students are marching in favour of stricter gun control laws. BBC Trending has been following three student activists affected by gun violence. The students are demanding bans on powerful semi-automatic rifles and a comprehensive raft of measures to stop school shootings.

Vladimir Putin has won a second consecutive and fourth overall term as the Russian President with official polling results from the election showing he received over 76% of the vote, with a total turnout of 67%, but there were also widespread allegations of irregularities including inflated turnout figures. We take a closer look at the election data from Russia to see if these complaints have merit.

Machines are merging into our lives in ever more intimate ways. They interact with our children and assist with medical decisions. Cars are learning to drive themselves, and algorithms can determine who gets government assistance and help suggest our romantic partners. But machines learn from the instructions humans give them. So, how do we know that the technology we are creating is going to do the right thing? Sandra Kanthal reports.

\u201cCaps Off to Rooney\u201d20141127

In More or Less Wesley Stephenson asks if it's easier now for footballers to win caps

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

Following England football captain Wayne Rooney's 100th appearance, Wesley Stephenson asks in More or Less whether former England star Chris Waddle was right to claim that it is easier to win caps now than it was in previous generations. How many caps would football legends like Bobby Moore, Maradona and Pele have won if they had played in today's era. Plus the programme hears from professor Carlos Vilalta from the University of California, San Diego and Steven Dudley from Insight Crime about claims that '98% of homicides in Mexico are unsolved'. Is this shocking statistic true?

Mukul Devichand and the Trending team find out how a nursing student who may have taken her own life in Kerala, south India, has become a symbol against corporate India, the "ruling class" and the mainstream media. Thousands have united behind the 'Justice for Roji Roy' campaign on Facebook, with over 50 pages now dedicated to her. We find out how Roji's death has provoked debate in the state.

The makers of a hoax video of a boy in Syria rescuing a little girl, which gained millions of views, try to explain themselves. A Syrian blogger talks about his concerns over someone putting up such a video.

And which songs are raising awareness and money to fight Ebola - it's not just Bob Geldorf's re-recording of Band Aid. Trending takes a look at other songs by West African artists.

The Why Factor looks at the disappearing world of the handwritten letter – a letter of advice on love from a father to a son, letters to a man who spent decades on death row in America, and letters between lovers. Mike Williams asks how we will understand our family history now that there is no box of fading letters in the attic. How will we remember old loves and times gone by?

(Photo: England's striker Wayne Rooney celebrates. Credit: Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

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100 Year Floods20151217

More Or Less investigates whether \u201c100 year floods\u201d only happen once a century

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

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander and Wesley Stephenson investigate whether so-called ‘100 year floods’ only happen once a century and ask if it’s true breathing the air in Beijing causes as much damage as smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

BBC Trending reports on an alleged sexual assault which surfaced through the controversial social network Yeti – Campus Stories, also dubbed a college ‘party’ app. How does it work, and why are so many students using it to upload illicit material? And – a video that suggests an Egyptian man died after being tortured by police has been widely shared on Facebook. It’s the latest in a spate of recent deaths that have spurred people to speak out against the government on social media.

And in the The Why Factor Mike Williams looks at the meaning of wearing a skirt – a garment which throughout centuries has had social meaning, including the liberation and oppression of women. The programme includes an interview with Jung Chang, author of the bestselling “Wild Swans”, who describes how it was dangerous to wear a skirt during the Cultural Revolution.

(Image: Flooding in Paris in 1910. Credit: Getty)

100 Year Floods20151217

More Or Less investigates whether “100 year floods? only happen once a century

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander and Wesley Stephenson investigate whether so-called ‘100 year floods’ only happen once a century and ask if it’s true breathing the air in Beijing causes as much damage as smoking 40 cigarettes a day.

BBC Trending reports on an alleged sexual assault which surfaced through the controversial social network Yeti – Campus Stories, also dubbed a college ‘party’ app. How does it work, and why are so many students using it to upload illicit material? And – a video that suggests an Egyptian man died after being tortured by police has been widely shared on Facebook. It’s the latest in a spate of recent deaths that have spurred people to speak out against the government on social media.

And in the The Why Factor Mike Williams looks at the meaning of wearing a skirt – a garment which throughout centuries has had social meaning, including the liberation and oppression of women. The programme includes an interview with Jung Chang, author of the bestselling “Wild Swans?, who describes how it was dangerous to wear a skirt during the Cultural Revolution.

(Image: Flooding in Paris in 1910. Credit: Getty)

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A \u2018Manspreading\u2019 Video Goes Viral in Russia20181025

A \u2018Manspreading\u2019 Video Goes Viral in Russia \u2013 is it propaganda?

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

A Genius of Maths20170727

The life and legacy of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani

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

The only woman to win the maths world’s biggest prize has died at the age of 40. As the only female winner of the Fields Medal – the maths equivalent to the Nobel Prize – Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani inspired a generation of female mathematicians. We look at her life and her legacy.

The first of two special reports reveals a unique Chinese love story involving one of China's most well-known live streamers, and a fan who watches her on a screen every single day. Live streaming is big business in China, with half of the online Chinese community using livestreaming apps in 2016.

And why do some people crave the limelight? Jordan Dunbar undergoes an experiment to find out what the limelight does to our bodies, to get a chemical answer.

(Photo: Front pages of Iranian newspapers on 16 July 2017, bearing portraits of the top female mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani. Credit: Atta Kenare/Getty Images)

A Transgender Twitter Fight20180628

A Transgender Twitter Fight: how one short message led to a Twitter ban for an activist.

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

One short message led to a Twitter ban for a controversial activist – and highlighted the complicated world of transgender politics and how philosophical battles within transgender communities are playing out on social media.

How many words do you need to speak a language and how many words do native speakers actually use? Reporter Beth Sagar-Fenton finds out with help from Professor Stuart Webb, and puts Tim Harford through his paces to find out how big his own English vocabulary is.

People have been fishing for thousands of years – it is one of the last hunter gatherer activities. But increasingly it is becoming more difficult, as fish stocks dwindle or regulation limits the number of fish that can be caught. Caz Graham asks why do people continue to fish despite these challenges.

(Photo: Illustration of people going from woman to man Credit: Getty Images)

A Vegan You Tube Court Drama20180614

A vegan vlogger files a lawsuit for defamation after suffering abuse online

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

Anna Scanlon, a vegan vlogger, has filed a lawsuit for defamation after she found herself the target of abuse online . She complained to the social media companies but got little response. The forthcoming trial could have major implications for defamation online.

From penguins to nematodes - is it possible to count how many animals are born in the world every day? Reporter Kate Lamble takes a trip to the zoo to find out the answer to a ten year old listener’s question.

What is it about beautiful landscapes that people like so much? Caz Graham explores the appeal of wide open natural spaces, starting with a visit to the English Lake District.

(Photo: Anna Scanlon)

Algorithms, Crime And Punishment2016102020161021 (WS)

When Maths can get you locked up.

A drive-by shooting in the US midwest has raised questions about how algorithms are being used in the country's criminal justice system. A defendant in the case was jailed after an algorithm used by the court calculated that he was at high risk of reoffending. The risk assessment algorithm is supposed to make decisions less subjective, but one recent analysis found that the algorithm was biased against black people.

In Iran, social media users found novel ways to support the national football team when a match fell on a day of public mourning and the country’s religious leaders banned cheering and said only religious chanting would be tolerated. Also, how US prison inmates are arranging a nationwide prison strike from their cells, using banned social media.

And why do we write farewell letters? Whether it's messages from the living to the dying or from the dying to the living, how can we find the words to say goodbye?

(Photo: A guard walking down a cell block. Credit: Getty Images)

Algorithms, Crime and Punishment20161020

When Maths can get you locked up.

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

A drive-by shooting in the US midwest has raised questions about how algorithms are being used in the country's criminal justice system. A defendant in the case was jailed after an algorithm used by the court calculated that he was at high risk of reoffending. The risk assessment algorithm is supposed to make decisions less subjective, but one recent analysis found that the algorithm was biased against black people.

In Iran, social media users found novel ways to support the national football team when a match fell on a day of public mourning and the country’s religious leaders banned cheering and said only religious chanting would be tolerated. Also, how US prison inmates are arranging a nationwide prison strike from their cells, using banned social media.

And why do we write farewell letters? Whether it's messages from the living to the dying or from the dying to the living, how can we find the words to say goodbye?

(Photo: A guard walking down a cell block. Credit: Getty Images)

An Urban Maze20170511

; cartoonists of the ‘Caliphate’; creatures of habit

An Urban Maze20170511

An Urban Maze; cartoonists of the \u2018Caliphate\u2019; creatures of habit

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

Some parts of towns are hard to navigate and seem like an urban maze. Navigation expert Dr Ruth Dalton explains to Jordan Dunbar that it’s to do with “intelligibility”, as they go on a tour of the Barbican Estate in London, a famous example of Brutalist architecture, which people struggle to find their way around. The technique for finding your way out of a maze is also revealed.

The so-called Islamic State group is using a new tactic to market itself. Typically associated with videos showing killings and destruction, supporters of the terrorist group are now using cartoons aimed at children and adults in order to recruit followers.

And why are we creatures of habit? Doing everyday tasks without thinking frees our brains for more complicated decision making, but what happens when we form habits beyond our control, and how do we form good habits rather than bad ones? Shiulie Ghosh investigates.

(Photo: 'Floating' gardens in the Barbican Estate, Credit: Roger Jackson/Getty Images)

Are 95 % of Terrorism Victims Muslim?20150122

More Or Less checks out an assertion that most terrorism victims worldwide are Muslim

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

More Or Less, presented by Tim Harford, checks out a claim that most terrorism victims worldwide are Muslim. Erin Miller of the Global Terrorism Database gives her view of the statistics. The reported death toll of the Boko Haram attack in Baga, Nigeria, this month has ranged from 150 to more than 2,000 people. More Or Less speaks to Julian Rademeyer of Africa Check, who has been trying to get to the truth.

Trending with Mukul Devichand launches a series of free speech reports, exploring the limits of who can say what. Anne-Marie Tomchak reports from Madrid on the controversy surrounding the satirist Facu Diaz who is accused of mocking victims of terrorism but he says he is being targeted because he is linked with opposition to the government, and there is news of a blog designed to expose racists and get them fired from their jobs. Has online vigilantsim - or digilantism - gone too far?

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why we show loyalty and to whom. He talks to people whose loyalty has been challenged and asks if we are ultimately only really loyal to ourselves?

(Image: Activists of Jamaat-e-Islami pray for the victims of Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar. Credit: Associated Press)

Are African Football Players More Likely to Die on the Field?20170615

Are African footballers more prone to heart attacks? And the conflict in Venezuela.

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

Cheick Tiote, the much loved former Newcastle United player collapsed and died while training with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises earlier this month. His death and that of other black footballers have caused some commentators to ask if cardiac arrest – one of the most common causes of death on the field – is a greater risk factor for people of African heritage.

The conflict in Venezuela has now moved beyond the country’s borders – both on and offline. It involves Venezuelan exiles publicly shaming people living abroad who are connected to the government. We hear from those who are targeted and targeting.
Also, offensive messages on social media have resulted in some students having their admissions revoked from one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Why do some people deliberately inflict pain on themselves as a way of managing how they feel? Catherine Carr explores the impact self-harming has on those who do it and those close to them, and she hears from people who have recovered by finding alternative coping strategies.

(Photo: Cheick Tiote of Newcastle United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James Park Credit: Getty Images)

Are Tall People More Likely To Get Cancer?20151015

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? In More Or Less Ruth Alexander looks at a new Swedish study that’s caused headlines around the world, and asks how worried tall people like her should be about developing the illness.

BBC Trending reports on the outpouring of grief online over the death of teenager Caleb Bratayley, a member of one of YouTube’s most famous families, who became well known for simply uploading vast swathes of their day to day lives. Why is there such a big audience for ‘family vlog’ channels? We also hear from an Instagram user posting pictures of the good life… in Syria, from a part largely untouched by the war. And we find out about Afghanistan’s first satirical Facebook page ‘Kabul Taxi’.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams, looks at the pain and pleasure of commuting and asks how it makes us the people we are.

(Image: A patient has her height measured. Credit: Shutterstock)

Are Tall People More Likely to Get Cancer?20151015

More Or Less asks if tall people really are more likely to get cancer.

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

Are tall people really more likely to get cancer? In More Or Less Ruth Alexander looks at a new Swedish study that’s caused headlines around the world, and asks how worried tall people like her should be about developing the illness.

BBC Trending reports on the outpouring of grief online over the death of teenager Caleb Bratayley, a member of one of YouTube’s most famous families, who became well known for simply uploading vast swathes of their day to day lives. Why is there such a big audience for ‘family vlog’ channels? We also hear from an Instagram user posting pictures of the good life… in Syria, from a part largely untouched by the war. And we find out about Afghanistan’s first satirical Facebook page ‘Kabul Taxi’.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams, looks at the pain and pleasure of commuting and asks how it makes us the people we are.

(Image: A patient has her height measured. Credit: Shutterstock)

Avoiding Asteroids20161124

We are getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks \u2013 but how safe are we?

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

The proportion of asteroids we know about has grown rapidly in the past few decades, so what are the chances of us being taken by surprise? If we did spot an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, what could we do about it? And, perhaps most importantly of all, could the plot of the film Armageddon happen in real life? We get answers from Nasa’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

DJ Khaled is kind of a big deal on Snapchat. His messages reach millions of young people who find him both hilarious and inspirational. Whitney Henry takes a trip to his hometown in Miami to try to find out the key to his success.

Also, Mike Williams asks why so many people are obsessed with discovering their family origins and also learns new things about his own ancestors along the way.

(Photo: Asteroid heading towards Earth. Credit: Shutterstock)

Avoiding Asteroids20161124

We are getting better at spotting Earth-bound space rocks – but how safe are we?

The proportion of asteroids we know about has grown rapidly in the past few decades, so what are the chances of us being taken by surprise? If we did spot an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, what could we do about it? And, perhaps most importantly of all, could the plot of the film Armageddon happen in real life? We get answers from Nasa’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies.

DJ Khaled is kind of a big deal on Snapchat. His messages reach millions of young people who find him both hilarious and inspirational. Whitney Henry takes a trip to his hometown in Miami to try to find out the key to his success.

Also, Mike Williams asks why so many people are obsessed with discovering their family origins and also learns new things about his own ancestors along the way.

(Photo: Asteroid heading towards Earth. Credit: Shutterstock)

Baby Boxes \u2013 are they really saving infant\u2019s lives?20170330

Are Baby Boxes really saving infants\u2019 lives? Disturbing rip-off cartoons and why do yoga?

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

Since Finland started giving families simple cardboard boxes for their new born babies to sleep in 75 years ago, cot death has fallen and child health has improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect? Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been finding out.

Thousands of videos aimed at children are posted on YouTube that initially look like some of their favourite cartoon series, but closer inspection reveals weird and often disturbing content that is potentially unsuitable for young children. Who is making this content and Is the onus on parents to take responsibility for their children’s viewing or should the host platform, YouTube, be doing more?

And why do millions of people round the world practice yoga and how has it become so popular over time? Valley Fontaine hears from the director of a 98-year-old yoga institute in India, an instructor who teaches yoga for you and your dog, the founders of a yoga festival in the UK, and the 2016 women’s yoga champion.

(Photo: A Box of baby essentials. Credit: Getty Images)

Baby Boxes € Are They Really Saving Infant’s Lives?2017033020170331 (WS)

Since Finland started giving families simple cardboard boxes for their new born babies to sleep in 75 years ago, cot death has fallen and child health has improved. Governments and individuals across the world have adopted them and companies have sprung up selling them. But can a cardboard box on its own really have such a huge effect? Elizabeth Cassin and Charlotte McDonald have been finding out.

Thousands of videos aimed at children are posted on YouTube that initially look like some of their favourite cartoon series, but closer inspection reveals weird and often disturbing content that is potentially unsuitable for young children. Who is making this content and Is the onus on parents to take responsibility for their children’s viewing or should the host platform, YouTube, be doing more?

And why do millions of people round the world practice yoga and how has it become so popular over time? Valley Fontaine hears from the director of a 98-year-old yoga institute in India, an instructor who teaches yoga for you and your dog, the founders of a yoga festival in the UK, and the 2016 women’s yoga champion.

(Photo: A Box of baby essentials. Credit: Getty Images)

Are Baby Boxes really saving infants’ lives? Disturbing rip-off cartoons and why do yoga?

Bad Luck and Cancer20150115

In More or Less, Tim Harford unpicks the reporting of a new cancer study

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

Most cancers are caused by “bad luck” according to reports of a new study. But, actually, the study doesn’t say that. Tim Harford finds out for More or Less what the research really tells us about the causes of cancer, speaking to PZ Myers, a biologist and associate professor of the University of Minnesota, Morris, in the United States and Professor George Davey-Smith, clinical epidemiologist at Bristol University in the UK.

Trending, presented by Mukul Devichand, reports on a sombre version of the ice bucket challenge on Facebook in which people are being challenged to show their face to call out clerics in Pakistan who defend militants. This follows the school attacks in Peshawar and targets Maulana Abdul Aziz, a cleric at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, known for its radicalism, who by failing to condemn the killings has angered Pakistanis. In China we find out how the Confucian theory of “face” is driving dangerous competitive drinking of the traditional Chinese spirit Baijiu.

From the first photographic portraits captured in the 1830s to the “selfies” of today, we seem fascinated by images of the human face. Mike Williams asks if it is simple vanity or something deeper, perhaps an attempt to learn how other people see us or a desire to capture something of ourselves that may live on when we are gone.
(Photo: Dividing breast cancer cell: Source: Science Photo Library)

Big Numbers20150521

More Or Less finds out why computers struggle to process big numbers.

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

More Or Less asks why many computers struggle to process big numbers. Tim Harford talks to technology journalist Chris Baraniuk, who explains how a simple software bug can cause havoc. And good news – two mothers who asked what the chances would be of them giving birth on the same day have had their babies – we reveal how far apart.

In BBC Trending Anne-Marie Tomchak finds out why Abdishakour Mohamed Ali dresses up in a Swedish police uniform from the 1970s on a mission to call out racism in the police force and she asks why a one day protest in Iran been amplified online with pictures of a burning hotel under the hashtag IranOnFire.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams explores our obsession with television. How has it grown from being tightly controlled into something that changes our societies in unimaginable ways?

Big Polluters: Ships v Cars and the 'Husband-Proof' shopping list.20171005

Big polluters: ships v cars, the 'husband-proof' shopping list and how to live small.

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

Do the largest container ships emit as much pollution as all the cars in the world? We check out the claims and the different types of emissions produced by container ships and cars.

We hear from the Indian couple behind the viral 'husband-proof' shopping list; and the targeting of a Finnish journalist by pro Russian online trolls.

How easy is it to live in a small space? Is sharing space more important than having space to ourselves? Catherine Carr reports.

(image: the ultra-large container ship MOL Triumph from South Korea, coming in to port. Credit: M.MacMatzen/Getty Images)

Biggest Movies20150702

More Or Less looks behind the box office figures for record breaking film releases.

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

The film Jurassic World broke the record for the biggest opening weekend taking $511m. Most of the top ten films with the biggest opening weekends were released in the last five years. Why are these films doing so well? And what possessed a British newspaper to ask: ‘Who brings more to the British economy – the British Royal Family or bees. The answer? Bees of course. More or Less checks out the curious methodology.

BBC Trending talks to fans of Deen Squad, two new Muslim rappers who take hit mainstream songs and rerecord them with deeply religious lyrics. They have built up a global following online, but is their music halal? And how do you police hate speech online? A forum used by white supremacists on Reddit has been allowed to continue, while others that made fun of fat people have been closed down. A civil rights activist and a free speech advocate debate the question.

Some people actively embrace risk by jumping out of aeroplanes, scuba-diving or motor-racing. But we all face risks every day just by eating, drinking, walking and driving - and yet we are not very good at calculating things on which our lives may depend. Why is that? Risk-averse Mike Williams speaks to some risk-takers for The Why Factor to find out.

(Photo: Scene from Jurassic World. Credit: ILM/Universal Pictures/Amblin Entert, Associated Press)

Black prisoners in the US20150305

More Or Less compares prisoner numbers in the US with those of other countries.

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

More Or Less asks if Oscar-winner John Legend was right to say that there are more black men ‘under correctional control’ in the United States now than were in slavery in 1850? Ruth Alexander and Wesley Stephenson look into the statistics, and consider how US prisoner numbers compare with those of other countries. Plus, how many Lego bricks, stacked one on top of the other, would it take to destroy the bottom brick? The UK’s Open University engineering department finds out.
BBC Trending reports how Russian and Ukrainian students are reaching out to each other via videos in which they debate the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The videos have attracted millions of views, though in most cases, disagreement still prevails. Plus, is it right for parents to post videos about their young transgender children who want to live and be known as a different gender from the one they were born as? What are the implications if those stories are viewed millions of times across the world? BBC Trending speaks to the mother of a young child who wants to live as a girl, and finds out what the transgender community makes of these videos.
The Why Factor asks why we like to build tall and high? Are Skyscrapers simply about vanity or are there practical and even spiritual reasons why we want to defy gravity? Mike Williams ventures up the Shard, the tallest building in London, with its architect Renzo Piano. He talks to Blair Kamin, Architecture Critic at the Chicago Tribune – the city that brought us the skyscraper. As well as experts Daniel Safarik, from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat and Dr. Phillip Oldfield, from the University of Nottingham.

Blocking Hate Speech on Social Media20180419

Blocking hate speech on social media in Germany \u2013 but is a new law limiting free speech?

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

Is a tough new law in Germany aimed at blocking hate speech in danger of limiting free speech? We hear how comedians are having their jokes taken down in a “culture of deletion”.

The World Health Organisation says 95% of people in cities breathe unsafe air, but what is meant by 'unsafe'? Plus, Mount Etna in Italy has reportedly moved by 14mm, but who is doing the measuring and how can it be accurate?

We all fantasise – the dream home, a fulfilling job, our perfect partner. But some people go further, inventing and inhabiting elaborate fantasy worlds. Nicola Kelly finds out why, spending time with cosplayers, delving into virtual worlds and visiting the nightclub where people dress up as unicorns.

Photo Caption: German comedian Sophie Passmann was one of the first people to be caught up in the country’s new hate speech law when one of her jokes on Twitter was deleted
Photo Credit: BBC

Brexit Economics; Viral videos and US murder rates; Attraction2016063020160703 (WS)

What might the UK\u2019s vote to leave the European Union mean for the UK\u2019s economy?

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

Following a referendum, the UK has voted to leave the European Union. What might that mean for the UK’s economy, especially for trade? Tim Harford examines the economic forecasts from the government, and how the UK might manage its relationships with other countries for More Or Less.

Why have murder rates spiked in several US cities? The head of the FBI, James Comey, has asked whether police are holding back from their work through fear of being filmed on camera phones and going viral on YouTube. The theory has been dubbed the ‘Viral Video Effect’, or the ‘Ferguson Effect’ after the city that witnessed unrest after a black teenager was killed by a white police officer. BBC Trending reports.

Why are we attracted to some people and to not others? Beauty, facial symmetry, personality and values all play a role in our attraction to others. Evolution biologist Dr Anna Machin from Oxford University explains the science behind our feelings. Mike Williams presents the Why Factor.

(Photo: A pay-per-view binocular with the British and European Union flags. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Brexit Economics; Viral videos and US murder rates; Attraction20160630

What might the UK\u2019s vote to leave the European Union mean for the UK\u2019s economy?

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

Following a referendum, the UK has voted to leave the European Union. What might that mean for the UK’s economy, especially for trade? Tim Harford examines the economic forecasts from the government, and how the UK might manage its relationships with other countries for More Or Less.

Why have murder rates spiked in several US cities? The head of the FBI, James Comey, has asked whether police are holding back from their work through fear of being filmed on camera phones and going viral on YouTube. The theory has been dubbed the ‘Viral Video Effect’, or the ‘Ferguson Effect’ after the city that witnessed unrest after a black teenager was killed by a white police officer. BBC Trending reports.

Why are we attracted to some people and to not others? Beauty, facial symmetry, personality and values all play a role in our attraction to others. Evolution biologist Dr Anna Machin from Oxford University explains the science behind our feelings. Mike Williams presents the Why Factor.

(Photo: A pay-per-view binocular with the British and European Union flags. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Brexit Economics; Viral Videos And Us Murder Rates; Attraction2016063020160701 (WS)

What might the UK’s vote to leave the European Union mean for the UK’s economy?

Following a referendum, the UK has voted to leave the European Union. What might that mean for the UK’s economy, especially for trade? Tim Harford examines the economic forecasts from the government, and how the UK might manage its relationships with other countries for More Or Less.

Why have murder rates spiked in several US cities? The head of the FBI, James Comey, has asked whether police are holding back from their work through fear of being filmed on camera phones and going viral on YouTube. The theory has been dubbed the ‘Viral Video Effect’, or the ‘Ferguson Effect’ after the city that witnessed unrest after a black teenager was killed by a white police officer. BBC Trending reports.

Why are we attracted to some people and to not others? Beauty, facial symmetry, personality and values all play a role in our attraction to others. Evolution biologist Dr Anna Machin from Oxford University explains the science behind our feelings. Mike Williams presents the Why Factor.

(Photo: A pay-per-view binocular with the British and European Union flags. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Calling the Shots at Wimbledon20170720

Calling the shots at Wimbledon; China\u2019s video crackdown; and choosing to be childless.

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

We discover how every shot at the Wimbledon tennis championships is counted, analysed and makes its way to our phones, desktops and TV screens. How useful is this information for players and their coaches? The statistics prove and disprove some of the received wisdom of the game.

New Chinese regulations have resulted in a crackdown on online videos. Chinese censors have banned around 84 categories of material including prostitution, drug addiction, and extra marital affairs, and the classification of homosexuality as an 'abnormal' sexual activity has caused anger online.

What drives women – and men – to choose to be childless, especially as they often face suspicion, abuse even, for being selfish or materialistic. Women, in particular, who decide not to have children can experience the full force of this near-universal stigma. Mary-Ann Ochota reports.

(image: Venus Williams plays a backhand during the Ladies Singles at Wimbledon. Credit: Getty Images)

Can we trust food surveys; Cricketing fans clash; What motivates magicians20160317

More Or Less asks if we can trust food surveys that link foods to good and bad health.

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

More or Less asks if we can trust the food surveys which inform popular stories about what foods are good and bad for you. How do experts really know what people are eating? Tim Harford speaks to Christie Aschwanden, FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for science, about the pitfalls of keeping a food diary and answering surveys. How could she tell all the ingredients in a restaurant curry; and how many tomatoes did she eat regularly over the past six months?

BBC Trending reports how after a recent cricket match Indian and Bangladeshi fans took their longstanding rivalry online where it became less than amiable. As a result, some government sites in Bangladesh were hacked and taken down. And a video in the United States explaining a simple maths problem using national educational standards – or Common Core methods - went viral and again raises the debate about whether Common Core maths methods in schools work.
And in the Why Factor Mike Williams explores the world of the magicians - the tricksters and the conjurers. Who are they and why do they do what they do?

(Photo: Food diary. Credit: Shutterstock)

Can We Trust Food Surveys; Cricketing Fans Clash; What Motivates Magicians20160317

More or Less asks if we can trust the food surveys which inform popular stories about what foods are good and bad for you. How do experts really know what people are eating? Tim Harford speaks to Christie Aschwanden, FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for science, about the pitfalls of keeping a food diary and answering surveys. How could she tell all the ingredients in a restaurant curry; and how many tomatoes did she eat regularly over the past six months?

BBC Trending reports how after a recent cricket match Indian and Bangladeshi fans took their longstanding rivalry online where it became less than amiable. As a result, some government sites in Bangladesh were hacked and taken down. And a video in the United States explaining a simple maths problem using national educational standards – or Common Core methods - went viral and again raises the debate about whether Common Core maths methods in schools work.

And in the Why Factor Mike Williams explores the world of the magicians - the tricksters and the conjurers. Who are they and why do they do what they do?

(Photo: Food diary. Credit: Shutterstock)

More Or Less asks if we can trust food surveys that link foods to good and bad health.

Catching The Killers Behind A Viral Murder Video20181004

Were Cameroonian forces behind a shocking viral murder video?

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

Child Marriage and Dangerous Algorithms20161103

Is a girl under 15 married every seven seconds? And beware dangerous algorithms.

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

Is a girl under the age of 15 married every seven seconds somewhere in the world? That is what the charity Save the Children claim in their attempts to raise awareness of child marriage. But how is this figure calculated? Data scientist and activist Cathy O’Neil wants to protect you from dangerous, and often hidden, algorithms.
In Nairobi one woman's online post about harassment on the city's private-hire minibuses or Matatus, has triggered dozens of similar accounts and complaints on social media of robbery, harassment and dangerous driving. We hear from the woman behind the #StopMatatuMenace hashtag campaign.
And can you believe your own eyes? Can you trust your own memory? Why is it that so many social scientists and so many in the police and the judiciary are so very concerned about eye-witness testimony. Mike Williams finds out why we often fail to accurately recall a face or an event.

Child Marriage And Dangerous Algorithms20161103

Is a girl under the age of 15 married every seven seconds somewhere in the world? That is what the charity Save the Children claim in their attempts to raise awareness of child marriage. But how is this figure calculated? Data scientist and activist Cathy O’Neil wants to protect you from dangerous, and often hidden, algorithms.

In Nairobi one woman's online post about harassment on the city's private-hire minibuses or Matatus, has triggered dozens of similar accounts and complaints on social media of robbery, harassment and dangerous driving. We hear from the woman behind the #StopMatatuMenace hashtag campaign.

And can you believe your own eyes? Can you trust your own memory? Why is it that so many social scientists and so many in the police and the judiciary are so very concerned about eye-witness testimony. Mike Williams finds out why we often fail to accurately recall a face or an event.

Is a girl under 15 married every seven seconds? And beware dangerous algorithms.

China Stock Market Crash20150903

More Or Less puts the Chinese market crash in a global context

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

More or Less puts the Chinese Market Crash in context. Tim Harford asks how big the market is, how many investors does it have and does it tell us anything about the wider Chinese economy? He also looks at a fascinating piece of research showing that world class runners don’t actually move their legs faster than the average park runner!

BBC Trending asks should we be allowed to delete our tweets. It follows Twitter’s action in banning a website which flagged up MPs deleted tweets. And Trending also talks to a 19 year old Dutchman who’s been mapping the Syrian conflict – from his bedroom.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the history of encryption – from the Roman Caesar Cipher to modern day computer encryption. We use encryption every day – in our bank transfers, on our mobile phones and whenever we buy anything online. Why is it so important?

(Image: An investory looks at a stock information board. Credit: Reuters.)

China Stock Market Crash20150903

More or Less puts the Chinese Market Crash in context. Tim Harford asks how big the market is, how many investors does it have and does it tell us anything about the wider Chinese economy? He also looks at a fascinating piece of research showing that world class runners don’t actually move their legs faster than the average park runner!

BBC Trending asks should we be allowed to delete our tweets. It follows Twitter’s action in banning a website which flagged up MPs deleted tweets. And Trending also talks to a 19 year old Dutchman who’s been mapping the Syrian conflict – from his bedroom.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the history of encryption – from the Roman Caesar Cipher to modern day computer encryption. We use encryption every day – in our bank transfers, on our mobile phones and whenever we buy anything online. Why is it so important?

(Image: An investory looks at a stock information board. Credit: Reuters.)

China\u2019s One Child Policy20151112

More Or Less investigates the impact on population growth of China\u2019s one child policy

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

More Or Less investigates the impact on population growth of China’s one child policy. Now that parents in China will be allowed to have two children, which country will have the largest population in 2030 - China or India? Ruth Alexander presents.

BBC Trending reports on the release by the hackers group Anonymous of the names of hundreds of people who they claim are members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. But what happens when hackers get it wrong and falsely label people as KKK sympathisers?

And, a report from Brazil where a 12-year-old contestant on cooking competition Masterchef Junior was harassed online. The incident prompted feminist Juliana de Faria to create a campaign for women to share their first experiences of sexual harassment. Thousands of women shared their stories.

Plus, Why Factor asks why a growing number of people worldwide believe they are intolerant to certain foods and whether developing nations will end up with the same levels of allergies. Mike Williams reports.

(Photo: A woman carrying a baby in Yanji, in China's north-east Jilin province. Credit: Getty Images)

China’s One Child Policy20151112

More Or Less investigates the impact on population growth of China’s one child policy. Now that parents in China will be allowed to have two children, which country will have the largest population in 2030 - China or India? Ruth Alexander presents.

BBC Trending reports on the release by the hackers group Anonymous of the names of hundreds of people who they claim are members of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. But what happens when hackers get it wrong and falsely label people as KKK sympathisers?

And, a report from Brazil where a 12-year-old contestant on cooking competition Masterchef Junior was harassed online. The incident prompted feminist Juliana de Faria to create a campaign for women to share their first experiences of sexual harassment. Thousands of women shared their stories.

Plus, Why Factor asks why a growing number of people worldwide believe they are intolerant to certain foods and whether developing nations will end up with the same levels of allergies. Mike Williams reports.

(Photo: A woman carrying a baby in Yanji, in China's north-east Jilin province. Credit: Getty Images)

More Or Less investigates the impact on population growth of China’s one child policy

Christian Martyrs20170119

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016 as claimed by a new report?

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

Were 90,000 Christians killed because of their faith in 2016, as claimed by a report by the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity published earlier this month? But another new report from Open Doors, an organisation which helps persecuted Christians, says that 1,207 were killed . How can the numbers be so different and who, if anyone, is right?

Donald Trump has accepted that Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic Party’s emails. So who is the mysterious Guccifer 2.0 who claims he was behind the hack?

And, why do we feel regret? Is it right to live with this negative emotion, or should we simply get over our mistakes of the past? Mike Williams speaks to a palliative care nurse who recorded the regrets of the dying.

(Photo: Rrmaj cemetery in Shkoder, Albania. Credit: Gent Shkullaku/Getty Images)

Climate Change20151210

More Or Less investigates the claim that climate change has contributed to war in Syria

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

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander investigates claims that climate change has contributed to the war in Syria, and with the climate change summit COP21 underway in Paris, the team answers listeners’ climate change number questions.

BBC Trending hears from the Australian feminist columnist Clementine Ford who was bombarded by misogynistic abuse on Facebook. She reported one of her trolls to his employer and it cost him his job.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the paradox symbolised by the wearing of a necktie – the desire to conform while standing out from the crowd.

Climate Change20151210

More Or Less investigates the claim that climate change has contributed to war in Syria

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander investigates claims that climate change has contributed to the war in Syria, and with the climate change summit COP21 underway in Paris, the team answers listeners’ climate change number questions.

BBC Trending hears from the Australian feminist columnist Clementine Ford who was bombarded by misogynistic abuse on Facebook. She reported one of her trolls to his employer and it cost him his job.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the paradox symbolised by the wearing of a necktie – the desire to conform while standing out from the crowd.

Could North Korea Wipe out 90% of Americans?20170413

Could North Korea wipe out 90% of Americans? The \u201cGreat Meme War\u201d in France; Clapping

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

A single nuclear weapon could destroy America’s entire electrical grid, claims a former head of the CIA. The explosion would send out an electromagnetic pulse – resulting in famine, societal collapse and what one newspaper has called a “Dark Apocalypse”. But are hungry squirrels a greater threat to the electrical grid than North Korean weapons?

A group of anonymous keyboard warriors who claim they helped Donald Trump win his presidency in the “Great Meme War” have moved their fight to Europe and are trying to help elect a right wing leader for France. Conversations in secret online messaging forums reveal a systematic effort to sway opinion but is it working?

Also, the power of applause and why we humans like to clap.

(Photo: The launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 Credit: Getty Images)

Could you forgive someone that raped or tortured you?20161229

Some crimes may seem unforgettable, but can forgiveness help heal the hurt?

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

Could you forgive the person who killed your child or who raped or tortured you? Some crimes, some events are so awful, so cruel, it’s impossible to imagine ever being able to say to the wrongdoer, ‘I forgive you’. Mike Williams hears the stories of those who have experienced unimaginable pain and suffering at the hands of others. And discovers what it feels like to turn anger and desire for revenge against the perpetrators into compassion and understanding for them. What does the act of forgiveness mean to the offender? Contributors include Kemal Pervanic, a survivor from the Omarska concentration camp during the Bosnian war, a rape survivor and a woman whose ex-husband killed her two children.

After two decades working in development, Claire Melamed is ready to reveal a secret about her work. Many of the numbers that lie behind life-and-death decisions in developing countries are, as she puts it, “a bit shaky”. If you don’t know how many people live somewhere and who’s dying when of what, you can’t make well-informed decisions to help them. Now she and others are working to change that by getting better data and using it smarter. We hear what that means in practice and the story of Justice Aheto, whose award-winning mathematical models could also be life-saving for malnourished children in his native Ghana.

Four of the biggest stories on the internet this year divided opinion around the world. We discuss the most popular memes of US Elections, the highlights of the EU referendum in the UK, why people around the world were scared of clowns and how live streaming made its mark on the digital world.

(Photo: Criminal man beg for forgiveness. Credit: Shutterstock)

Could You Forgive Someone That Raped Or Tortured You?20161229

Some crimes may seem unforgettable, but can forgiveness help heal the hurt?

Could you forgive the person who killed your child or who raped or tortured you? Some crimes, some events are so awful, so cruel, it’s impossible to imagine ever being able to say to the wrongdoer, ‘I forgive you’. Mike Williams hears the stories of those who have experienced unimaginable pain and suffering at the hands of others. And discovers what it feels like to turn anger and desire for revenge against the perpetrators into compassion and understanding for them. What does the act of forgiveness mean to the offender? Contributors include Kemal Pervanic, a survivor from the Omarska concentration camp during the Bosnian war, a rape survivor and a woman whose ex-husband killed her two children.

After two decades working in development, Claire Melamed is ready to reveal a secret about her work. Many of the numbers that lie behind life-and-death decisions in developing countries are, as she puts it, “a bit shaky? If you don’t know how many people live somewhere and who’s dying when of what, you can’t make well-informed decisions to help them. Now she and others are working to change that by getting better data and using it smarter. We hear what that means in practice and the story of Justice Aheto, whose award-winning mathematical models could also be life-saving for malnourished children in his native Ghana.

Four of the biggest stories on the internet this year divided opinion around the world. We discuss the most popular memes of US Elections, the highlights of the EU referendum in the UK, why people around the world were scared of clowns and how live streaming made its mark on the digital world.

(Photo: Criminal man beg for forgiveness. Credit: Shutterstock)

Counting Crowds20170202

The difficulties of counting the crowds at President Trump\u2019s inauguration.

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

How many people attended President Trump’s inauguration? How many people went to the Women’s March in Washington DC the next day? A fierce debate has been raging about the numbers of people at each event. We explore the difficulties of counting people in a crowd.

Tens of thousands of automated videos have appeared online recently. All feature photos of news events accompanied by a robotic voice. BBC Trending’s very own digital supersleuth Mike Wendling investigates who’s making them and why.

Can deep-frozen bodies ever return from the dead? Mike Williams explores the science, the motivation and the ethics behind cryonics and asks whether frozen human bodies will ever be fit for a new life.

(image: Attendees line the Mall at Trump's Inauguration Day in Washington DC. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Getty Images)

Counting Foreign Fighters20150806

More Or Less investigates the number of foreigners fighting in the Middle East

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

It has been reported that as many as 20,000 foreign fighters have joined militants in the Middle East and that they make up around 10% of ISIS. In More Or Less, Wesley Stephenson and Federica Cocco look at the numbers behind those claims and examine where those fighting in places like Syria and Iraq come from.

This year three atheist bloggers in Bangladesh were brutally attacked and murdered - seemingly for challenging religious belief. The suspects are Islamic extremists. It comes after a polarised online debate between secular and atheist bloggers, and Islamists. BBC Trending is on location in the capital Dhaka, meeting bloggers living in fear and discussing what is happening with a special panel, including the country's Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu. Plus, who are the Goats of Bangladesh - and why are they going viral on Facebook.

For most of us a home is a sanctuary. But some people have no home at all, while for others it can become a place of terror and pain. What is home and why is the notion of home so deeply embedded in us? Mike Williams reports for The Why Factor.

(Photo details: Silhouette of an Iraqi fighter. Credit: Getty Images)

Counting Terror Deaths20160825

Has 2016 been a particularly bad year for terrorism in Europe?

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

With high profile attacks in Brussels, Nice and Munich, you might think that 2016 has been a particularly bad year for terrorism in Europe. But what happens when you put the numbers in historical context and compare them with figures for the rest of the world?

Also, it is not common for Olympic athletes to discuss their menstrual cycle live on TV. But that’s what happened when Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui admitted she was not at her best because of period pains. It has opened up a whole new conversation about tampons in China - a country where some have never even heard of them.

Plus, why do we love to watch and follow pets on social media? Mike Williams meets the cat at the top of the viral video tree, Grumpy Cat.

(Photo: A man wrapped in a Belgian flag holds a candle at a makeshift memorial on Place de la Bourse. Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

Counting Terror Deaths2016082520160826 (WS)

With high profile attacks in Brussels, Nice and Munich, you might think that 2016 has been a particularly bad year for terrorism in Europe. But what happens when you put the numbers in historical context and compare them with figures for the rest of the world?

Also, it is not common for Olympic athletes to discuss their menstrual cycle live on TV. But that’s what happened when Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui admitted she was not at her best because of period pains. It has opened up a whole new conversation about tampons in China - a country where some have never even heard of them.

Plus, why do we love to watch and follow pets on social media? Mike Williams meets the cat at the top of the viral video tree, Grumpy Cat.

(Photo: A man wrapped in a Belgian flag holds a candle at a makeshift memorial on Place de la Bourse. Credit: Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)

Has 2016 been a particularly bad year for terrorism in Europe?

Creativity And Mental Illness20151119

In More Or Less, are creative people more likely to suffer mental illness, and has Cuba wiped out child hunger? Wesley Stephenson investigates.

BBC Trending reports on the protests by black students against racism in Missouri which have attracted global attention. The head of the university has resigned. But there are now signs that the online campaign has spread to other campuses across the United States as students share their experiences of being ‘Black on Campus.’

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why private tutoring has become so commonplace worldwide. In London it is estimated that 50% of schoolchildren have a tutor at some point. In Hong Kong, that figure is much higher. What impact does tutoring have on education systems around the world? And does it entrench inequality?

Creativity and Mental Illness20151119

More Or Less asks if creative people are more likely to suffer from mental illness

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

In More Or Less, are creative people more likely to suffer mental illness, and has Cuba wiped out child hunger? Wesley Stephenson investigates.

BBC Trending reports on the protests by black students against racism in Missouri which have attracted global attention. The head of the university has resigned. But there are now signs that the online campaign has spread to other campuses across the United States as students share their experiences of being ‘Black on Campus.’

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why private tutoring has become so commonplace worldwide. In London it is estimated that 50% of schoolchildren have a tutor at some point. In Hong Kong, that figure is much higher. What impact does tutoring have on education systems around the world? And does it entrench inequality?

Deadly Tower Block Fires20170629

How rare are deadly tower block fires and are tower blocks safer than houses?

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

Grenfell Tower, a residential block in London, made headlines around the world when at least 79 people died there in a fire while many are still missing. But how unusual are such lethal fires? Are tower blocks really dangerous? Or are they safer than houses?

We investigate some of the fake victim images which appear online in the wake of deadly attacks and disasters. Who are the victims and perpetrators, and why are these images circulated?

Why do foreign migrants yearn to go home and what happens when they do? Some have had no choice, but others are influenced by nostalgia for their early lives. When they go back, can the old country live up to their hopes and dreams? Shivaani Kohok hears emotional tales from those returning to Jamaica, Sierra Leone, India and Ghana.

(Photo: Smoke rises from the 24 story Grenfell Tower in West London. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty images)

Death Penalty Abolition20160901

The story behind the countries that have not executed anyone for 10 years

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

Statistics suggest that officially about half of the countries in the world have abolished Capital Punishment, and a further 52 have stopped its use in practise. But we tell the story behind the numbers and show why the picture is more complicated. We speak to Parvais Jabbar, co-director of the Death Penalty Project.

Also, we delve into the world of viral video trading, speaking to the people who acquire and sell viral footage – some of it entertaining, some of it tragic – as well as the news organisations (the BBC included) that buy it.

And, what does it mean to be an introvert? Anu Anand explores the growing movement which is challenging a seeming bias in favour of the extrovert – for the person who talks first in meetings and makes off-the-cuff remarks and who may shout the loudest to get their ideas heard.

(Photo: Handcuffed hands of a prisoner behind the bars of a prison. Credit: View Apart/Shutterstock)

Death Penalty Abolition2016090120160902 (WS)

The story behind the countries that have not executed anyone for 10 years

Statistics suggest that officially about half of the countries in the world have abolished Capital Punishment, and a further 52 have stopped its use in practise. But we tell the story behind the numbers and show why the picture is more complicated. We speak to Parvais Jabbar, co-director of the Death Penalty Project.

Also, we delve into the world of viral video trading, speaking to the people who acquire and sell viral footage – some of it entertaining, some of it tragic – as well as the news organisations (the BBC included) that buy it.

And, what does it mean to be an introvert? Anu Anand explores the growing movement which is challenging a seeming bias in favour of the extrovert – for the person who talks first in meetings and makes off-the-cuff remarks and who may shout the loudest to get their ideas heard.

(Photo: Handcuffed hands of a prisoner behind the bars of a prison. Credit: View Apart/Shutterstock)

Death Row20150528

Spending life on death row in the US, social media and PTSD, and the Y chromosome

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

Lawyer Bryan Stephenson recently claimed that for every nine people executed in the US, there is one person who has been exonerated. More or Less asks if this is true and how the numbers differ from state to state.

New research suggests watching violent online content could lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder – a serious psychological condition that usually affects those who have experienced violence first hand, like soldiers. BBC Trending weighs up the evidence. And, is what women really want a dad’s bod, or a daddy’s body, which is ‘a nice balance between a beer gut and working out’. Mike Wendling, the proud owner of Dad’s body, tests the theory out on the streets of London.

The Why Factor puts the Y chromosome under the microscope. Jo Fidgen finds out how it transforms a female embryo into a male one, and what it can tell us about the differences between men and women. She speaks to a teenage boy who has not just one Y chromosome, but two, and meets the scientist who turned a female mouse male.

(Photo: Corridor in an abandoned penitentiary. Credit: Shutterstock)

Did Facebook Fuel Hate in Myanmar?20180913

Did Facebook fuel hate in Myanmar by failing to control hate speech against Rohingyas?

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

Facebook’s dream of a more open and connected world has turned into a nightmare in Myanmar. The price of a smartphone SIM card dropped from around $200 to $2, and Facebook quickly became the app of choice, but it failed to control hate speech against Rohingyas and had very few employees who could read Burmese. What, following criticism in a UN report, is it doing now?

Is one particular model of car really the safest on the road in the UK, and how can new technology reduce road accidents round the world?

Have you ever been captivated by a book, full of stories you never knew, revelled in that new knowledge …and then forgotten it all? If the answer is yes, take heart; you are not alone. Sandra Kanthal asks why do we remember some facts easily, and but let others slip away, completely forgetting the things we’ve learned.

Photo: Rohingya refugees pictured in August 2017. Credit: Getty Images

Did Sir Roger Bannister Make The \u2018impossible\u2019 Possible?20180315

A tribute to Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes.

Tim Harford pays tribute to a sporting legend - Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run one mile in less than 4 minutes, who has died at the age of 88. After his record broke the ‘impossible’ psychological barrier, motivational speakers claimed the power of positive thinking soon helped dozens of runners to break the four-minute record, but what are the true figures?

A BBC investigation has found that a fake blog and fake social media accounts were created to support the campaign of the former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in the 2010 election, which she won. As Brazilians look forward to a presidential election later in 2018, Juliana Gragnani reports on her investigation.

Why do segregated groups still exist, especially “men only” clubs? With the current drive towards gender equality and movements such as MeToo and Time’s Up, aren’t such forms of socialising out of date?

(Britain's Roger Bannister (centre) being congratulated by Chris Chataway after setting a new record of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. On the left is Chris Brasher. Photo by Norman Potter / Getty Images)

A tribute to Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes.

Did Sir Roger Bannister Make The \u2018Impossible\u2019 Possible?20180315

A tribute to Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run a mile in under four minutes.

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

Tim Harford pays tribute to a sporting legend - Sir Roger Bannister, the first person to run one mile in less than 4 minutes, who has died at the age of 88. After his record broke the ‘impossible’ psychological barrier, motivational speakers claimed the power of positive thinking soon helped dozens of runners to break the four-minute record, but what are the true figures?

A BBC investigation has found that a fake blog and fake social media accounts were created to support the campaign of the former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in the 2010 election, which she won. As Brazilians look forward to a presidential election later in 2018, Juliana Gragnani reports on her investigation.

Why do segregated groups still exist, especially “men only” clubs? With the current drive towards gender equality and movements such as MeToo and Time’s Up, aren’t such forms of socialising out of date?

(Britain's Roger Bannister (centre) being congratulated by Chris Chataway after setting a new record of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. On the left is Chris Brasher. Photo by Norman Potter / Getty Images)

Diet Coke Habit, 'Milkshake Duck' and Witches20171221

Diet Coke habit, the meaning of \u201cMilkshake Duck\u201d, and denouncing women as witches

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

The New York Times claims that Donald Trump drinks ‘a dozen’ Diet Cokes a day. At 42mg of caffeine per 330ml, what impact, if any, could this have on the President’s health? Jordan Dunbar speaks to experts about the effect caffeine has on your brain and talks to a high profile self-confessed Diet Coke addict in the UK.

"Milkshake Duck" is internet slang for an ordinary person who is briefly cheered, but then swiftly turned upon. We explain why an 11 year old boy and his family are the latest victims of this phenomenon. Also, a BBC Brazil investigation has revealed that an army of so-called social media cyborgs tried to influence the country’s presidential election.

Why have so many women in so many different cultures and eras been denounced as witches? BBC Africa’s Sammy Awami visits a village in his home country of Tanzania where, just four months ago, five women were murdered after being accused of witchcraft. Sammy meets a witch doctor who believes he has met a witch and talks to a local politician who is trying to stop the killings.

(image: Donald Trump enjoying his Diet Coke at a Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, New York. Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Diet Coke Habit, 'milkshake Duck' And Witches20171221

Diet Coke habit, the meaning of “Milkshake Duck”, and denouncing women as witches

The New York Times claims that Donald Trump drinks ‘a dozen’ Diet Cokes a day. At 42mg of caffeine per 330ml, what impact, if any, could this have on the President’s health? Jordan Dunbar speaks to experts about the effect caffeine has on your brain and talks to a high profile self-confessed Diet Coke addict in the UK.

"Milkshake Duck" is internet slang for an ordinary person who is briefly cheered, but then swiftly turned upon. We explain why an 11 year old boy and his family are the latest victims of this phenomenon. Also, a BBC Brazil investigation has revealed that an army of so-called social media cyborgs tried to influence the country’s presidential election.

Why have so many women in so many different cultures and eras been denounced as witches? BBC Africa’s Sammy Awami visits a village in his home country of Tanzania where, just four months ago, five women were murdered after being accused of witchcraft. Sammy meets a witch doctor who believes he has met a witch and talks to a local politician who is trying to stop the killings.

(image: Donald Trump enjoying his Diet Coke at a Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria, New York. Photo Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Does Breast Feeding Increase IQ?20150326

More Or Less asks if it\u2019s true breastfeeding increases babies\u2019 IQ.

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

More Or Less asks if it’s true that breastfeeding increases babies’ IQ. Ruth Alexander and Hannah Moore explore the evidence from a 30 year study that claims breastfed babies become more intelligent, higher earning adults, with Dr Stuart Ritchie of Edinburgh University. BBC Trending investigates the man the Iraquis are calling the Angel of Death: has Abu Azrael really just emerged as a hero from the rubble of Tikrit with several pages on Facebook dedicated to him or is he just part of the online propaganda war alongside ISIS? And there’s a report on the growing trend of “space invasive comedy”. In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why the death penalty persists in more than 50 countries for certain crimes. He talks to a former American prison officer who presided over 33 executions in the state of Ohio and to a former death row prisoner in Nigeria who narrowly escaped the gallows.

Image Source: BBC

Does Eating Chocolate Make Your Brain Younger? Twitter Bot And Crowd Power20171214

Does eating chocolate make your brain younger; how to spot a bot and the power of crowds

Headlines claim that eating chocolate can protect you from developing Alzheimer’s disease. The theory is that bioactives within chocolate called flavanols can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and even make your brain 30 years younger! But isn’t this too good to be true? The BBC’s Head of Statistics, Robert Cuffe, investigates,

How do you detect a Twitter bot? Two students in the United States have invented an online tool aimed at stopping the spread of political propaganda on Twitter. Also, how a goal celebration by the footballer Paul Pogba helped spread a massive online protest against slave auctions in Libya.

Why do we take so much courage from a crowd? At football matches, music festivals and protest marches, people become energised in groups. They can be frightening places when they erupt in violence, or peaceful forms of protest when we try to change social norms. Sandra Kanthal reports.

(Image: Large chunks of chocolate. Credit: Shutterstock)

Does Eating Chocolate Make Your Brain Younger? Twitter Bot and Crowd Power20171214

Does eating chocolate make your brain younger; how to spot a bot and the power of crowds

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

Headlines claim that eating chocolate can protect you from developing Alzheimer’s disease. The theory is that bioactives within chocolate called flavanols can help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and even make your brain 30 years younger! But isn’t this too good to be true? The BBC’s Head of Statistics, Robert Cuffe, investigates,

How do you detect a Twitter bot? Two students in the United States have invented an online tool aimed at stopping the spread of political propaganda on Twitter. Also, how a goal celebration by the footballer Paul Pogba helped spread a massive online protest against slave auctions in Libya.

Why do we take so much courage from a crowd? At football matches, music festivals and protest marches, people become energised in groups. They can be frightening places when they erupt in violence, or peaceful forms of protest when we try to change social norms. Sandra Kanthal reports.

(Image: Large chunks of chocolate. Credit: Shutterstock)

Does Sweden Really Have a Six Hour Day?20170105

Does Sweden really have a six hour day and what drives some people to become vigilantes?

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

Reports that Swedes are reducing the working day to just six hours may have been exaggerated but there have been trials in Sweden to test whether you can shorten people’s working hours without having an effect on output. Tim Harford investigates.

What drives some people to take the law into their own hands? Mike Williams hears stories from Europe, Africa and the US about the men – and it is usually men – who take it upon themselves to patrol the streets or seek out paedophiles online. And, he explores what happens when vigilante groups mutate into monsters. Whether motivated by revenge, frustration or a desire to do good, does mob justice ever work?

One of the most successful and long lasting memes of 2016 was Harambe the gorilla who was shot in a zoo in America. How did this particular animal gain such cultural relevance to the online world?

(Photo: A business man carries a black briefcase)

Drug Deaths in the Philippines20160915

How many people have died in the Philippines during President Duterte\u2019s drug crackdown?

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

How many people have died in the Philippines since the Government encouraged the police to clampdown on the illegal drug trade? The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, went as far as saying that citizens could shoot and kill drug dealers who resisted arrest. The press have reported that many thousands are the victims of extra-judicial killings but exactly how high is the death toll likely to be?

Sightings of suspicious clowns have left a US community in fear. Is the town the victim of a viral elaborate prank, or witnessing an outbreak of mass hysteria?

And why do we find certain types of voices or accents annoying ? Does that irritation reveal more about the speaker or about our own biases and prejudices and are irritating voices the same the world over?

(Photo: A Filipino human rights advocate holds a placard as he joins a demonstration in front of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters, protesting the number of deaths related to government's war against illegal drugs. Credit: European Photopress Agency)

Drug Deaths In The Philippines20160915

How many people have died in the Philippines since the Government encouraged the police to clampdown on the illegal drug trade? The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, went as far as saying that citizens could shoot and kill drug dealers who resisted arrest. The press have reported that many thousands are the victims of extra-judicial killings but exactly how high is the death toll likely to be?

Sightings of suspicious clowns have left a US community in fear. Is the town the victim of a viral elaborate prank, or witnessing an outbreak of mass hysteria?

And why do we find certain types of voices or accents annoying ? Does that irritation reveal more about the speaker or about our own biases and prejudices and are irritating voices the same the world over?

(Photo: A Filipino human rights advocate holds a placard as he joins a demonstration in front of the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters, protesting the number of deaths related to government's war against illegal drugs. Credit: European Photopress Agency)

Dying for Cocaine20161027

How many people die in Colombia\u2019s drugs trade for every kilo of cocaine?

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

The world of Pablo Escobar, one of the world’s most infamous drug traffickers, is dramatised in the Netflix TV drama series Narcos. We find out the truth behind the series’ claim about the number of deaths involved in Colombia’s drug trade.

A taxi driver’s political rant has gone viral in Egypt, prompting a debate about the state of the nation.

And, last year an estimated 119,000 people worldwide received organ transplants but many more are still waiting. Mike Williams talks to a surgeon in the United States, a doctor in Israel whose direct action led to an improvement in donation rates, and a daughter who gave a kidney to her father.

(Image: Posters of Pablo Escobar on a wall saying " Pablo for President". Credit: Getty Images)

Dying For Cocaine2016102720161028 (WS)

The world of Pablo Escobar, one of the world’s most infamous drug traffickers, is dramatised in the Netflix TV drama series Narcos. We find out the truth behind the series’ claim about the number of deaths involved in Colombia’s drug trade.

A taxi driver’s political rant has gone viral in Egypt, prompting a debate about the state of the nation.

And, last year an estimated 119,000 people worldwide received organ transplants but many more are still waiting. Mike Williams talks to a surgeon in the United States, a doctor in Israel whose direct action led to an improvement in donation rates, and a daughter who gave a kidney to her father.

(Image: Posters of Pablo Escobar on a wall saying " Pablo for President". Credit: Getty Images)

E-cigarettes, Why Mexican Police ran away and Why Water is Special20160211

More Or Less checks out a claim that e-cigarettes harm your chances of quitting

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

More Or Less checks out research published last month which claimed to show that e-cigarettes harm your chances of quitting smoking. The paper got coverage world-wide but it has been described as 'grossly misleading' and 'not scientific'. What is wrong with the paper and should it have been published in the first place?

BBC Trending reports on a video showing an assassination in Mexico, which has shocked many in the country, because it shows armed police running away from the scene just beforehand. Why did the police run away? And will the video change anything?
Mukul Devichand also finds out about the man accused of being a ‘rape advocate’. A petition to ban Roosh V from Australia received more than 100,000 signatures. But who is he and why is he so controversial?

In the Why Factor Mike Williams explains why water is exceptional. Water is the only molecule in the natural world which expands when it freezes. It is also the cornerstone of all of life on this planet, and maybe others, and it is part of the myths and rituals of civilisations all over the world.

(Photo: Man smoking e-cigarette. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

E-cigarettes, Why Mexican Police Ran Away And Why Water Is Special20160211

More Or Less checks out research published last month which claimed to show that e-cigarettes harm your chances of quitting smoking. The paper got coverage world-wide but it has been described as 'grossly misleading' and 'not scientific'. What is wrong with the paper and should it have been published in the first place?

BBC Trending reports on a video showing an assassination in Mexico, which has shocked many in the country, because it shows armed police running away from the scene just beforehand. Why did the police run away? And will the video change anything?

Mukul Devichand also finds out about the man accused of being a ‘rape advocate’. A petition to ban Roosh V from Australia received more than 100,000 signatures. But who is he and why is he so controversial?

In the Why Factor Mike Williams explains why water is exceptional. Water is the only molecule in the natural world which expands when it freezes. It is also the cornerstone of all of life on this planet, and maybe others, and it is part of the myths and rituals of civilisations all over the world.

(Photo: Man smoking e-cigarette. Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Economists, Selfies and Holding Your Breath20171019

Exploring the work of economist Richard Thaler

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

Richard Thaler is this year’s recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences. Charlotte McDonald speaks to Tim Harford to get an insight into Thaler’s work and explore the psychological realism of behavioural economics.

The Russian military wants to stop its regular soldiers from posting selfies on social media and an online argument has started between two rival film-makers documenting the life and death of a black transsexual woman. The trending team find out why.

Lucy Ash looks into breath-holding. From those who choose to restrict it to others who do it subconsciously, how does breath-holding affect our bodies and our minds?

(Photo: Prof Richard Thaler standing in front of portraits of previous winners at the University of Chicago: Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Fact Checking the Big Short; The \u2018Bride Price\u2019 Story in China; Conspiracy Theory20160310

Are the facts about unemployment and the death rate in the film the Big Short accurate?

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

More Or Less checks out a fact quoted in the film the Big Short that for every 1% that unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die. But is there any truth in this statistic? It turns out it is a figure that has been around for many decades. Charlotte McDonald explores its origins. And, is it true that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world, as said by many politicians in the debate over whether the UK should leave the European Union?

BBC Trending reports on a story shared on Weibo, about a girl forced to have an abortion when her boyfriend could not pay her family to marry her. It has raised the issue of ‘bride price’ payments in China. And there is news of Ese, a Nigerian girl who was abducted last August, but returned to her family this week thanks in part to a hashtag campaign - #FreeEse.

And, the Why Factor asks why throughout history people have held conspiracy theories which cast doubt on the official narratives of some very serious events - from the Holocaust to 9/11, Diana to JFK, Lockerbie to Sandy Hook. What prompts people to think in this way and how should governments react to the people who doubt them? Mike Williams reports.

(Photo: Conspiracy word cloud concept, with abstract background. Credit: Shutterstock)

Fact Checking The Big Short; The €bride Price’ Story In China; Conspiracy Theory20160310

More Or Less checks out a fact quoted in the film the Big Short that for every 1% that unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die. But is there any truth in this statistic? It turns out it is a figure that has been around for many decades. Charlotte McDonald explores its origins. And, is it true that the UK is the fifth largest economy in the world, as said by many politicians in the debate over whether the UK should leave the European Union?

BBC Trending reports on a story shared on Weibo, about a girl forced to have an abortion when her boyfriend could not pay her family to marry her. It has raised the issue of ‘bride price’ payments in China. And there is news of Ese, a Nigerian girl who was abducted last August, but returned to her family this week thanks in part to a hashtag campaign - #FreeEse.

And, the Why Factor asks why throughout history people have held conspiracy theories which cast doubt on the official narratives of some very serious events - from the Holocaust to 9/11, Diana to JFK, Lockerbie to Sandy Hook. What prompts people to think in this way and how should governments react to the people who doubt them? Mike Williams reports.

(Photo: Conspiracy word cloud concept, with abstract background. Credit: Shutterstock)

Are the facts about unemployment and the death rate in the film the Big Short accurate?

Faking A Trend On Twitter; Women, Oscars And The Bechdel Test; Dinosaurs

How do you fake a trend on Twitter? “Grilled Lamb Delivery” was trending recently – but why would so many people talk about something so routine and mundane?

As it turns out, one of the top trends in Saudi Arabia was being promoted by automated accounts – or “bots”. And it wasn’t an isolated occurrence.This week we find out how companies make it look like lots of real people are talking about a subject online. And what it means for Twitter’s list of top trends.

Are Hollywood films ignoring women? In the 90th year of the Academy Awards we find out how many ‘Best Picture’ winners pass the Bechdel Test: are there at least two named female characters in the cast? Do those two women speak to each other? And do they have a conversation about something other than a man? We reveal the answer in collaboration with the BBC’s 100 Women team.

Why are we so fascinated by dinosaurs and will our love affair with them endure? Mary–Ann Ochota finds out why this reptile beast has become part of our popular culture, as well hooking us into science.

(image: Oscar Winners at the 2017 Academy Awards. Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Faking A Trend On Twitter; Women, Oscars And The Bechdel Test; Dinosaurs20180308

Faking a trend on Twitter; women, the Oscars and the Bechdel Test and a love of dinosaurs

How do you fake a trend on Twitter? “Grilled Lamb Delivery” was trending recently – but why would so many people talk about something so routine and mundane?

As it turns out, one of the top trends in Saudi Arabia was being promoted by automated accounts – or “bots”. And it wasn’t an isolated occurrence.This week we find out how companies make it look like lots of real people are talking about a subject online. And what it means for Twitter’s list of top trends.

Are Hollywood films ignoring women? In the 90th year of the Academy Awards we find out how many ‘Best Picture’ winners pass the Bechdel Test: are there at least two named female characters in the cast? Do those two women speak to each other? And do they have a conversation about something other than a man? We reveal the answer in collaboration with the BBC’s 100 Women team.

Why are we so fascinated by dinosaurs and will our love affair with them endure? Mary–Ann Ochota finds out why this reptile beast has become part of our popular culture, as well hooking us into science.

(image: Oscar Winners at the 2017 Academy Awards. Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Faking a trend on Twitter; women, the Oscars and the Bechdel Test and a love of dinosaurs

How do you fake a trend on Twitter? “Grilled Lamb Delivery” was trending recently – but why would so many people talk about something so routine and mundane?

As it turns out, one of the top trends in Saudi Arabia was being promoted by automated accounts – or “bots”. And it wasn’t an isolated occurrence.This week we find out how companies make it look like lots of real people are talking about a subject online. And what it means for Twitter’s list of top trends.

Are Hollywood films ignoring women? In the 90th year of the Academy Awards we find out how many ‘Best Picture’ winners pass the Bechdel Test: are there at least two named female characters in the cast? Do those two women speak to each other? And do they have a conversation about something other than a man? We reveal the answer in collaboration with the BBC’s 100 Women team.

Why are we so fascinated by dinosaurs and will our love affair with them endure? Mary–Ann Ochota finds out why this reptile beast has become part of our popular culture, as well hooking us into science.

(image: Oscar Winners at the 2017 Academy Awards. Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Faking a Trend on Twitter; Women, Oscars and the Bechdel Test; Dinosaurs20180308

Faking a trend on Twitter; women, the Oscars and the Bechdel Test and a love of dinosaurs

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

How do you fake a trend on Twitter? “Grilled Lamb Delivery” was trending recently – but why would so many people talk about something so routine and mundane?

As it turns out, one of the top trends in Saudi Arabia was being promoted by automated accounts – or “bots”. And it wasn’t an isolated occurrence.This week we find out how companies make it look like lots of real people are talking about a subject online. And what it means for Twitter’s list of top trends.

Are Hollywood films ignoring women? In the 90th year of the Academy Awards we find out how many ‘Best Picture’ winners pass the Bechdel Test: are there at least two named female characters in the cast? Do those two women speak to each other? And do they have a conversation about something other than a man? We reveal the answer in collaboration with the BBC’s 100 Women team.

Why are we so fascinated by dinosaurs and will our love affair with them endure? Mary–Ann Ochota finds out why this reptile beast has become part of our popular culture, as well hooking us into science.

(image: Oscar Winners at the 2017 Academy Awards. Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Football\u2019s Red Card Clich\u00e920151008

More Or Less asks if the football clich\u00e9 is true: \u201cit\u2019s harder to play against 10 men\u201d

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

Football managers and pundits often say “it’s harder to play against 10 men”, but is there any truth in this cliché? More Or Less investigates. Also, Tim Harford speaks to the author Siobhan Roberts about Professor John Conway, who has been described as a genius and one of the world’s most charismatic mathematicians.

BBC Trending reports on medical malpractice in France, revealed after a French woman became concerned about the way her routine gynaecology examination was carried out and her husband asked a simple question about standard procedures on Twitter. The tweet triggered a slew of accusations about malpractice.
We also hear from Emily Bingham, whose Facebook plea for people to stop asking ‘when will you have a baby?’ struck a chord online.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why humans have had the urge to leave their mark from Stone Age caves to the walls of our modern cities. He joins the artists at a Graffiti competition held in London and has a go himself with the spray paint.

(Photo: A hand holding a red card. Credit: Shutterstock)

Football’s Red Card Clich20151008

Football managers and pundits often say “it’s harder to play against 10 men?, but is there any truth in this cliché? More Or Less investigates. Also, Tim Harford speaks to the author Siobhan Roberts about Professor John Conway, who has been described as a genius and one of the world’s most charismatic mathematicians.

BBC Trending reports on medical malpractice in France, revealed after a French woman became concerned about the way her routine gynaecology examination was carried out and her husband asked a simple question about standard procedures on Twitter. The tweet triggered a slew of accusations about malpractice.

We also hear from Emily Bingham, whose Facebook plea for people to stop asking ‘when will you have a baby?’ struck a chord online.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why humans have had the urge to leave their mark from Stone Age caves to the walls of our modern cities. He joins the artists at a Graffiti competition held in London and has a go himself with the spray paint.

(Photo: A hand holding a red card. Credit: Shutterstock)

Foreign Aid: More Harm Than Good?20151022

In More Or Less, Tim Harford interviews Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Angus Deaton about his views on foreign aid and how far he thinks our wealth affects our happiness.

BBC Trending describes how scientists are swapping academic papers in secret - most of the time illegally – using a Twitter hashtag ‘#ICanHazPDF’. We ask the scientist who came up with the idea why thousands of people are using it, and how they justify their actions.

And, this week Salman Rushdie dubbed the internet trolls who back the Indian Prime Minister ‘Modi Toadies’. But who are they and are they a sign of growing intolerance in India?

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why hundreds of millions of people support sports team, even if they are playing on the other side of the world.

(Photo: Angus Deaton listens to a question after winning the Nobel Prize for Economics. Credit: Getty Images)

Foreign Aid: More Harm Than Good?20151022

More Or Less hears this year\u2019s Nobel prize winning economist\u2019s concerns over foreign aid

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

In More Or Less, Tim Harford interviews Nobel Prize winning economist Professor Angus Deaton about his views on foreign aid and how far he thinks our wealth affects our happiness.

BBC Trending describes how scientists are swapping academic papers in secret - most of the time illegally – using a Twitter hashtag ‘#ICanHazPDF’. We ask the scientist who came up with the idea why thousands of people are using it, and how they justify their actions.
And, this week Salman Rushdie dubbed the internet trolls who back the Indian Prime Minister ‘Modi Toadies’. But who are they and are they a sign of growing intolerance in India?

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why hundreds of millions of people support sports team, even if they are playing on the other side of the world.

(Photo: Angus Deaton listens to a question after winning the Nobel Prize for Economics. Credit: Getty Images)

Gender Inbalance in Sweden20160204

Have refugees caused a gender imbalance in Sweden?

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

More Or Less asks if refugees have caused a gender imbalance in Sweden. It has been reported that there are 123 boys for every 100 girls aged between 16 and 17 in Sweden. In China, the ratio is 117 boys to 100 girls. Tim Harford asks if the numbers add up and why this might be.

BBC Trending reports on the support group set up by a Brazilian woman on Whatsapp for mothers with Zika virus. Also, are British Muslim women ‘traditionally submissive?’ Women respond with #traditionallysubmissive online following reported comments by the British prime minister. And, Mukul Devichand reports on the rise of black activism in the United States

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks what motivates people to pretend to be someone they are not. Impersonators, imposters, con-artists and entertainers – people do it for financial gain, to pay tribute to a music icon or simply to raise a laugh. But what happens when people start to believe their fantasy life is real?

(Photo: People hold a 'Refugees Welcome' banner in Stockholm. Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Gender Inbalance In Sweden20160204

More Or Less asks if refugees have caused a gender imbalance in Sweden. It has been reported that there are 123 boys for every 100 girls aged between 16 and 17 in Sweden. In China, the ratio is 117 boys to 100 girls. Tim Harford asks if the numbers add up and why this might be.

BBC Trending reports on the support group set up by a Brazilian woman on Whatsapp for mothers with Zika virus. Also, are British Muslim women ‘traditionally submissive?’ Women respond with #traditionallysubmissive online following reported comments by the British prime minister. And, Mukul Devichand reports on the rise of black activism in the United States

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks what motivates people to pretend to be someone they are not. Impersonators, imposters, con-artists and entertainers – people do it for financial gain, to pay tribute to a music icon or simply to raise a laugh. But what happens when people start to believe their fantasy life is real?

(Photo: People hold a 'Refugees Welcome' banner in Stockholm. Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)

Have refugees caused a gender imbalance in Sweden?

Global Footprint20150618

Do we consume so much that we need more than one planet to sustain our consumption?

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

We are often told that we consume so much that we need one and a half planets. It comes from the Global Footprint Network a think-tank that has pioneered ecological foot-printing but what does that number even mean, and is it helpful? Tim Harford finds out.

Also, the story behind the chocolate experiment designed to deliberately fool the press. Concerned about the amount of pseudo-science surrounding diet and nutrition, John Bohannon and Peter Onneken ran a trial, had the results published and sent out a press release. While the results were correct, the trial was not very robust but this did not stop the story that chocolate made you thinner running in newspapers, magazines and on TV around the world. But was this an ethical way to behave?

In BBC Trending Mukul Devichand asks what happens when you make up war stories and publish them on Twitter. He hears from the man who invented ‘the battle of the cheese bladder’ in Iraq, and fooled supporters of Islamic State and the Shia militia alike. Plus, why one Pakistani man, recently deported from Scotland, generated an army of supporters online. The #DontDeportMajid hashtag was unsuccessful, but can similar campaigns like this ever be effective?

For The Why Factor Lucy Ash wonders what motivates people to draw. Are some people simply more visual than others? And, what do we reveal through our drawings? Is it to make our mark on the world, to decorate our surroundings, or is it a way of communicating with others when words fail us? Stephen Wiltshire, world famous for his incredibly detailed pen and ink cityscapes; David Hockney renowned for his both his traditional draughtsmanship and his enthusiasm for new technology and Lizzie Ellis, who comes from a remote community in central Australia and draws with a stick, are among those explaining what drawing means for them.

(Photo: Earth and Stars. Credit: Shutterstock)

Global Wealth20150129

More Or Less asks who is in the world\u2019s wealthiest \u00e9lite and where do they live?

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

More Or Less, presented by Tim Harford, asks who belongs to the world’s wealthiest one per cent and where do they live? And which are the world’s best and worst board games? Oliver Roeder, a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight, says a statistical analysis can tell us.
Trending continues its series of free speech reports with an interview with the influential anti-corruption blogger, Abraham Mutai, who was arrested in Kenya, there’s news of a disagreement in the Le Pen family in France over the sharing of a controversial video and presenter Mukul Devichand follows the trend for sharing wedding crashing stories by revealing his own.
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at our reasons for flying flags as potent symbols of nationhood, badges of identity and useful signals for ships.

(Photo: World map made of money. Credit: Shutterstock)

Good News on Renewables?20161201

With all the bad news related to the climate, is there actually good news on renewables?

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

With all the bad news related to the climate is there actually some good news? Worldwide renewable capacity has now passed coal capacity for the first time. The story was reported across the world but is it the good news it first appears? What does the term ‘capacity’ actually mean?

This week, a concerned citizen said she had uncovered thousands of Twitter profiles that were publishing and sharing child abuse images . The network was swift to shut the accounts down, but questions remain about disturbing material proliferating on the platform.

And why do cities make us rude? When we are surrounded by people why do we tend to shun them? Why do we refuse to make eye contact or say hello? And, why do tempers flare on busy city streets? We perform the Lost Tourist test to find out just how rude London is.

(Image: Solar panels and wind turbines. Shutterstock)

Gravitational Waves20160121

More Or Less asks if Einstein\u2019s gravitational waves have finally been observed.

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

In More or Less, there is great excitement over rumours that one of the predictions Einstein made in his theory of General Relativity has finally been observed. But it’s not the first time it’s been reported that ‘gravitational waves’ have been discovered, and the last time proved to be an equipment test.

What is the total number of possible tweets that could be created from 140 characters? In a recent programme Professor John Allen-Paulos told us that when you take into account all of the symbols available, the total number of possible tweets is Googol^2.8 (which is a 1 followed by 280 zeros.) But has he missed some options?

In BBC Trending, two stories about rape in South Africa; one about a woman who posted about her experience on Instagram to find people didn’t believe her and another which gripped the nation butwas totally made up. And why are people so upset about a statue of the British colonialist Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University? We hear from the students who want it taken down.

In the Why Factor, Angie Hobbs asks why do we want or need heroes? What constitutes a heroic act? Is it something you set out to do, or something you don’t choose, but live up to when it’s thrust upon you? And why do societies celebrate heroism? Professor Hobbs talks to people who’ve been hailed as heroes: Colonel Tim Collins who gave a much praised eve-of-battle speech to his troops as they were about to enter Iraq in 2003, Justin Oliphant who tackles gang violence in South Africa and Dame Ellen MacArthur who broke the record for solo round the world sailing.

(Image: A photographer looks at the sky at night to see the annual Geminid meteor shower on the Elva Hill, in Maira Valley, near Cuneo, northern Italy on December 12, 2015. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

Gravitational Waves20160121

More Or Less asks if Einstein’s gravitational waves have finally been observed.

In More or Less, there is great excitement over rumours that one of the predictions Einstein made in his theory of General Relativity has finally been observed. But it’s not the first time it’s been reported that ‘gravitational waves’ have been discovered, and the last time proved to be an equipment test.

What is the total number of possible tweets that could be created from 140 characters? In a recent programme Professor John Allen-Paulos told us that when you take into account all of the symbols available, the total number of possible tweets is Googol2.8 (which is a 1 followed by 280 zeros.) But has he missed some options?

In BBC Trending, two stories about rape in South Africa; one about a woman who posted about her experience on Instagram to find people didn’t believe her and another which gripped the nation butwas totally made up. And why are people so upset about a statue of the British colonialist Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University? We hear from the students who want it taken down.

In the Why Factor, Angie Hobbs asks why do we want or need heroes? What constitutes a heroic act? Is it something you set out to do, or something you don’t choose, but live up to when it’s thrust upon you? And why do societies celebrate heroism? Professor Hobbs talks to people who’ve been hailed as heroes: Colonel Tim Collins who gave a much praised eve-of-battle speech to his troops as they were about to enter Iraq in 2003, Justin Oliphant who tackles gang violence in South Africa and Dame Ellen MacArthur who broke the record for solo round the world sailing.

(Image: A photographer looks at the sky at night to see the annual Geminid meteor shower on the Elva Hill, in Maira Valley, near Cuneo, northern Italy on December 12, 2015. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

Hans Rosling - the Extraordinary Life of a Statistical Guru20170216

Hans Rosling - the Extraordinary Life of a Statistical Guru

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

The recent death of the inspirational Swedish statistician Han Rosling has left a hole in the world. Tim Harford and others who met him pay tribute to a master communicator whose captivating presentations on global development were watched by millions. His friend Bill Gates said Hans ‘brought data to life and helped the world see the human progress it often overlooked’.

Is there any substance to NATO’s claims of misinformation against a Russian-funded online news agency with an office in Scotland? Is it just another perspective on news or is it an example of what some call ‘Russia’s state-run propaganda machine’?

Hypochondria: the fear of having a serious, undiagnosed illness. We may mock the hypochondriac, but a constant fear of sickness and death can be a debilitating and distressing condition in itself, with some sufferers even ending up in wheelchairs. So why don’t we take this misunderstood malaise more seriously?

Image: Hans Rosling, Credit: Associated Press

Hans Rosling - The Extraordinary Life Of A Statistical Guru20170216

The recent death of the inspirational Swedish statistician Han Rosling has left a hole in the world. Tim Harford and others who met him pay tribute to a master communicator whose captivating presentations on global development were watched by millions. His friend Bill Gates said Hans ‘brought data to life and helped the world see the human progress it often overlooked’.

Is there any substance to NATO’s claims of misinformation against a Russian-funded online news agency with an office in Scotland? Is it just another perspective on news or is it an example of what some call ‘Russia’s state-run propaganda machine’?

Hypochondria: the fear of having a serious, undiagnosed illness. We may mock the hypochondriac, but a constant fear of sickness and death can be a debilitating and distressing condition in itself, with some sufferers even ending up in wheelchairs. So why don’t we take this misunderstood malaise more seriously?

Image: Hans Rosling, Credit: Associated Press

Hans Rosling - the Extraordinary Life of a Statistical Guru

Has Islamic State Been Losing Territory?20151126

More Or Less asks if Islamic State has been losing territory

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

More Or Less asks if so-called Islamic State has been losing territory. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed IS have lost about 25-30% of their territory in Iraq. Is this true? Plus, is Premier League footballer Héctor Bellerín faster than Usain Bolt? Bellerín can reportedly run 40 metres in 4.41 seconds. Ruth Alexander asks how their times compare.

BBC Trending reports on the Smartphone footage of an Englishman being racially abused in Taiwan which has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube. What does this reveal about attitudes to foreigners? And what lies behind a popular hashtag which claims that India is 'choking' Nepal by stopping fuel and medical supplies getting into the country – claims which the Indian government denies.

And, in the Why Factor, Mike Williams traces the history of the T-shirt from its humble origins as an undergarment to its current status as a tool of the rebel, the protester, the campaigner and the corporate marketeer.

(Photo: A Shiite Hezbollah flag on top of a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State group. Credit: Getty Images)

Has Islamic State Been Losing Territory?20151126

More Or Less asks if so-called Islamic State has been losing territory. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed IS have lost about 25-30% of their territory in Iraq. Is this true? Plus, is Premier League footballer Héctor Bellerín faster than Usain Bolt? Bellerín can reportedly run 40 metres in 4.41 seconds. Ruth Alexander asks how their times compare.

BBC Trending reports on the Smartphone footage of an Englishman being racially abused in Taiwan which has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube. What does this reveal about attitudes to foreigners? And what lies behind a popular hashtag which claims that India is 'choking' Nepal by stopping fuel and medical supplies getting into the country – claims which the Indian government denies.

And, in the Why Factor, Mike Williams traces the history of the T-shirt from its humble origins as an undergarment to its current status as a tool of the rebel, the protester, the campaigner and the corporate marketeer.

(Photo: A Shiite Hezbollah flag on top of a mural depicting the emblem of the Islamic State group. Credit: Getty Images)

More Or Less asks if Islamic State has been losing territory

Have 65% of Future Jobs Not Yet Been Invented?20170601

Have 65% of future jobs not yet been invented? A hunt for the truth behind the statistic.

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

Our entire education system is faulty, some experts claim, as it fails to prepare children for a future world of work in which 65 % of jobs have not yet been invented. We set off on a round-the-world sleuthing trip to trace this statistic that has been causing headaches for students, teachers and politicians alike.

Travelling without male consent: we unpick the case of Dina Ali, the 24-year-old Saudi national whose story triggered a viral hashtag challenging Saudi Arabia’s 'guardianship' rules, which give male guardians control over women. Where is Dina now? And why was the hashtag she inspired so significant?
Why take on a role where lots of people hate you for doing it?

Dotun Adebayo talks to people whose daily life can include verbal and even physical abuse. They include an 18 year old referee in Manchester and electricity workers in Lagos in Nigeria who are regularly beaten up as they disconnect disgruntled customers. And the plus side of doing a thankless job from a debt collector in Jamaica and death row lawyers in Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.

(Photo: Classmates taking part in peer learning. Credit: Shutterstock)

Hidden Figures: The Real Story20170223

Hidden Figures: the real story of how African American women were recruited by NASA.

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

Hidden Figures, the film, tells the little-known story of a group of African American women and their contribution to the space race in the 50s and 60s. We explore the history of how these women were recruited by Nasa and put to work on complex mathematical tasks – at a time when African Americans and women were far less likely to be employed in such jobs.

The Alt.Right in the US is locked in a fierce ideological battle with Antifa - a group of anti-fascists. We investigate online dirty tricks by both sides.
It’s probably something we take for granted and do every day - but why do we smile and what effect does it have on other people?

Scientists say it’s one of our most basic human expressions and it’s easier to smile than to frown. Aasmah Mir explores the power of the smile, how easy it is to fake and what happens when you lose the ability to smile.

(Photo: Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson,in a scene from Hidden Figures. Credit: Hopper Stone/Twentieth Century Fox/AP)

History of \u2018Fake News', Louis Bachelier and Noise20180118

What does the term 'Fake News' mean and is it even useful?

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

The meaning of the term “fake news” has been completely transformed – so what does it mean now, and is the phrase even useful at all?

How Louis Bachelier scooped economists by half a century. A forgotten French mathematician’s unusual approach to the stock market. He anticipated both Einstein's theories and the application of maths to the stock market and his ideas were rediscovered decades after his death.

Why high levels of noise affects all of us. David Baker explores how different sounds can impact on people without them even knowing and how to make our lives more tranquil.

(Photo: Pocket watch. Credit: Kanyapak Lim/Shutterstock)

History Of €fake News'20180118

What does the term 'Fake News' mean and is it even useful?

The meaning of the term “fake news” has been completely transformed – so what does it mean now, and is the phrase even useful at all?

How Louis Bachelier scooped economists by half a century. A forgotten French mathematician’s unusual approach to the stock market. He anticipated both Einstein's theories and the application of maths to the stock market and his ideas were rediscovered decades after his death.

Why high levels of noise affects all of us. David Baker explores how different sounds can impact on people without them even knowing and how to make our lives more tranquil.

(Photo: Pocket watch. Credit: Kanyapak Lim/Shutterstock)

HIV in Africa; Hate Speech; Safe Space20160609

Why a claim that 74 % of African girls aged 15 \u2013 24 are HIV positive is untrue

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

The news aggregation website Zimbabwe Today recently ran a headline stating that 74% of African girls aged 15-24 are HIV positive. Although the statistic is not true, Mary Mahy from UNAIDS reveals that young women do have a higher infection rate than young men.
And Kyle Evans, a folk singing mathematician, performs his competition entry for the international Cheltenham Science festival in England in the studio for More Or Less.

The hashtag 'I stand with hate speech' has been trending in several countries, causing outrage as tens of thousands of people appeared to support online abuse. But the hashtag’s supporters claim they’re simply taking a stand for freedom of expression on the internet. BBC Trending also meets some of the Pakistani women who've been reacting to a recent suggestion that men in the country should be allowed to beat their wives, as long as it's done ‘lightly’.

The university experience is expected to train the minds of students by exposing them to new ideas and challenging their assumptions. Why then, in the English speaking west at least, are some students rebelling against this principle by insisting there are some ideas which are so abhorrent they should not be heard? To them a university should be a safe space. In the Why Factor, Mike Williams tries to discover where the balance lies between freedom of speech and protection from offence.

(Photo: HIV test in Africa. Credit: Polepole-tochan/Getty Images)

Hiv In Africa; Hate Speech; Safe Space2016060920160610 (WS)

Why a claim that 74 % of African girls aged 15 – 24 are HIV positive is untrue

The news aggregation website Zimbabwe Today recently ran a headline stating that 74% of African girls aged 15-24 are HIV positive. Although the statistic is not true, Mary Mahy from UNAIDS reveals that young women do have a higher infection rate than young men.

And Kyle Evans, a folk singing mathematician, performs his competition entry for the international Cheltenham Science festival in England in the studio for More Or Less.

The hashtag 'I stand with hate speech' has been trending in several countries, causing outrage as tens of thousands of people appeared to support online abuse. But the hashtag’s supporters claim they’re simply taking a stand for freedom of expression on the internet. BBC Trending also meets some of the Pakistani women who've been reacting to a recent suggestion that men in the country should be allowed to beat their wives, as long as it's done ‘lightly’.

The university experience is expected to train the minds of students by exposing them to new ideas and challenging their assumptions. Why then, in the English speaking west at least, are some students rebelling against this principle by insisting there are some ideas which are so abhorrent they should not be heard? To them a university should be a safe space. In the Why Factor, Mike Williams tries to discover where the balance lies between freedom of speech and protection from offence.

(Photo: HIV test in Africa. Credit: Polepole-tochan/Getty Images)

Horoscope Health20150625

Can your horoscope predict which diseases you\u2019ll develop? More Or Less takes a close look

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

Can your horoscope predict which diseases you’ll develop? Recent media reports say so – and the claim’s based on a study by scientists from the prestigious Columbia University. More or Less takes a closer look, and hears from its lead author, Dr Nicholas Tatonetti. And is it time to change the maths behind the Duckworth-Lewis method, used to sort out rain affected cricket matches?
BBC Trending hears from a woman in India who discovered that men were sharing videos of rape on WhatsApp, a private chat app. In response, she uploaded the videos to YouTube to ‘shame’ the rapists, but was she right to do so? We ask why the President of Uzbekistan suddenly changed the names of stations in the capital with no prior warning for passengers. And how the ancient art of calligraphy is experiencing a renaissance on social media.
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams braves the heat of the chilli pepper to find out why we eat something that causes us pain and fools our brains with its complex chemistry.

Photo: Zodiac Signs (Credit: Shutterstock)

How Deadly Was 1920s Melbourne?20180405

The real life murder rate in 1920s Melbourne \u2013 has a TV crime series got it right?

Fact and fiction: how does the murder rate within popular crime series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in 1920’s Melbourne, compare with the real life murder rate at that time? We delve into the archives.

After revelations about Facebook and the data firm Cambridge Analytica, there’s been a surge in people talking about privacy and social media. How can you keep your personal information secure?
Plus more on the student gun control movement in America.

Also, to what extent is t true that the order in which we are born in relation to our siblings shapes the way we see ourselves and our place in the world – whether we’re the eldest, the youngest or in the middle? Shivaani Kohok reports.

(Photo: Miss Phryne Fisher [Essie Davis] Credit: Every Cloud Productions/ Ben King)

How Deadly Was 1920s Melbourne?20180405

The real life murder rate in 1920s Melbourne \u2013 has a TV crime series got it right?

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

Fact and fiction: how does the murder rate within popular crime series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in 1920’s Melbourne, compare with the real life murder rate at that time? We delve into the archives.

After revelations about Facebook and the data firm Cambridge Analytica, there’s been a surge in people talking about privacy and social media. How can you keep your personal information secure?
Plus more on the student gun control movement in America.

Also, to what extent is it true that the order in which we are born in relation to our siblings shapes the way we see ourselves and our place in the world – whether we’re the eldest, the youngest or in the middle? Shivaani Kohok reports.

(Photo: Miss Phryne Fisher [Essie Davis] Credit: Every Cloud Productions/ Ben King)

How Deadly Was 1920s Melbourne?20180405

The real life murder rate in 1920s Melbourne \u2013 has a TV crime series got it right?

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

Fact and fiction: how does the murder rate within popular crime series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, set in 1920’s Melbourne, compare with the real life murder rate at that time? We delve into the archives.

After revelations about Facebook and the data firm Cambridge Analytica, there’s been a surge in people talking about privacy and social media. How can you keep your personal information secure?
Plus more on the student gun control movement in America.

Also, to what extent is t true that the order in which we are born in relation to our siblings shapes the way we see ourselves and our place in the world – whether we’re the eldest, the youngest or in the middle? Shivaani Kohok reports.

(Photo: Miss Phryne Fisher [Essie Davis] Credit: Every Cloud Productions/ Ben King)

How is Liberia Dealing with Ebola?20141113

Doctor and statistician Hans Rosling on the latest efforts on tracking Ebola

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

In More or Less
Global health expert and data visionary, Hans Rosling, talks to Tim Harford about the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. Hans has just arrived in Liberia and is working as an independent professor at the Health ministry there, as part of the team tracking and tackling Ebola. We look at the latest numbers surrounding the virus.

In Trending
Brazil
Earlier this week a police officer was shot dead in the Brazilian city of Belem. Within a few hours, messages supposedly from other police officers were being shared on Facebook and Twitter warning people to stay inside in certain neighbourhoods. There were posts on Facebook and Twitter. There was also an audio message being shared on Whatsapp saying that ‘police officers’ would ‘clean’ the area. Later that night, nine people were murdered. We look at the use of chatapps to spread messages to closed networks.

India
There are many countries around the world which will be familiar with a north south divide – where people in the north of country form stereotypes of the south, and vice versa. Well a group of comedians from the southern five states of India have struck a chord with their latest YouTube video, trying to knock down the stereotypes of the region. We speak to the creators about why they decided to write a song about.

Denmark
Chili Klaus, a famous comedian in Denmark, has been making videos of himself eating chilies. For his latest video, he wanted to raise the profile of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, which is facing closure. He challenged them to performing a piece, after eating a chili. We thought someone on the Trending team should take that challenge. Listen to the programme to find out how India Rakusen fares.

In The Why Factor
How we remember the dead, and why does it matter? Mike Williams starts with the promise of so many nations never to forget the death and suffering of the World War One, to explore how the dead have been remembered around the world and through the ages.

(Photo: Hans Rosling at the University Of Oxford and its Smith School Of Enterprise And Environment host ReSource 2012. Credit: Matthew Lloyd/Stringer/Getty)

How long should we sleep20160714

Why sleeping for longer or shorter than average seems to be bad for you

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

It’s often said that we should all be aiming to get eight hours of sleep a night. But could it actually lead you to an early grave? Research shows that sleeping for much longer, or shorter, than the average seven hours is associated with an increased risk of disease and mortality.
Also on the programme, the new Snapchat subculture where millions of people tune in to gory live videos of plastic surgery operations. It’s raised questions about how young women are being advertised to on the app. And as digital news threatens traditional newspapers around the world, why do they survive and what is their future?

(Photo: Man asleep in a bed. Credit: Corbis)

How Long Should We Sleep2016071420160715 (WS)

Why sleeping for longer or shorter than average seems to be bad for you

It’s often said that we should all be aiming to get eight hours of sleep a night. But could it actually lead you to an early grave? Research shows that sleeping for much longer, or shorter, than the average seven hours is associated with an increased risk of disease and mortality.

Also on the programme, the new Snapchat subculture where millions of people tune in to gory live videos of plastic surgery operations. It’s raised questions about how young women are being advertised to on the app. And as digital news threatens traditional newspapers around the world, why do they survive and what is their future?

(Photo: Man asleep in a bed. Credit: Corbis)

How Lucky are Regular Lottery Winners20171207

What are the chances of multiple wins on the Lottery or scrathc cards?

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

Over the last decade journalists in the US have been suspicious of the number of people who seem to have won multiple prizes on scratch cards and the lottery. We hear from a reporter and statistician who poured over data across a number of states to work out the chances of multiple wins.

What happens when Twitter is your favourite platform but the company then suspends or terminates your account? The new Twitter rules meant one ‘black Twitter’ user was banned – along with many of his online friends.

Coming of age rituals, hazing at universities or entrance rites into secretive organisations - initiations are present in every culture around the world. They are often secretive and can involve horrific ordeals, so why do people put up with the pain?

(Photo: A customer purchasing lottery tickets at a store in San Lorenzo, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

How Lucky Are Regular Lottery Winners, €black Twitter’ Users Banned, Initiations20171207

How Lucky Are Regular Lottery Winners, ‘Black Twitter’ Users Banned, and Initiations.

Over the last decade journalists in the US have been suspicious of the number of people who seem to have won multiple prizes on scratch cards and the lottery. We hear from a reporter and statistician who poured over data across a number of states to work out the chances of multiple wins.

What happens when Twitter is your favourite platform but the company then suspends or terminates your account? The new Twitter rules meant one ‘black Twitter’ user was banned – along with many of his online friends.

Coming of age rituals, hazing at universities or entrance rites into secretive organisations - initiations are present in every culture around the world. They are often secretive and can involve horrific ordeals, so why do people put up with the pain?

(Image: A customer purchasing lottery tickets at a store in San Lorenzo, California. Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images).

What are the chances of multiple wins on the Lottery or scrathc cards?

Over the last decade journalists in the US have been suspicious of the number of people who seem to have won multiple prizes on scratch cards and the lottery. We hear from a reporter and statistician who poured over data across a number of states to work out the chances of multiple wins.

What happens when Twitter is your favourite platform but the company then suspends or terminates your account? The new Twitter rules meant one ‘black Twitter’ user was banned – along with many of his online friends.

Coming of age rituals, hazing at universities or entrance rites into secretive organisations - initiations are present in every culture around the world. They are often secretive and can involve horrific ordeals, so why do people put up with the pain?

(Photo: A customer purchasing lottery tickets at a store in San Lorenzo, California. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

How Many is Too Many Bananas?20150917

More Or Less investigates the belief that eating too many bananas will kill you.

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

More Or Less investigates the belief that too many bananas will kill you because you will overdose on potassium. But how many bananas would you need to eat?
Is population density the right measure to be looking at when working out how many refugees countries should take- and if not what is?

BBC Trending reports on a surge in Facebook groups calling on Peruvians to take justice into their own hands, sharing videos showing beatings of alleged criminals. Peru’s Interior Minister calls for an end to vigilantism. And Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour tells Mukul Devichand why the critics of her online video “Dear Fat People”, which attacks the obese, are missing the point of satire.

In the Why Factor Mike Williams looks at our complicated relationship with the space we live in.

(Image: A bunch of bananas)

How Many Is Too Many Bananas?20150917

More Or Less investigates the belief that too many bananas will kill you because you will overdose on potassium. But how many bananas would you need to eat?

Is population density the right measure to be looking at when working out how many refugees countries should take- and if not what is?

BBC Trending reports on a surge in Facebook groups calling on Peruvians to take justice into their own hands, sharing videos showing beatings of alleged criminals. Peru’s Interior Minister calls for an end to vigilantism. And Canadian comedian Nicole Arbour tells Mukul Devichand why the critics of her online video “Dear Fat People?, which attacks the obese, are missing the point of satire.

In the Why Factor Mike Williams looks at our complicated relationship with the space we live in.

(Image: A bunch of bananas)

How Many Stormtroopers Are There?20151224

How many Star Wars\u2019 Stormtroopers are there? More Or Less investigates.

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

Are Star Wars’ Stormtroopers the biggest secret army on Earth? Ruth Alexander investigates for More Or Less , and looks at some of the other numbers behind one of the most successful movie franchises in history.
BBC Trending reports on a viral video showing a mother in China punishing her daughter for allegedly getting bad grades. She dangles her over a fast flowing river while shouting at her. When does discipline cross the line? Why are some Chinese parents so tough on their children? Do ‘tiger mums’ practise the best parenting? Also, an agony aunt who’s using Instagram to dish out relationship advice to her followers in Nigeria explains why she does it this way.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at why we make lists – from shopping lists to wish lists - and what they reveal about our efforts to impose order on a confusing world.

(Image: Stormtroopers at Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere. Credit: PA Wire)

How Many Stormtroopers Are There?20151224

How many Star Wars’ Stormtroopers are there? More Or Less investigates.

Are Star Wars’ Stormtroopers the biggest secret army on Earth? Ruth Alexander investigates for More Or Less , and looks at some of the other numbers behind one of the most successful movie franchises in history.

BBC Trending reports on a viral video showing a mother in China punishing her daughter for allegedly getting bad grades. She dangles her over a fast flowing river while shouting at her. When does discipline cross the line? Why are some Chinese parents so tough on their children? Do ‘tiger mums’ practise the best parenting? Also, an agony aunt who’s using Instagram to dish out relationship advice to her followers in Nigeria explains why she does it this way.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at why we make lists – from shopping lists to wish lists - and what they reveal about our efforts to impose order on a confusing world.

(Image: Stormtroopers at Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere. Credit: PA Wire)

How Not To Test Public Opinion20161208

People took to the streets in India to protest about the government’s decision to withdraw R500 R1,000 notes. But despite the uproar the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has insisted he has the support of the people after a survey, carried out on his very own mobile app, found that the decision was supported by more than 90% of respondents. But he’s been criticised for leading and confusing questions designed to get a particular outcome.

When Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte swept to power in May, many believed social media played a major role in his victory. But some allege his supporters used trolling and intimidation, in addition to clever campaigning, to bolster his position. Since winning, he has waged a war on drugs, leading to allegedly thousands of extra-judicial killings.

And, why don’t we understand how the female orgasm works? After years of scientific research, the male body is understood but when it comes to how women work, we are a long way behind. It appears research has been hindered by the assumption that the female body works in the same way as the male body and that for women, arousal is all in the mind. Researchers are slowly correcting these assumptions and making surprising discoveries.

Image: Protestors burn an effigy of the Prime at a rally in Kolkata. Credit Dibyanshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty

How Not To Test Public Opinion.20161208
How not to test public opinion.20161208

How not to test public opinion, also, President Duterte\u2019s online victory.

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

People took to the streets in India to protest about the government’s decision to withdraw R500 R1,000 notes. But despite the uproar the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has insisted he has the support of the people after a survey, carried out on his very own mobile app, found that the decision was supported by more than 90% of respondents. But he’s been criticised for leading and confusing questions designed to get a particular outcome.

When Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte swept to power in May, many believed social media played a major role in his victory. But some allege his supporters used trolling and intimidation, in addition to clever campaigning, to bolster his position. Since winning, he has waged a war on drugs, leading to allegedly thousands of extra-judicial killings.

And, why don’t we understand how the female orgasm works? After years of scientific research, the male body is understood but when it comes to how women work, we are a long way behind. It appears research has been hindered by the assumption that the female body works in the same way as the male body and that for women, arousal is all in the mind. Researchers are slowly correcting these assumptions and making surprising discoveries.

Image: Protestors burn an effigy of the Prime at a rally in Kolkata. Credit Dibyanshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty

How Reliable is Psychology Science?20151001

More Or Less asks how reliable is psychological science?

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

More Or Less investigates the dismal findings of the recent Reproducibility of Psychological Science project: having replicated 100 psychological studies published in three psychology journals, it found only 36 had significant results compared to 97% first time around. So is there a problem with psychological science and what should be done to fix it?

BBC Trending hears why women around the world are sharing deeply personal stories about having an abortion and publishing their experiences on social media, and also talks to one of those who strongly object to what is being shared. And, the daughter of a Yemeni doctor who tried to tell the world about the war in his country talks about her fears for her father who disappeared over a month ago.

In the Why Factor, why do we love dolls? They are made for children but collected by adults. From the rag dolls of Ancient Egypt to the mass produced plastic fashion dolls of today, what purpose do they serve? Mike Williams looks at the evidence that playing with dolls develops children’s social skills, and hears how a South African doll maker was told ‘black dolls will never sell’ in her country.

(Photo: Conceptual image of a brain. Credit: Shutterstock)

How Reliable Is Psychology Science?20151001

More Or Less investigates the dismal findings of the recent Reproducibility of Psychological Science project: having replicated 100 psychological studies published in three psychology journals, it found only 36 had significant results compared to 97% first time around. So is there a problem with psychological science and what should be done to fix it?

BBC Trending hears why women around the world are sharing deeply personal stories about having an abortion and publishing their experiences on social media, and also talks to one of those who strongly object to what is being shared. And, the daughter of a Yemeni doctor who tried to tell the world about the war in his country talks about her fears for her father who disappeared over a month ago.

In the Why Factor, why do we love dolls? They are made for children but collected by adults. From the rag dolls of Ancient Egypt to the mass produced plastic fashion dolls of today, what purpose do they serve? Mike Williams looks at the evidence that playing with dolls develops children’s social skills, and hears how a South African doll maker was told ‘black dolls will never sell’ in her country.

(Photo: Conceptual image of a brain. Credit: Shutterstock)

How risky is the contraceptive pill?20161215

We look at the numbers behind the scary headlines about birth control.

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

Many of the potential side effects of the pill, such as blood clots, have been well documented since its release in the 1960s. And now, a study has claimed to have established a link between depression and the pill. But perhaps the main risk women face is poorly interpreted statistics.

Gab is a new social network that pits itself as an alternative to Twitter because it puts ‘free speech’ first. Some claim it has become a ‘safe space for the alt-right’ because of some of the users it has attracted. We ask the network’s founder why he felt compelled to create it, and speak with one of its users.

Also, what motivates someone to take revenge and why did this kind of aggressive behaviour evolve? Mike Williams talks to a perpetrator who found it sweet and hears the tragic story of a victim of impossibly cruel revenge.

How Safe is Flying?20150409

Are plane crashes getting more common, and why do people take their own lives?

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

The Germanwings A320 tragedy is the latest in a series of fatal plane crashes to hit the headlines over the past year. More or Less asks whether plane crashes are becoming more common. Plus, is Chelsea Football Club right to complain that it has been awarded too few penalties this season? With Kevin McConway, professor of Applied Statistics at The Open University.

BBC Trending explains how Australian sex workers are using #facesofprostitution to challenge stereotypes about the profession. And, the 'Mirrey' ('My King') phenomenon in Mexico that has sparked a backlash online towards young, elite, Mexicans.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why people take their own lives. He talks to those who have been affected, including Steve Mallen from the UK, who lost his 18-year-old son Edward in February 2015.

How To Measure A Hurricane20170921

, Germany\u2019s new hate speech law and why we need romance.

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

What’s the best way to measure a hurricane? As hurricanes continue to threaten the Caribbean and American East coast, Tim Harford examines the different ways of calculating their respective strengths.

We investigate new German legislation which will force social networks to delete hate speech – or face massive fines. Some support it, and the government is determined to go ahead, but critics say it will restrict free speech.

Red roses, romantic dinners and Valentine's Day might have become the modern expression of romance – but where do its ancient roots lie? And do traditional ideas about romance conflict with today's experience of gender, love and sexuality. Afua Hirsch reports.

(Satellite image showing Hurricane Irma moving towards the Florida Coast on Sept 07 2017. Photo credit NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)

How To Win At Fantasy Football20170831

, Jollof rice wars, and human remains in museums.

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

As the world’s most popular football leagues start up again after the summer break, one listener asks how to figure out the best strategy to become a fantasy football champion. How should you spend that £100m budget?

We focus on the social media scene in war-torn Yemen. What does the recent detention of a prominent political analyst reveal about freedom of speech in the country?
And, the question of which African country makes the best Jollof rice has been causing heated debate online.

Also, Shivaani Kohok explores why storing and displaying human remains in museums has become so contentious.

(photo: Manchester United player Paul Pogba in action. Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Ice Cream Versus Aid20161110

Does the world spend more on ice cream than on humanitarian aid?

‘The world spends three times as much on ice cream as it does on humanitarian aid.’ That’s the claim one listener spotted but is it true? We look at the stats behind the statement and ask whether it’s a useful comparison.

We investigate the rise and rise of fake news online. Deliberately making up news stories to fool or entertain people is nothing new. But the arrival of social media has meant real and fictional stories are now presented in such a similar way, it can be increasingly difficult to tell the two apart. With 60% of US adults now getting some news from their Facebook feed, more and more of us are seeing and believing incorrect information.

Are you sexist, racist or ageist? Even if you think you’re open-minded, the chances are, you’ll be judging people and situations without even realising. These hidden biases – which are different from conscious prejudice – lurk within our minds. And they can affect the way we behave, the decisions we make: whether it’s who we hire, who we promote or even – in the case of jurors – who we believe is guilty or not guilty.

Image: The great British seaside Weston-Super-Mare. Photo Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty

Ice Cream Versus Aid20161110

Does the world spend more on ice cream than on humanitarian aid?

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

‘The world spends three times as much on ice cream as it does on humanitarian aid.’ That’s the claim one listener spotted but is it true? We look at the stats behind the statement and ask whether it’s a useful comparison.
We investigate the rise and rise of fake news online. Deliberately making up news stories to fool or entertain people is nothing new. But the arrival of social media has meant real and fictional stories are now presented in such a similar way, it can be increasingly difficult to tell the two apart. With 60% of US adults now getting some news from their Facebook feed, more and more of us are seeing and believing incorrect information.
Are you sexist, racist or ageist? Even if you think you’re open-minded, the chances are, you’ll be judging people and situations without even realising. These hidden biases – which are different from conscious prejudice – lurk within our minds. And they can affect the way we behave, the decisions we make: whether it’s who we hire, who we promote or even – in the case of jurors – who we believe is guilty or not guilty.

Image: The great British seaside Weston-Super-Mare. Photo Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty

Inside The Dark World Of \u201cIncels\u201d20180517

Inside the dark world of \u201cIncels\u201d, the online subculture of \u201cinvoluntarily celibate\u201d men.

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

Last month, ten people were killed in Toronto after a man drove a van into pedestrians. In a Facebook status before the attack, the suspect referred to an "Incel Rebellion”. "Incel" is short for "involuntarily celibate" and refers to groups of men who feel that they can't enter into sexual relationships. They frequently vent anger against sexually successful men ("Chads") and attractive women ("Stacys"). Incel forums include rants aimed at feminism and women, and some encourage violence. We take a closer look at this dark online subculture.

The story goes that Amsterdam in the 1630s was gripped by a mania for tulip flowers, but then there was a crash in the market. People ended up bankrupt and threw themselves into canals. This story is still being trotted out as a financial market comparison to buying and selling bitcoin. But how much of what we know of the tulip craze is a myth?

Why do people marry themselves? Is self-marriage the last resort for the lonely and self-obsessed? Or could a commitment to self-love be a radical new rite of passage? Mary-Ann Ochota finds out why this emerging phenomenon is so popular amongst women in particular, and why self-marriage can be either a meaningful act of self-love, or the ultimate cosplay, and sometimes both.

(Photo Caption: Alek Minassian, the 25-year-old suspect in the Toronto van attack. Photo Credit: LinkedIn)

Inside The Dark World Of \u201cIncels\u201d20180517

Inside the dark world of \u201cIncels\u201d, the online subculture of \u201cinvoluntarily celibate\u201d men.

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

Last month, ten people were killed in Toronto after a man drove a van into pedestrians. In a Facebook status before the attack, the suspect referred to an "Incel Rebellion”. "Incel" is short for "involuntarily celibate" and refers to groups of men who feel that they can't enter into sexual relationships. They frequently vent anger against sexually successful men ("Chads") and attractive women ("Stacys"). Incel forums include rants aimed at feminism and women, and some encourage violence. We take a closer look at this dark online subculture.

The story goes that Amsterdam in the 1630s was gripped by a mania for tulip flowers, but then there was a crash in the market. People ended up bankrupt and threw themselves into canals. This story is still being trotted out as a financial market comparison to buying and selling bitcoin. But how much of what we know of the tulip craze is a myth?

Why do people marry themselves? Is self-marriage the last resort for the lonely and self-obsessed? Or could a commitment to self-love be a radical new rite of passage? Mary-Ann Ochota finds out why this emerging phenomenon is so popular amongst women in particular, and why self-marriage can be either a meaningful act of self-love, or the ultimate cosplay, and sometimes both.

(Photo Caption: Alek Minassian, the 25-year-old suspect in the Toronto van attack. Photo Credit: LinkedIn)

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

Ireland\u2019s Shock GDP figures20160728

Why Ireland\u2019s GDP figures showing 26 per cent growth in 2015 are hard to believe

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

Official figures showing that Ireland’s economy grew by 26% in 2015 would make it the fastest growing economy in the world. But American economist Paul Krugman says this is “leprechaun economics” as this growth rate is so unrealistically high.

Also in the programme, online streaming services like Periscope and Facebook Live were used to show what was happening during the attempted coup in Turkey and are even being credited with changing the course of events.

And, why are men more violent than women, committing 90% of murders across the world and being more likely to join a gang? Caroline Bayley reports.

(Photo: Riverpoint buildings and Shannon bridge in Limerick, Ireland. Credit: Luis Santos/Shutterstock)

Ireland’s Shock Gdp Figures2016072820160729 (WS)

Why Ireland’s GDP figures showing 26 per cent growth in 2015 are hard to believe

Official figures showing that Ireland’s economy grew by 26% in 2015 would make it the fastest growing economy in the world. But American economist Paul Krugman says this is “leprechaun economics? as this growth rate is so unrealistically high.

Also in the programme, online streaming services like Periscope and Facebook Live were used to show what was happening during the attempted coup in Turkey and are even being credited with changing the course of events.

And, why are men more violent than women, committing 90% of murders across the world and being more likely to join a gang? Caroline Bayley reports.

(Photo: Riverpoint buildings and Shannon bridge in Limerick, Ireland. Credit: Luis Santos/Shutterstock)

Is Democracy Failing in America?20170209

Is democracy failing in America and why has North Carolina been compared with Cuba?

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

In the wake of Donald Trump’s claim that three million people may have voted illegally in last year’s presidential elections, we scrutinise the American electoral system and the work of the Electoral Integrity Project that suggests North Carolina is on a par with Cuba.

A disturbing rumour’s been trending online recently - of a paedophile ring on YouTube. BBC Trending investigates and debunks another internet myth.

In his first TV interview as US President, Donald Trump claimed that torture “absolutely” works and said the US should “fight fire with fire.” But what evidence is there that torture is an effective method of obtaining valuable intelligence? And, can the use of torture ever be justified? Becky Milligan hears from a former interrogator who worked at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a former political prisoner who was tortured in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, and a neuroscientist who has studied the effects of torture on the brain.

(Photo: Americans head to the polls in Charlotte, North Carolina. Credit: Davis Turner/Getty Images)

Is My Baby a Giant?20170518

Is my baby a giant? tracking #MacronLeaks; why be a goth?

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

All over the world parents are given numbers from ‘growth charts’ showing how their baby is developing in comparison to others. Seven month old Baby Arlo’s numbers are so big that his parents are worried he’s one of the biggest babies in America. But where do these numbers come from? Jordan Dunbar reports, and discovers just how big Baby Arlo is.

In the run up to the French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron’s campaign was hit by a huge email hack. We reveal how the news spread on social media from obscure corners of the internet to Twitter and into the mainstream, and we hear from the American far-right activist at the centre of the story.

Why would anyone be a goth? What is the appeal of this dark and spooky subculture that embraces death, pain and sadness? Goths have been attacked, abused and are often misunderstood, but still choose to stand out – dramatically - from the crowd. Catherine Carr finds out why this scene that began in the UK in the late 1970s has spread worldwide, adapted and endured.

(Photo: Arlo Flight at his home in Texas, USA Credit: Tom and Elizabeth Flight)

Is Steph Curry Cheap, and Fake Football News2017071320170716 (WS)

Is Steph Curry cheap, fake football news and what\u2019s in a kiss?

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

The American basketballer Stephen Curry has just signed the biggest contract in NBA history for $200 million over 5 years but amazingly, according to fellow superstar player Lebron James, he’s probably being underpaid. We look at the economics of superstar sports salaries.

Rumours in football and the fake news generated by these rumours are nothing new, but we’ll be looking at the way these stories impact clubs, players and fans.

And what’s in a kiss? Charlotte McDonald examines the biochemistry, psychology, anthropology and history of kissing. Where does it come from and is it innately human?

(Image: NBA Finals: Game Four, Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Is Steph Curry Cheap, and Fake Football News20170713

Is Steph Curry cheap, fake football news and what\u2019s in a kiss?

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

The American basketballer Stephen Curry has just signed the biggest contract in NBA history for $200 million over 5 years but amazingly, according to fellow superstar player Lebron James, he’s probably being underpaid. We look at the economics of superstar sports salaries.

Rumours in football and the fake news generated by these rumours are nothing new, but we’ll be looking at the way these stories impact clubs, players and fans.

And what’s in a kiss? Charlotte McDonald examines the biochemistry, psychology, anthropology and history of kissing. Where does it come from and is it innately human?

(Image: NBA Finals: Game Four, Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Is Strenuous Jogging Bad for You?20150212

More Or Less checks out a claim that keen joggers might be damaging their health

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

In More or Less Tim Harford asks whether claims that keen runners might be damaging their health are really true. Joggers will find comfort from an analysis of the numbers by Alissia White of consulting firm Bazian. And is infidelity among cruise passengers rife? A survey claims that one in five passengers admits to cheating on their partner on a cruise and that in 80 % of those cases, their partner was on board. But a closer look at the story shows that the truth is not nearly so scandalous.

Trending looks at the fashion for posting adverts and videos online that show people with disabilities "overcoming" adversity, along with the caption “Be Inspired”. Some critics have labelled this "inspiration porn" and see it as oversimplifying disability and using it as an emotional hook for non-disabled people. Presenter Mukul Devichand is joined by bloggers Mel Finefrock and Charlie Swinbourne to discuss the issue. Trending also talks to the man behind the anonymous Persian parody Facebook and Twitter account that mocks the teachings and sermons of Iran’s mullahs.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams explores why the seemingly obsolete technology in mechanical watches is still highly desirable and what wearing a luxury watch says about its owner’s desire for a status symbol.

(Photo: Older couple running together outdoors. Credit: Science Photo Library)

Is the US Census Under Threat?20180201

Is the US census under threat? Plus, conspiracy theories on social media, and veganism

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

Is the US census under threat? The United States are due to run their next nationwide census in 2020, but already critics are warning that under funding and a proposed question about citizenship could affect the accuracy of its results.

Some conspiracy theories spread like wildfire online, despite the truth really being out there (and easily searchable) so what makes people continue to share conspiracies on social media?

Why are more and more people giving up all food produced from animals? Mary-Ann Ochota explores the rise in veganism. She looks at how social media is helping spread the vegan message, the pros and cons of a solely plant based diet and whether eating meat today is ethical.

(Photo: Concerned woman holding a clipboard and a pen. Credit: Nicolas McComber/Getty Images)

Is The Us Census Under Threat?20180201

Plus, conspiracy theories on social media, and veganism

Is the US census under threat? The United States are due to run their next nationwide census in 2020, but already critics are warning that under funding and a proposed question about citizenship could affect the accuracy of its results.

Some conspiracy theories spread like wildfire online, despite the truth really being out there (and easily searchable) so what makes people continue to share conspiracies on social media?

Why are more and more people giving up all food produced from animals? Mary-Ann Ochota explores the rise in veganism. She looks at how social media is helping spread the vegan message, the pros and cons of a solely plant based diet and whether eating meat today is ethical.

(Photo: Concerned woman holding a clipboard and a pen. Credit: Nicolas McComber/Getty Images)

Italy's Football Failure, Russia's Blogger for President20171123

Italy's World Cup failure. Plus, Russia\u2019s opposition leader Alexei Navalny

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

Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years will damage more than national pride. It will also carry a big financial cost – one estimate says Fifa stands to lose $100m. Is this really true? Also, we fact check the claim that 45% of Nigerian women marry before their 18th birthday.

For the second in our special series from Russia, we trace how opposition leader Alexei Navalny has used social media to move from writing LiveJournal blogs about corruption to trying to run for president.

Also, how true are beliefs about the differences between the way men and women speak, such as women apologise more and men interrupt more? Catherine Carr speaks to leading linguists, who have studied thousands of conversations and gathered data to find out what’s going on.

(Photo: Alessandro Florenzi of Italy at the end of the Fifa 2018 World Cup Qualifier play-off, 2017. Credit: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Italy's Football Failure, Russia's Blogger For President20171123

Italy's World Cup failure. Plus, Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years will damage more than national pride. It will also carry a big financial cost – one estimate says Fifa stands to lose $100m. Is this really true? Also, we fact check the claim that 45% of Nigerian women marry before their 18th birthday.

For the second in our special series from Russia, we trace how opposition leader Alexei Navalny has used social media to move from writing LiveJournal blogs about corruption to trying to run for president.

Also, how true are beliefs about the differences between the way men and women speak, such as women apologise more and men interrupt more? Catherine Carr speaks to leading linguists, who have studied thousands of conversations and gathered data to find out what’s going on.

(Photo: Alessandro Florenzi of Italy at the end of the Fifa 2018 World Cup Qualifier play-off, 2017. Credit: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

John Nash20150604

The life and work of mathematician John Nash; exam stress in India; denim jeans

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

More or Less looks back at the life of mathematician John Nash, who died in a car crash in May this year. Professor Nash won the Nobel memorial prize in economics in 1994, and was made famous far beyond academia when he was played by Russell Crowe in the film A Beautiful Mind.

BBC Trending talks to the Indian comedian Vir Das, who is using social media to let school students know there is more to life than exam results. The team also explains why Dan Mei, a genre of gay erotic fiction that’s hugely popular among teenage girls, has been banned in Vietnam. Plus, why wearing a miniskirt has become a sign of protest in Tunisia.

In The Why Factor – how did denim become so popular? Mike Williams explores the history and appeal of a simple pair of blue jeans, for everyone from cowboys to the catwalk.

(Photo: John Nash at the Nobel Laureates Beijing Forum 2005 Credit: China Photos/ Getty Images)

Just How Rare Is A Hole-in-one?20180111

How rare is it for golfers to score a hole-in-one? Plus, are people who hear voices sick?

There are golfers who could go an entire lifetime without getting a hole-in-one. Recently the BBC reported a pair of amateur players who each scored one - one after the other. It was reported widely that there was a 1 in 17 million chance of this happening. We speak to maths writer, Rob Eastaway, who explains the difficulties of trying to work out the chances.

Why do people hear voices in their head - like Rachel Waddingham who hears three-year-old Blue, 11-year-old Elfie and a panel of three critical scientists. Around 2% of people claim, like Rachel, to be inhabited by voices with whom they have full blown relationships. Are they all sick? And why have some psychologists changed their minds about the dangers of colluding with the voices?

Social media has become an integral part of modern life - but what if you have been in jail for the last 30 years? Many recently released so-called juvenile lifers in the US now find themselves grappling with the mysteries of Facebook and Whatsapp, and other aspects of new technology.

(Photo: Man playing golf. Credit: Shutterstock)

Just How Rare is a Hole-in-One?20180111

How rare is it for golfers to score a hole-in-one? Plus, are people who hear voices sick?

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

There are golfers who could go an entire lifetime without getting a hole-in-one. Recently the BBC reported a pair of amateur players who each scored one - one after the other. It was reported widely that there was a 1 in 17 million chance of this happening. We speak to maths writer, Rob Eastaway, who explains the difficulties of trying to work out the chances.

Why do people hear voices in their head - like Rachel Waddingham who hears three-year-old Blue, 11-year-old Elfie and a panel of three critical scientists. Around 2% of people claim, like Rachel, to be inhabited by voices with whom they have full blown relationships. Are they all sick? And why have some psychologists changed their minds about the dangers of colluding with the voices?

Social media has become an integral part of modern life - but what if you have been in jail for the last 30 years? Many recently released so-called juvenile lifers in the US now find themselves grappling with the mysteries of Facebook and Whatsapp, and other aspects of new technology.

(Photo: Man playing golf. Credit: Shutterstock)

Kilobyte to Brontobyte, Sexist Double Standards and Staying Put20171012

Kilobyte to brontobyte: naming monster numbers, sexist double standards and staying put.

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

The numbers we need to describe the world around us are getting bigger. Maths author Rob Eastaway explains the names for successive sizes of computer storage space and makes the case for a new giant unit of measurement: the Brontobyte.

Tales of sexist double standards have become a talking point on social media in Pakistan. We delve into this issue through the lens of three viral stories.

Why, when natural disaster is imminent, do some people ignore all warnings to leave and decide to stay put in their homes? Shivaani Kohok investigates.

(Photo: Journalist working on his computer, August 1980, at the Agence France-Presse. Credit: Getty Images)

Kilobyte To Brontobyte, Social Media Review And Habits20171228

Kilobyte to Brontobyte: naming monster numbers, social media review and matters of habit

The numbers we need to describe the world around us are getting bigger. Maths author Rob Eastaway explains the names for successive sizes of computer storage space and makes the case for a new giant unit of measurement: the Brontobyte.

We review recent developments in social media, such as the rise of 4Chan, and look ahead to the changes we can expect to see online in 2018.

And why are we creatures of habit? Doing everyday tasks without thinking frees our brains for more complicated decision making, but what happens when we form habits beyond our control, and how do we form good habits rather than bad ones? Shiulie Ghosh investigates.

(Photo: Journalist working on his computer, August 1980, at the Agence France-Presse. Credit: Getty Images)

Kilobyte to Brontobyte, Social Media Review and Habits20171228

Kilobyte to Brontobyte: naming monster numbers, social media review and matters of habit

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

The numbers we need to describe the world around us are getting bigger. Maths author Rob Eastaway explains the names for successive sizes of computer storage space and makes the case for a new giant unit of measurement: the Brontobyte.

We review recent developments in social media, such as the rise of 4Chan, and look ahead to the changes we can expect to see online in 2018.

And why are we creatures of habit? Doing everyday tasks without thinking frees our brains for more complicated decision making, but what happens when we form habits beyond our control, and how do we form good habits rather than bad ones? Shiulie Ghosh investigates.

(Photo: Journalist working on his computer, August 1980, at the Agence France-Presse. Credit: Getty Images)

Leicester City Football Fluke, The Perfect Promposal, Why We Build Statues2016051220160513 (WS)

How surprising was it that Leicester City finished top of English Premier League?

At the beginning of the season of the English football Premier League, few people would have been brave enough to predict that Leicester City would finish top. But was it that surprising? Tim Harford speaks for More Or Less to Lord Finkelstein, a political journalist, who has been running his own statistical model to assess the teams in the Premier League, and to James Yorke from the football analytics website Stats Bomb.

Promposals (that is, a prom proposal) have been sweeping the internet recently. But there has been a mixed reaction to some of the videos that have gained the most attention in which students ask their disabled friends to the high school dance. A woman who shared her experiences of pre-marital sex in Pakistan talks about trending on Twitter after she claimed the country made her feel repressed when she later moved to Canada. Plus, an update on the young Afghani who became an internet sensation after he was photographed wearing a Lionel Messi football shirt made from a plastic bag.

For thousands of years and across almost every culture, mankind has erected statues. For some they pay homage to gods, for others they are attempts at immortalising man. Their toppling has become a symbol of regime change. For the Why Factor, Lucy Ash investigates this unique art form that has seemingly never gone out of vogue.

(Photo: Leicester City celebrate with the trophy after winning the Barclays Premier League. Credt: Action Images via Reuters)

Leicester City Football Fluke, The Perfect Promposal, Why We Build Statues20160512

How surprising was it that Leicester City finished top of English Premier League?

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

At the beginning of the season of the English football Premier League, few people would have been brave enough to predict that Leicester City would finish top. But was it that surprising? Tim Harford speaks for More Or Less to Lord Finkelstein, a political journalist, who has been running his own statistical model to assess the teams in the Premier League, and to James Yorke from the football analytics website Stats Bomb.

Promposals (that is, a prom proposal) have been sweeping the internet recently. But there has been a mixed reaction to some of the videos that have gained the most attention in which students ask their disabled friends to the high school dance. A woman who shared her experiences of pre-marital sex in Pakistan talks about trending on Twitter after she claimed the country made her feel repressed when she later moved to Canada. Plus, an update on the young Afghani who became an internet sensation after he was photographed wearing a Lionel Messi football shirt made from a plastic bag.

For thousands of years and across almost every culture, mankind has erected statues. For some they pay homage to gods, for others they are attempts at immortalising man. Their toppling has become a symbol of regime change. For the Why Factor, Lucy Ash investigates this unique art form that has seemingly never gone out of vogue.

(Photo: Leicester City celebrate with the trophy after winning the Barclays Premier League. Credt: Action Images via Reuters)

Liberia\u2019s Rape Statistic Debunked20161117

Is the claim that three out of four women were raped during Liberia's civil war true?

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

Sexual violence was widespread in Liberia’s brutal and bloody year civil war. But were three quarters of women in the country raped? We tell the story behind the number and reveal how well-meaning efforts to expose what happened have fuelled myths and misleading statistics.

Following an attempted coup earlier this year, the Turkish government has closed more than 150 news outlets. We meet one of the journalists defying the closures, by creating a new Periscope channel to live stream news from the country.

Also, why do some people feel driven to acquire and keep an excessive number of objects in their home to the point where moving around it is almost impossible, and how can hoarding disorders be cured?

(Photo: Liberian women and children wait for rice rations in overcrowded Monrovia, June 2003. Credit: Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images)

Life After Life for US Ex-Prisoners20180524

Preparing Long Term Prisoners for High-Tech Life After Jail in the United States

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

Ex-prisoners in the US are struggling to cope with the online world after years in jail.

We hear from recently released so-called juvenile lifers who find themselves grappling with social media and other aspects of life online. The prison authorities and family members have had to ease them into it – with mixed results.

If you’re 6’8” in the US – what are your chances of playing professional basketball? Tim Harford looks at the likelihood that former FBI Director James Comey – or any very tall person - might have made it as a pro in the NBA. He speaks to data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz who has crunched the numbers on height, class and race to find out who is more likely to make it as a basketball superstar.

The transhumanist movement believes that science is close to finding a cure for aging and that within decades we will have beaten death. Chloe Hadjimatheou asks why some people chase immortality and what exactly are the lengths they will go to.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Life As A Youtube Child Star20180809

\u2013 how fame and money can come with online abuse.

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

What’s it like to be a young YouTube star? Siblings Jaadin and Arabella Daho's lives have significantly changed since they went viral on YouTube in 2015. At just 10 and 11 years old their videos racked up 17 million views. But along with the money and fame has come abuse, both online and off. How has YouTube stardom affected these teenagers and their family?
Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar? We look into this claim to see whether the simple spud is hiding a sweet secret.

Why do so many of us love boats? Lesley Curwen, a proud owner of a yacht, finds out how our love affair with the boat can be a deep, passionate attachment and how in some cultures boats are seen as living things and the best place to create memories far from the busy world of dry land.

(Photo: Jaadin and Arabella Daho shooting one of their YouTube videos. BBC Copyright)

Life As A YouTube Child Star20180809

Life as a YouTube child star \u2013 how fame and money can come with online abuse.

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

What’s it like to be a young YouTube star? Siblings Jaadin and Arabella Daho's lives have significantly changed since they went viral on YouTube in 2015. At just 10 and 11 years old their videos racked up 17 million views. But along with the money and fame has come abuse, both online and off. How has YouTube stardom affected these teenagers and their family?
Does a baked potato contain the equivalent of 19 cubes of sugar? We look into this claim to see whether the simple spud is hiding a sweet secret.

Why do so many of us love boats? Lesley Curwen, a proud owner of a yacht, finds out how our love affair with the boat can be a deep, passionate attachment and how in some cultures boats are seen as living things and the best place to create memories far from the busy world of dry land.

(Photo: Jaadin and Arabella Daho shooting one of their YouTube videos. BBC Copyright)

Live 8 the G8 and Making Poverty History20150723

How have the poorest countries have fared in the decade since the Gleneagles agreement?

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

It is ten years since some of the world’s richest nations agreed in Gleneagles, Scotland, to improve trade with developing nations, increase aid, and to wipe the debt of some of the poorest countries. The agreement followed Live 8’s Make Poverty History. Wesley Stephenson and the More or Less team look at what has been achieved.

BBC Trending finds out why the arrest of two men from the ethnic Malay majority for allegedly stealing a mobile phone triggered what some are calling a ‘riot’ in Kuala Lumpur, fuelled by a furore on social media. We also hear how a semicolon is being used as a symbol of support for those dealing with mental health issues, and look into the role of amateur mental health advice blogs. Ged Flynn, from suicide prevention charity Papyrus, discusses the pros and cons of sites run by untrained volunteers.

In the Why Factor, the writer and Olympian Matthew Syed recalls how he blew it big time at the Sydney 2000 games. Despite being a GB medal prospect in table tennis, he was thrashed by an opponent he had beaten many times before. He choked. Ever since, he has been keen to understand why sometimes the brain robs an individual of their ability at the vital moment.

(Image: Fans at Live Earth Sydney. Credit: Getty Images)

Liver Transplant20150423

More Or Less looks at the statistics of waiting for liver transplants

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

More Or Less looks at the statistics of waiting for a liver transplant after a 21-year-old listener asks if he should wait for an organ from a deceased donor or accept the offer from his older brother to act as a living donor. And, how worrying are the figures for children going missing? Does a recent big-scale research project in the USA give a clear picture? Hannah Moore and Ruth Alexander hear from professor David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Centre at the University of New Hampshire.

BBC Trending looks at sari stories trending in India following a pact by two friends to wear the traditional sari for 100 days. And, what is the impact on social media feeds of the so-called filter bubble and what does it have to do with the UK election? Data scientist Gilad Lotan explains.

From clowns to tight-rope walkers, fire-eaters to elephant trainers, the circus has been around for centuries. For The Why Factor Mike Williams explores its origins and asks why it still appeals to adults and children around the world. He also tries his hand at the flying trapeze.

(Photo: A box for transporting human organs. Credit: Getty Images)

London's High-rise Death Toll20170907

London's high-rise death toll, Hurricane Harvey\u2019s fake news, and complicated technology

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

Establishing the death toll in the fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential block in West London, has proved to be unexpectedly difficult. Commander Stuart Cundy, who oversaw the Metropolitan police operation following the fire, tells Tim Harford why it is has been so challenging.

Hurricane Harvey brought devastating floods to large areas of Texas; and in its wake came a flurry of fake news, much of which went viral - including a picture of a shark on a highway and reports of mass looting. And there’s growing concern in the Gulf States where an illegal market for employing domestic servants is using social media to circumvent the law.

Also, why does new technology often feel so complicated? Kate Lamble asks if stupidity on the users’ part or poor design is to blame? Or is it part of our natural psychological response to artificial devices?

Making Penalty Shoot-outs Fairer20170706

Making penalty shoot-outs fairer; a teenager\u2019s murder in India, and why choose polygamy?

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

UEFA, European football's governing body, is currently trialling a new system for penalty shoot-outs that is based on mathematical research. Currently 60% of penalty shoot-outs are won by the team going first, so can this unfairness be overcome?

The death of a teenager in India at the hands of a mob led to an online campaign, which within days sparked a trending hashtag and worldwide street protests. We pick apart the #NotInMyName campaign.

And when many people struggle to maintain one relationship, why do some people enter into multiple simultaneous marriages? Lucy Ash speaks to polygamists around the world to find out why they were drawn to these complex relationships and what impact they have on the people involved.

(Photo: Various numbers. Credit: Shutterstock)

Measuring World Health20150319

More Or Less finds out how difficult it is to measure world health.

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

Babies born in Rwanda are likely to live healthier lives than those in the most deprived 10 % of England, according to recent reports. But how does the data back this up? In More or Less, Hannah Moore and Wesley Stephenson explore how “good health” is measured across the world with Professor David Gordon from Bristol University’s International Poverty Research Centre.
BBC Trending, presented by Mukul Devichand, finds out who is behind a series of leaks of alleged secrets about the royal family in Saudi Arabia, it hears from an anthropologist in El Salvador about the alleged sexual abuse of schoolgirls by their Principal, and there’s news of the latest fashion for “musicless music videos” with Mario Wienerroither, an Austrian Sound Designer. And in the Why Factor, Jo Fidgen asks why we forget and why memory is so important to us. She talks to a neuroscientist seeking to unlock the reasons for why we remember things.

Memorable Number of the Year20150108

In More or Less, Tim Harford hears Robert Peston\u2019s most important number in the world

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

In More Or Less, Tim Harford hears BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston’s most important number in the world and he asks the international editor of The Economist Helen Joyce and Dr Hannah Fry of the University of London to choose their most memorable numbers from 2014.

In Trending, we take a look at where people are having social media discussions, we interview David Karp, the founder and CEO of Tumblr, a micro-blogging site with more than 200 million blogs, and ask if people are moving from public social networks like Twitter to more private platforms such as chat apps? The BBC’s app editor Trushar Barot tells us why different platforms are popular. And, we speak to model and actress Lily Cole who has spent the past year setting up an online community that can share and help people out. Called Impossible, the website is being used in around 70 countries.

Why has the moon fascinated humans everywhere and for all time? In The Why Factor, Mike Williams explores the moon in culture, how it affects life on Earth and he asks Alan Bean, one of the handful of people who have walked on it, what the moon is really like.

Menstrual Syncing20160908

Is it true that women who spend time together end up menstruating together?

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

It is a commonly held belief that if women spend enough time together, their bodies start to communicate through chemical signals, known as pheromones. Eventually the women’s bodies will start to menstruate at the same time. But where does this idea come from? And is it really true?

Happy couples in Shanghai have been rushing to get divorced because of rumours of a rule change that would make it more expensive for them to buy property.

And what makes one voice trustworthy and another not? Mike Williams hears from a voice coach about how we can adapt our voices to persuade or deceive.

(Photo: Two women. Credit: Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

Menstrual Syncing2016090820160909 (WS)

It is a commonly held belief that if women spend enough time together, their bodies start to communicate through chemical signals, known as pheromones. Eventually the women’s bodies will start to menstruate at the same time. But where does this idea come from? And is it really true?

Happy couples in Shanghai have been rushing to get divorced because of rumours of a rule change that would make it more expensive for them to buy property.

And what makes one voice trustworthy and another not? Mike Williams hears from a voice coach about how we can adapt our voices to persuade or deceive.

(Photo: Two women. Credit: Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

Is it true that women who spend time together end up menstruating together?

Mexico's Fake News Problem20180531

Bots and cyber trolls are accused in Mexico of influencing voters ahead of elections.

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

Political parties in Mexico are being accused of using bots to influence voter behaviour before the upcoming presidential election. Who’s behind online propaganda in the country and what are the new groups trying to fight the spread of fake news ?

We tackle some of our listeners’ questions from Australia: do one in seven businessmen throw out their pants after wearing them once? This is a claim made by an expert talking about clothes waste – but what does it come from? Do horses kill more people than venomous animals? And how many Australians have used cannabis – is it as many as is claimed?

Why do we have such a close and complex relationship with dogs? Whether you love or hate them, it’s undeniable that they're special to us. Mary-Ann Ochota delves into the emotion, science and history that sets them apart.

(Photo: Automated accounts boosted the 2012 presidential campaign of Enrique Pena Nieto. Credit: Getty Images)

Millennium Development Goals2015070920150712 (WS)

More Or Less asks how well we\u2019ve done in reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

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

Fifteen years ago at the Millennium Summit the United Nations set eight goals for addressing extreme poverty which became known as the Millennium Development Goals. A deadline of 2015 was set to achieve what the UN said were “quantified target”. More Or Less asks how well we’ve done and finds in many cases progress is very difficult to quantify and in some areas may not be all it seems.
BBC Trending hears from Florence Warmate and her book club friends in Abuja. Inspired by the Nigerian writer Chimamandra Ngozi Adichie, they sparked a global conversation about everyday sexism. What happened to the HIV positive man who stood in a park in Finland with his eyes closed and asked passers-by if they dared to touch him? And how journalists in Burundi are risking their lives to produce news reports and post them on social media in the midst of a government imposed media blackout.
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why we still like to use notes and coins despite the increasing popularity of cashless transactions.

Photo: Anti-poverty activists display a protest message pasted on dining plates at a park in Manila, 2007. Credit: Luis Liwanag/AFP/Getty Images

Millennium Development Goals20150709

More Or Less asks how well we\u2019ve done in reaching the Millennium Development Goals.

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

Fifteen years ago at the Millennium Summit the United Nations set eight goals for addressing extreme poverty which became known as the Millennium Development Goals. A deadline of 2015 was set to achieve what the UN said were “quantified target”. More Or Less asks how well we’ve done and finds in many cases progress is very difficult to quantify and in some areas may not be all it seems.
BBC Trending hears from Florence Warmate and her book club friends in Abuja. Inspired by the Nigerian writer Chimamandra Ngozi Adichie, they sparked a global conversation about everyday sexism. What happened to the HIV positive man who stood in a park in Finland with his eyes closed and asked passers-by if they dared to touch him? And how journalists in Burundi are risking their lives to produce news reports and post them on social media in the midst of a government imposed media blackout.
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why we still like to use notes and coins despite the increasing popularity of cashless transactions.

Photo: Anti-poverty activists display a protest message pasted on dining plates at a park in Manila, 2007. Credit: Luis Liwanag/AFP/Getty Images

More Boys than Girls in Sweden?20170803

Reports suggest there could be 123 boys for every 100 girls age 16-17 in Sweden

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

Last year it was reported that there could soon be up to 123 boys aged 16 to 17 for every 100 girls the same age in Sweden. This disparity was thought to be caused by an influx of teenage boys claiming asylum in the country. We look at whether age testing of asylum seekers has had an impact and skewed the sex ratio in Sweden.

China's Livestreaming: The Super Fan: BBC Trending brings you the second half of a strange love story involving one of China's most well-known live streamers, and a fan who pays to watch her live stream every single day. Last week we introduced you to Lele Tao, a well-known live streamer in China. This week we meet Shage, who is a devoted fan of Lele's and witness their first ever face-to-face interaction.

Every country in the world has at least one Sign Language. Each is a complete communication system with its own grammar, lexicon and structure and has evolved over centuries, just like their verbal counterparts. Although many have legal status under disability legislation, only four have been given the status of a recognised official language. But not everyone who is deaf uses sign language, and not everyone who uses sign language is deaf. Some deaf rights campaigners say that Sign language is a signifier of belonging to a Deaf community, with a rich cultural legacy. But does the choice to use hearing aids and cochlear implants to help use verbal language really mean a rejection of deaf culture and a deaf identity?

(image: teenagers enjoying themselves outdoors. Credit: Shutterstock)

More Horses than Tanks?20170914

More horses than tanks, the fake war photographer and why do we ask \u2018What do you do\u2019?

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

Is the UK the only country with more horses than tanks in its army? And what does the number of tanks say about a country’s capacity to fight?

On the face of it, Eduardo Martins had an inspiring story as a young, conscientious photographer working in conflict zones. His images were used on a number of reputable news sites, and his Instagram following reached into the tens of thousands. But a BBC Brasil investigation has revealed Martins to be a fake identity. Martins – whoever he really is – took another man's self-portraits and passed them off as his own, and stole the work of a real war photographer.

When we meet someone and ask them what do you do – what are we really hoping to find out about that person? David Baker explores how much emphasis we place on our jobs as part of our identity.

(image: Members of the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Wellington Barracks in London. Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty images)

More plastic than fish; Sexual harassment in Iran; Why we like what we like20160218

More Or Less asks if it\u2019s true that soon there will be more plastic than fish in the sea

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

More Or Less investigates recent reports that there will more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. The report comes from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But there's something fishy about these figures. And what are the chances that as a parent you share your birthday with two of your children?

BBC Trending reports on allegations by a news reader at Press TV in Iran that she suffered sexual harassment for two years from her managers. Her revelations are emboldening Iranian women to share their own experiences, breaking their silence in a country where sexual harassment is traditionally not acknowledged. A mother tells BBC Trending how she succeeded in removing a cruel meme mocking her four year old son who suffers from Pfeiffer Syndrome which can affect cranial and facial features. And there’s news of the online debate sparked by Beyonce’s performance invoking the black rights struggle at the Superbowl in the US.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why we like the things that we like. At the root of our feelings of pleasure is dopamine, a chemical produced by the nerve cells in the brain, which can be triggered by some obvious and not so obvious things.

(Photo of waste plastic strewn on the Bao beach, near Dakar. Credit to: SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

More Plastic Than Fish; Sexual Harassment In Iran; Why We Like What We Like20160218

More Or Less investigates recent reports that there will more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. The report comes from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. But there's something fishy about these figures. And what are the chances that as a parent you share your birthday with two of your children?

BBC Trending reports on allegations by a news reader at Press TV in Iran that she suffered sexual harassment for two years from her managers. Her revelations are emboldening Iranian women to share their own experiences, breaking their silence in a country where sexual harassment is traditionally not acknowledged. A mother tells BBC Trending how she succeeded in removing a cruel meme mocking her four year old son who suffers from Pfeiffer Syndrome which can affect cranial and facial features. And there’s news of the online debate sparked by Beyonce’s performance invoking the black rights struggle at the Superbowl in the US.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why we like the things that we like. At the root of our feelings of pleasure is dopamine, a chemical produced by the nerve cells in the brain, which can be triggered by some obvious and not so obvious things.

(Photo of waste plastic strewn on the Bao beach, near Dakar. Credit to: SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

More Or Less asks if it’s true that soon there will be more plastic than fish in the sea

Most Expensive Building, Don\u2019t Buy Death, How America Sees Itself20160428

Will a new nuclear power station in the UK be the most expensive 'object' ever built?

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

What is the most expensive 'object' ever built? There are plans in the UK to build a brand new nuclear power station called Hinckley Point C. The environmental charity Greenpeace has claimed it is set to be the most expensive object on Earth. But could it really cost more to build than the Great Pyramid of Giza? More Or Less takes a look at some of the most costly building projects on the planet.

Why are Somalis using a hashtag to try and persuade young people not to make the dangerous journey to Europe? #DhimashoHaGadan, which translates as “Don’t buy death”, aims to counteract the positive and sometimes misleading pictures many emigrants post to social media. Students in South Africa are publishing the names of alleged rapists online. They say it is to make people take sexual assault seriously, but others have accused them of mob justice. Also in BBC Trending, how three Indian students are using Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe to make a point about overbearing mothers-in-law.

And what are notions of national identity and how do they arise? Mike Williams travels around the United States of America for the Why Factor to find out how Americans see themselves.

(Credit: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

Most Expensive Building, Don’t Buy Death, How America Sees Itself2016042820160429 (WS)

Will a new nuclear power station in the UK be the most expensive 'object' ever built?

What is the most expensive 'object' ever built? There are plans in the UK to build a brand new nuclear power station called Hinckley Point C. The environmental charity Greenpeace has claimed it is set to be the most expensive object on Earth. But could it really cost more to build than the Great Pyramid of Giza? More Or Less takes a look at some of the most costly building projects on the planet.

Why are Somalis using a hashtag to try and persuade young people not to make the dangerous journey to Europe? #DhimashoHaGadan, which translates as “Don’t buy death?, aims to counteract the positive and sometimes misleading pictures many emigrants post to social media. Students in South Africa are publishing the names of alleged rapists online. They say it is to make people take sexual assault seriously, but others have accused them of mob justice. Also in BBC Trending, how three Indian students are using Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe to make a point about overbearing mothers-in-law.

And what are notions of national identity and how do they arise? Mike Williams travels around the United States of America for the Why Factor to find out how Americans see themselves.

(Credit: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Darcy\u2019s Wealth20171130

How rich is Mr Darcy, the male love interest in Pride and Prejudice?

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

Mr Darcy, the male love interest in Jane Austen’s 19th Century English novel Pride and Prejudice is supposed to be fabulously wealthy on an income of £10,000 a year, but two hundred years later, it’s not clear how rich he really is. As Tim Harford discovers, you need to do more than adjust the amount for inflation.

A BBC Trending investigation finds that part of YouTube's system for reporting sexualised comments left on children's videos has not been functioning correctly for more than a year, according to volunteer moderators inside YouTube’s “Trusted Flagger” programme.

What can we learn about politics from the power struggles within chimpanzee groups? Professor James Tilley explores the parallels between our political world and that of other primates.

(Photo: Colin Firth as Mr Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice 1995)

Mr Darcy’s Wealth20171130

How rich is Mr Darcy, the male love interest in Pride and Prejudice?

Mr Darcy, the male love interest in Jane Austin’s nineteenth century English novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is supposed to be fabulously wealthy on an income of £10,000 a year, but two hundred years later, it’s not clear how rich he really is. As Tim Harford discovers, you need to do more than adjust the amount for inflation.

A BBC Trending investigation finds that part of YouTube's system for reporting sexualised comments left on children's videos has not been functioning correctly for more than a year, according to volunteer moderators inside YouTube’s “Trusted Flagger” programme.

What can we learn about politics from the power struggles within chimpanzee groups? Professor James Tilley explores the parallels between our political world and that of other primates.

(Photo: Colin Firth as Mr Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice 1995)

Murder Rates in London and New York20180412

Comparing murder rates in London and New York \u2013 is London now more deadly?

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

London’s murder rate is on the rise – and for the first time ever it has just overtaken New York’s, according to a number of media outlets. But is it true, and is it appropriate to compare between the two cities?

North Korea has strict regulations about what types of information can be accessed by citizens inside the country, so why is it allowing overseas photographers to set up YouTube channels about some aspects of everyday life there? Plus, why is the internet being cut off again and again in the disputed north Indian state of Kashmir?

According to one expert, a majority of restaurants fail in their first year. So why do so many people dream of opening a restaurant when the odds are stacked against them? Mary-Ann Ochota reports.

(Photo: Police officers inspect the scene of a knife attack in London. Credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Neo-nazi Hate Music20180322

We discover huge inconsistencies in how YouTube deals with neo-Nazi hate music.

A BBC Trending investigation has found huge inconsistencies in how YouTube deals with neo-Nazi hate music. These are songs - many from punk and hardcore bands active in the 80s and 90s – which have found a new life in online videos, using extreme violent language and imagery to advocate murder and violence against minority groups.

Whenever Donald Trump talks about trade, he points to the US trade balance, claiming America has a trade deficit with almost every country in the world. We unpick whether President Trump is quoting the correct numbers, and hear how trade figures can vary widely between countries, depending on how they do the counting.

Laziness, slothfulness, idleness and apathy are used as criticisms and insults against individuals, groups and sometimes whole countries. But why? The Greeks saw laziness as a virtue and something to be sought after whereas today we look down on being unproductive. Catherine Carr asks if we should keep ourselves constantly busy or feel less guilty about doing nothing.

(Photo: A screen grab from a neo-Nazi music video on YouTube. / Credit: YouTube)

Neo-Nazi Hate Music20180322

We discover huge inconsistencies in how YouTube deals with neo-Nazi hate music.

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

A BBC Trending investigation has found huge inconsistencies in how YouTube deals with neo-Nazi hate music. These are songs - many from punk and hardcore bands active in the 80s and 90s – which have found a new life in online videos, using extreme violent language and imagery to advocate murder and violence against minority groups.

Whenever Donald Trump talks about trade, he points to the US trade balance, claiming America has a trade deficit with almost every country in the world. We unpick whether President Trump is quoting the correct numbers, and hear how trade figures can vary widely between countries, depending on how they do the counting.

Laziness, slothfulness, idleness and apathy are used as criticisms and insults against individuals, groups and sometimes whole countries. But why? The Greeks saw laziness as a virtue and something to be sought after whereas today we look down on being unproductive. Catherine Carr asks if we should keep ourselves constantly busy or feel less guilty about doing nothing.

(Photo: A screen grab from a neo-Nazi music video on YouTube. / Credit: YouTube)

Nigerian Lawmakers, 'calexit' Hashtag, Dark Tourism20171109

Do Nigerian Lawmakers get $1.7m, Who Pushed the 'Calexit' Hashtag, and Dark Tourism

Two statistics from Nigeria: do lawmakers really get paid $1.7 m – much more than the American President and does eating yams give Yoruba communities a record number of twins? We talk to the fact checkers at Africa Check.

We investigate connections between Moscow and “Calexit” groups that want to break up the United States. Also, the list of "sexual predator" professors that has sparked an online debate in India.

Millions of people every year visit sites of death, tragedy and destruction, from nuclear disaster zones to genocide memorials. Is it an effort to understand the darker parts of our history, or are we just indulging our morbid curiosity? Mary-Ann Ochota investigates dark tourism.

(Photo: Seven-year-old twin sisters Seye and Sayo on their way to a party in the south-western Nigerian town of Igbo-Ora. Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

Nigerian Lawmakers, 'Calexit' Hashtag, Dark Tourism20171109

Do Nigerian Lawmakers get $1.7m, Who Pushed the 'Calexit' Hashtag, and Dark Tourism

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

Two statistics from Nigeria: do lawmakers really get paid $1.7 m – much more than the American President and does eating yams give Yoruba communities a record number of twins? We talk to the fact checkers at Africa Check.

We investigate connections between Moscow and “Calexit” groups that want to break up the United States. Also, the list of "sexual predator" professors that has sparked an online debate in India.

Millions of people every year visit sites of death, tragedy and destruction, from nuclear disaster zones to genocide memorials. Is it an effort to understand the darker parts of our history, or are we just indulging our morbid curiosity? Mary-Ann Ochota investigates dark tourism.

(Photo: Seven-year-old twin sisters Seye and Sayo on their way to a party in the south-western Nigerian town of Igbo-Ora. Photo credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images)

Novelists In Numbers20171102

The words novelists use obsessively and why

Stephen King once said that wannabe authors should avoid using adverbs which end with ‘ly’ but does he follow his own advice? Data journalist Ben Blatt decided to find out. He also analysed texts written by some of the best known authors to discover the words they use obsessively.

This year has seen a sharp rise in the number of confrontations in America between far right white supremacists and a group known as antifa – the anti fascists. We look at these two groups in traditionally liberal towns like Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon and ask who is winning and what they are fighting for.

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Do you think that you don’t deserve your success and one day you’ll be found out? If so, you may suffer from Imposter Syndrome. It can afflict both men and women and people who belong to minority groups of whom there are stereotypes about competence also commonly experience imposter feelings. Afua Hirsch reports.

(Photo: American novelist Ernest Hemingway in 1954 on safari in Africa. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Novelists in Numbers20171102

The words novelists use obsessively and why

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

Stephen King once said that wannabe authors should avoid using adverbs which end with ‘ly’ but does he follow his own advice? Data journalist Ben Blatt decided to find out. He also analysed texts written by some of the best known authors to discover the words they use obsessively.

This year has seen a sharp rise in the number of confrontations in America between far right white supremacists and a group known as antifa – the anti fascists. We look at these two groups in traditionally liberal towns like Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon and ask who is winning and what they are fighting for.

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Do you think that you don’t deserve your success and one day you’ll be found out? If so, you may suffer from Imposter Syndrome. It can afflict both men and women and people who belong to minority groups of whom there are stereotypes about competence also commonly experience imposter feelings. Afua Hirsch reports.

(Photo: American novelist Ernest Hemingway in 1954 on safari in Africa. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Numbers of the Year20141225

In More or Less, Tim Harford asks experts their most memorable number of the year.

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

In More or Less, Tim Harford asks experts to name their most memorable number of the year. Mexico specialist Professor Carlos Vilalta explains what’s so special about 39,222 and the Editor of fact-checking site, Africa Check, Julian Rademeyer, reveals the truth behind a number of casualties shown in a photo.

In Trending, Anne Mairie Tomchak hears how another photo trending on social media may not be all it seems. And there’s an end of year round up from some of the top social media platforms which have been creating lists of what have been the biggest trends on their sites over the past 12 months.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams delves into the world of perfume. For centuries perfume has been used to show status and wealth, for medicines and for religious purposes and the global business is now worth tens of billions of dollars a year. So why do we still perfume ourselves and what image are we trying to project?

(Image: Mexico illustration. Credit: Shutterstock)

Numbers Of The Year 2015 - Part 120151231

More Or less looks back at some of the most interesting numbers of the year.

In More or Less Tim Harford looks back at some of the most interesting numbers in the news in 2015. He investigates how the migrant crisis has affected the number of people seeking asylum, talking to Leonard Doyle from the International Organisation for Migration and Clare Melamed from the Overseas Development Institute.

In BBC Trending Anne-Marie Tomchak talks us through some of her favourite viral songs of the year. And we revisit one of this year’s biggest talking point - #thedress. People around the world debated which colour it was - dark blue and black or white and gold. Was discussing the dress a fuss over nothing, or did we learn something valuable in the process?

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the phenomenon of 'Groupthink'. He asks why we succumb to it, and how we can fight the urge to follow the crowd when voicing dissent might avoid dangerous consequences.

(Image: Migrants and refugees cross the Greek-Macedonian border. Credit: Getty Images)

Numbers Of The Year 2015 - Part 220160107

More Or Less looks back over some of the numbers that made the news in 2015

In More Or Less, Tim Harford analyses some of the numbers that made the news in 2015.

For example, how healthy is the Nigerian economy and how many possible tweets are there?

A year on from the killing of 11 staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, BBC Trending’s Mukul Devichand looks back at the impact of #JesuisCharlie – a slogan which became a rallying cause for free speech, spreading around the world via social media and inspiring many causes.

The recognition brought the paper wealth and an international audience, but also a level of scrutiny it had never before experienced, with its past and current covers now being shared around the world, debated and often criticised as people argue over the limits of satire.

Also, Anne-Marie Tomchak reports on the viral body image issues of the year past.

In the Why Factor, Lucy Ash asks, why do we hunt? In some societies hunting is necessary to get food, but why do those who can buy meat in a shop go out hunting? Do they like to kill? Or is there something else at play? Lucy Ash talks to hunters from Canada, South Africa, the US and Scotland, who between them have killed animals ranging from deer to elephants, to ask them why they do it.

Numbers Of The Year 2015 - Part 320160114

More Or Less hears why Americans should take more time off.

In More Or Less, Tim Harford hears that a failure to take time off is preventing some Americans from being creative. And he looks back over some of the numbers that made the news in 2015 with author and broadcaster Farai Chideya, former footballer Graeme le Saux, and BBC cricket statistician Andrew Samson.

BBC Trending talks to Nawal Al-Hawsawi, a black Saudi woman who’s received racist abuse online for tweeting about her support for inter-racial relationships. She’s been called the “Rosa Parks? of Saudi Arabia for her campaigning against racism. And the makers of a viral video criticising Facebook’s plans to bring ‘free internet’ to those without access in rural India explain their objections.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks how far hypocrisy is part of the human condition. No-one likes a hypocrite, yet most of us are hypocritical to some degree. So why do we profess one thing but do another? And what would a world be like without it?

(Photo: Days marked on a calendar as a holiday crossed and a word postponed written over it. Credit: Shutterstock)

Numbers of the Year 2015 \u2013 Part 120151231

More Or less looks back at some of the most interesting numbers of the year.

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

In More or Less Tim Harford looks back at some of the most interesting numbers in the news in 2015. He investigates how the migrant crisis has affected the number of people seeking asylum, talking to Leonard Doyle from the International Organisation for Migration and Clare Melamed from the Overseas Development Institute.
In BBC Trending Anne-Marie Tomchak talks us through some of her favourite viral songs of the year. And we revisit one of this year’s biggest talking point - #thedress. People around the world debated which colour it was - dark blue & black or white & gold. Was discussing the dress a fuss over nothing, or did we learn something valuable in the process?
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the phenomenon of 'Groupthink'. He asks why we succumb to it, and how we can fight the urge to follow the crowd when voicing dissent might avoid dangerous consequences.

(Image: Migrants and refugees cross the Greek-Macedonian border. Credit: Getty Images)

Numbers Of The Year 2015 € Part 120151231
Numbers Of The Year 2015 Part 220160107
Numbers of the Year 2015 Part 220160107

More Or Less looks back over some of the numbers that made the news in 2015

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

In More Or Less, Tim Harford analyses some of the numbers that made the news in 2015.
For example, how healthy is the Nigerian economy and how many possible tweets are there?

A year on from the killing of 11 staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, BBC Trending’s Mukul Devichand looks back at the impact of #JesuisCharlie – a slogan which became a rallying cause for free speech, spreading around the world via social media and inspiring many causes.
The recognition brought the paper wealth and an international audience, but also a level of scrutiny it had never before experienced, with its past and current covers now being shared around the world, debated and often criticised as people argue over the limits of satire.
Also, Anne-Marie Tomchak reports on the viral body image issues of the year past.

In the Why Factor, Lucy Ash asks, why do we hunt? In some societies hunting is necessary to get food, but why do those who can buy meat in a shop go out hunting? Do they like to kill? Or is there something else at play? Lucy Ash talks to hunters from Canada, South Africa, the US and Scotland, who between them have killed animals ranging from deer to elephants, to ask them why they do it.

Numbers Of The Year 2015: Part Three20160114
Numbers of the Year 2015: Part Three20160114

More Or Less hears why Americans should take more time off.

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

In More Or Less, Tim Harford hears that a failure to take time off is preventing some Americans from being creative. And he looks back over some of the numbers that made the news in 2015 with author and broadcaster Farai Chideya, former footballer Graeme le Saux, and BBC cricket statistician Andrew Samson.

BBC Trending talks to Nawal Al-Hawsawi, a black Saudi woman who’s received racist abuse online for tweeting about her support for inter-racial relationships. She’s been called the “Rosa Parks” of Saudi Arabia for her campaigning against racism. And the makers of a viral video criticising Facebook’s plans to bring ‘free internet’ to those without access in rural India explain their objections.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks how far hypocrisy is part of the human condition. No-one likes a hypocrite, yet most of us are hypocritical to some degree. So why do we profess one thing but do another? And what would a world be like without it?

(Photo: Days marked on a calendar as a holiday crossed and a word postponed written over it. Credit: Shutterstock)

Nuns on the Rise20150507

More Or Less checks the figures behind a reported trebling of Catholic nuns in Britain

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

In More Or Less Tim Harford checks out recently reported figures showing that the number of Catholic nuns in the UK has trebled in the past five years, reaching its highest level since 1990. Are we witnessing the so-called ‘Pope Francis effect’? And what is the long term trend in the UK and across the world? Plus, Matt Parker the stand-up mathematician responds to a listener’s query about his theory on the best way to find a life partner.

Alvin Tan describes himself as a sex blogger, trouble maker and freedom of speech activist. He is currently facing trial for insulting the month of Ramadan and posting pornographic pictures on the internet. In BBC Trending, Mukul Devichand finds out how he became so big on social media, why he is claiming asylum in the US, and what conservative Malaysia thinks of their infamous naughty boy. And Tse Yin Lee from BBC Monitoring explains the challenge for the Chinese of learning English and why hundreds of thousands of Chinese took to social media after the chief executive of Chinese telecoms giant company Xiaomi addressed a conference in India, in English.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why we use jargon - the deliberate obfuscation of language, or in other words, saying things in a way that makes it difficult to understand. George Orwell hated this ‘inflated style’ of writing. In the 1940s British civil servant Sir Ernest Gowers wrote a book - Plain Words - which has been reprinted again and again, most recently by his great grand-daughter who thinks jargon is as bad as ever.

(Photo: Nuns pray during a vigil to call for peace in Ukraine, Syria and all countries tormented by persecutions and war. Credit: AP)

Odd Socks And Algorithms2016080420160805 (WS)

How the techniques of computer science can help us in everyday life.

Brian Christian, co-author of ‘Algorithms to Live by: The Computer Science of Human Decisions’, argues that the techniques of computer science can help us manage everyday situations in a more logical and efficient manner. So which algorithm can help solve the problem of odd socks? Tim Harford investigates.

Also, photoshopped images of Mark Zuckerberg, Narendra Modi and several Bollywood stars - all wounded by pellet guns - are trending in Kashmir. They are part of a campaign to raise awareness about unrest in the region, which also claims Facebook is censoring posts about the story.

And why do we love driving? Mike Williams asks if we would miss driving ourselves, as auto-piloted cars are tested in cities around the world.

(Photo: Socks. Credit: Angela N Perryman via Shutterstock)

Odd Socks and Algorithms2016080420160807 (WS)

How the techniques of computer science can help us in everyday life.

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

Brian Christian, co-author of ‘Algorithms to Live by: The Computer Science of Human Decisions’, argues that the techniques of computer science can help us manage everyday situations in a more logical and efficient manner. So which algorithm can help solve the problem of odd socks? Tim Harford investigates.

Also, photoshopped images of Mark Zuckerberg, Narendra Modi and several Bollywood stars - all wounded by pellet guns - are trending in Kashmir. They are part of a campaign to raise awareness about unrest in the region, which also claims Facebook is censoring posts about the story.

And why do we love driving? Mike Williams asks if we would miss driving ourselves, as auto-piloted cars are tested in cities around the world.

(Photo: Socks. Credit: Angela N Perryman via Shutterstock)

Odd Socks and Algorithms20160804

How the techniques of computer science can help us in everyday life.

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

Brian Christian, co-author of ‘Algorithms to Live by: The Computer Science of Human Decisions’, argues that the techniques of computer science can help us manage everyday situations in a more logical and efficient manner. So which algorithm can help solve the problem of odd socks? Tim Harford investigates.

Also, photoshopped images of Mark Zuckerberg, Narendra Modi and several Bollywood stars - all wounded by pellet guns - are trending in Kashmir. They are part of a campaign to raise awareness about unrest in the region, which also claims Facebook is censoring posts about the story.

And why do we love driving? Mike Williams asks if we would miss driving ourselves, as auto-piloted cars are tested in cities around the world.

(Photo: Socks. Credit: Angela N Perryman via Shutterstock)

Oil and Trainers20151029

The claims that millions of barrels of Nigeria\u2019s oil are stolen every day

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

More Or Less checks out a claim by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari that a million barrels of the country’s oil are stolen per day. Is he right? Ruth Alexander asks Peter Cunliffe-Jones of Africa Check. And, does 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil lie in the Arctic?

BBC Trending reports on controversy surrounding ‘consent lessons’ on offer in a number of British universities to tackle both rape and sexual assault. And we hear from the ‘Man who has it all’, a Twitter account that’s actually a scathing satire of the patronising lifestyle articles usually aimed at women. Also, one of the British Sikhs behind the #SikhLivesMatter hashtag – a response to recent violence in Punjab - explains what is motivating supporters.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why trainers – or sneakers- have become such a popular fashion item far removed from their original purpose of health and fitness.

Oil And Trainers20151029

The claims that millions of barrels of Nigeria\u2019s oil are stolen every day

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

More Or Less checks out a claim by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari that a million barrels of the country’s oil are stolen per day. Is he right? Ruth Alexander asks Peter Cunliffe-Jones of Africa Check. And, does 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil lie in the Arctic?

BBC Trending reports on controversy surrounding ‘consent lessons’ on offer in a number of British universities to tackle both rape and sexual assault. And we hear from the ‘Man who has it all’, a Twitter account that’s actually a scathing satire of the patronising lifestyle articles usually aimed at women. Also, one of the British Sikhs behind the #SikhLivesMatter hashtag – a response to recent violence in Punjab - explains what is motivating supporters.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why trainers – or sneakers- have become such a popular fashion item far removed from their original purpose of health and fitness.

The claims that millions of barrels of Nigeria’s oil are stolen every day

More Or Less checks out a claim by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari that a million barrels of the country’s oil are stolen per day. Is he right? Ruth Alexander asks Peter Cunliffe-Jones of Africa Check. And, does 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil lie in the Arctic?

BBC Trending reports on controversy surrounding ‘consent lessons’ on offer in a number of British universities to tackle both rape and sexual assault. And we hear from the ‘Man who has it all’, a Twitter account that’s actually a scathing satire of the patronising lifestyle articles usually aimed at women. Also, one of the British Sikhs behind the #SikhLivesMatter hashtag – a response to recent violence in Punjab - explains what is motivating supporters.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why trainers – or sneakers- have become such a popular fashion item far removed from their original purpose of health and fitness.

Oxfam and Wealth Inequality20160128

More Or Less asks if adding up individual wealth helps to measure global inequality

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

More Or Less checks out the claim that ‘62 people now own as much wealth as half of the world’s population’. Taken alongside Oxfam’s annual report that suggests that 1% of the world’s population now own more than the 99% put together, what does this mean in terms of global inequality? Tim Harford asks economics writer Felix Salmon and development expert Charles Kenny to paint the full picture.

BBC Trending explains how an image of a three-year-old girl being abducted has flooded social media in China. The girl has now been found, but the search sheds light on the country's huge digital campaigns trying to return tens of thousands of missing children to their parents. And, a Bollywood actress wowed the web over the grilling she received during a TV interview, and Bill, the new stick figure that went viral this week, offers advice on internet etiquette.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams investigates the age of consent, the age at which a person is considered by law to be capable of agreeing to sex. He finds the age varies greatly around the world, and is bound up with child protection, notions of honour and marriage and concerns about paedophilia. How far is the number simply a social construct or is it based on any scientific evidence?

(Photo: One of the world's richest people, Bill Gates, participates in a panel discussion during the Financial Inclusion Forum. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oxfam And Wealth Inequality20160128

More Or Less checks out the claim that ‘62 people now own as much wealth as half of the world’s population’. Taken alongside Oxfam’s annual report that suggests that 1% of the world’s population now own more than the 99% put together, what does this mean in terms of global inequality? Tim Harford asks economics writer Felix Salmon and development expert Charles Kenny to paint the full picture.

BBC Trending explains how an image of a three-year-old girl being abducted has flooded social media in China. The girl has now been found, but the search sheds light on the country's huge digital campaigns trying to return tens of thousands of missing children to their parents. And, a Bollywood actress wowed the web over the grilling she received during a TV interview, and Bill, the new stick figure that went viral this week, offers advice on internet etiquette.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams investigates the age of consent, the age at which a person is considered by law to be capable of agreeing to sex. He finds the age varies greatly around the world, and is bound up with child protection, notions of honour and marriage and concerns about paedophilia. How far is the number simply a social construct or is it based on any scientific evidence?

(Photo: One of the world's richest people, Bill Gates, participates in a panel discussion during the Financial Inclusion Forum. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

More Or Less asks if adding up individual wealth helps to measure global inequality

Police shootings in the United States20160721

Why journalists are doing the counting for the numbers killed by police in the US

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

Journalists in the United States are doing the counting for the number of people killed each year by the police, as official figures are incomplete or non-existent. Tim Harford reports and asks why black people are disproportionately killed.
Also, the anti-vaccination movement that appears to be gaining ground in India, and why we seem to be getting smarter with every passing decade. Mike Williams reports on the Flynn Effect, which measures rising IQ scores across the globe.

(Photo: Police officers stand guard at a barricade following the sniper shooting in Dallas. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Police Shootings In The United States2016072120160722 (WS)

Why journalists are doing the counting for the numbers killed by police in the US

Journalists in the United States are doing the counting for the number of people killed each year by the police, as official figures are incomplete or non-existent. Tim Harford reports and asks why black people are disproportionately killed.

Also, the anti-vaccination movement that appears to be gaining ground in India, and why we seem to be getting smarter with every passing decade. Mike Williams reports on the Flynn Effect, which measures rising IQ scores across the globe.

(Photo: Police officers stand guard at a barricade following the sniper shooting in Dallas. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Pop Albums, The Russian Web And Dubbing Movies20171116

Why pop music albums are getting longer, how free is the Russian web, and dubbing movies

We discover how a numerical change in the way the pop music album charts are measured is causing artists to make ever longer albums.

The first of two special reports into the Russian internet. For years it provided an open platform for news and discussion with vastly different content to the news presented on the largely state-run television channels. We hear how over the last few years government regulation has been building up, and the authorities have started to curtail the kind of material that can be posted and seen online.

Why are so many films dubbed into another language? Rhianna Dhillon discovers the artistic, social and political reasons why many countries including Italy, France and Spanish speaking countries have opted to dub rather than subtitle movies.

(Image: Chris Brown performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards. Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Pop Albums, the Russian Web and Dubbing Movies20171116

Why pop music albums are getting longer, how free is the Russian web, and dubbing movies

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

We discover how a numerical change in the way the pop music album charts are measured is causing artists to make ever longer albums.

The first of two special reports into the Russian internet. For years it provided an open platform for news and discussion with vastly different content to the news presented on the largely state-run television channels. We hear how over the last few years government regulation has been building up, and the authorities have started to curtail the kind of material that can be posted and seen online.

Why are so many films dubbed into another language? Rhianna Dhillon discovers the artistic, social and political reasons why many countries including Italy, France and Spanish speaking countries have opted to dub rather than subtitle movies.

(Image: Chris Brown performs onstage at 2017 BET Awards. Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET)

Post UK Election Special20170622

Post UK election analysis; war in the quilting world, and are exams the best test?

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

The results of the UK general election are in – but what do they mean? Did more young people vote than expected? How many extra votes would the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have needed to become Prime Minister? Would planned boundary changes have made a difference? Tim Harford and team give the latest analysis.

Quilting – it’s an innocent-sounding traditional art, and one with a rich social and political history. But it’s not immune to America’s fractious political climate, as a conflict has erupted online amongst those within the quilting world.

And all over the world this summer young people are sitting exams which will have a big impact on their future. However, is this one-size-fits-all approach to assessment really a good judge of ability and understanding? Or do exam results only tell us about a candidate’s ability to memorise material and perform under stressful exam conditions? Caroline Bayley investigates.

(Photo: young voters arriving at a polling station in Glasgow to vote in the General Election. Credit Andy Buchanan/Getty Images)

Predicting Olympic Medals2016081120160814 (WS)

How statistics can help to predict how many Olympic medals each nation will win

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

How can we use statistics to predict how many medals each nation will win? Dr Julia Bredtmann, an economist at the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, explains the different factors you have to consider to predict Olympic success.

The British-American porn star Candy Charms has become the talk of social media in Iran because she travelled to the Islamic republic to get a nose job. Her story has put the spotlight on Iran as a top destination for rhinoplasty and it has re-ignited a campaign to save the Iranian nose.

Also, do we live in a post factual age where messages of fear dominate? Mike Williams investigates the “Backfire Effect” which means that entrenched views can become more entrenched – when confronted by contradictory facts.

(Photo: Lagoa Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Credit: Reuters)

Predicting Olympic Medals20160811

How statistics can help to predict how many Olympic medals each nation will win

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

How can we use statistics to predict how many medals each nation will win? Dr Julia Bredtmann, an economist at the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, explains the different factors you have to consider to predict Olympic success.

The British-American porn star Candy Charms has become the talk of social media in Iran because she travelled to the Islamic republic to get a nose job. Her story has put the spotlight on Iran as a top destination for rhinoplasty and it has re-ignited a campaign to save the Iranian nose.

Also, do we live in a post factual age where messages of fear dominate? Mike Williams investigates the “Backfire Effect” which means that entrenched views can become more entrenched – when confronted by contradictory facts.

(Photo: Lagoa Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Credit: Reuters)

Predicting Olympic Medals2016081120160812 (WS)

How statistics can help to predict how many Olympic medals each nation will win

How can we use statistics to predict how many medals each nation will win? Dr Julia Bredtmann, an economist at the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research, explains the different factors you have to consider to predict Olympic success.

The British-American porn star Candy Charms has become the talk of social media in Iran because she travelled to the Islamic republic to get a nose job. Her story has put the spotlight on Iran as a top destination for rhinoplasty and it has re-ignited a campaign to save the Iranian nose.

Also, do we live in a post factual age where messages of fear dominate? Mike Williams investigates the “Backfire Effect? which means that entrenched views can become more entrenched – when confronted by contradictory facts.

(Photo: Lagoa Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Credit: Reuters)

Pregnancy and Homicide?20141120

In More Or Less Ruth Alexander checks out a pregnancy and homicide claim in Gone Girl.

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

In More or Less,
Is homicide a leading cause of death for pregnant women as claimed in the film Gone Girl? Ruth Alexander asks Dr Katherine Gold from the University of Michigan if it's true. And can we trust country rankings seen in the growing number of performance indices?

In Trending
Activists in Libya have been receiving threats online from people who do not like their views. Some have even been assassinated including 18 year-old Tawfik Bensaud. Presenter Mukul Devichand talks to Tawfik's cousin and to one of the founders of the Libyan Youth Movement on Facebook.

In the Why Factor
Jo Fidgen reveals the power of poetry to teach us language, inspire and console us.

(Image: Ben Affleck in a scene from Gone Girl. Credit: Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox/AP Photo )

Princess Charlotte20150514

How far will the new royal baby boost the British economy? More Or Less investigates.

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

Will the new royal baby Princess Charlotte really bring £1 billion to the British economy? More Or Less looks at the origin of some current claims and judges how realistic they are. Plus – how useful are statistics about sex? Author and statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter explains to Tim Harford when you should and shouldn’t trust bedroom-related figures.

BBC Trending finds out why a man pretended to abduct children at a local park. The YouTuber Joey Salads says he was conducting a social experiment as a warning to parents about the dangers posed to their children. But was he right to publish such an inflammatory video?
Jordan’s government has launched an online offensive against Islamic State, but how effective is the project proving? And what is the mysterious button that has been pressed by nearly a million people? Anne-Marie Tomchak discovers Reddit’s April fool’s joke has taken on a life of its own.

Stamps, coins, sea shells, wine - the list of things that humans collect is endless. But why do people do it? Are they attracted by the thrill of the chase, the pleasure of possession or the control in acting as the custodian of precious things? Mike Williams reports for The Why Factor.

(Image: Mugs celebrating the birth of Princess Charlotte. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Processed Meat and Cancer20151105

More Or Less asks if processed meats are as cancer- causing as cigarettes

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

In More Or Less Ruth Alexander investigates whether processed meats are as cancer-causing as cigarettes, and asks if the Rugby World Cup has caused the most injuries to date?

BBC Trending reports on the on-air sexual harassment that got Mexico talking - when presenter Tania Reza was groped live on air by her co-host, Enrique Tovar, the clip went viral. As the saga unfolded, she and her co-host were both fired after making a video brushing it off as a social media stunt. Tania then claimed that she was pressured into making the video with Enrique. So what does the incident – and the huge reaction online - tell us about women’s rights in Mexico?
BBC Trending also investigates one of the internet’s most popular memes known as the ‘Sceptical Third World Kid’. What’s the story behind the photo? And are depictions of third-world children exploitative?

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why the bicycle - and cycling – which started out as a faddish leisure pursuit quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. What lies behind its mass appeal?

(A cigarette sliced up like salami. Credit: Shutterstock)

Processed Meat And Cancer20151105

More Or Less asks if processed meats are as cancer- causing as cigarettes

In More Or Less Ruth Alexander investigates whether processed meats are as cancer-causing as cigarettes, and asks if the Rugby World Cup has caused the most injuries to date?

BBC Trending reports on the on-air sexual harassment that got Mexico talking - when presenter Tania Reza was groped live on air by her co-host, Enrique Tovar, the clip went viral. As the saga unfolded, she and her co-host were both fired after making a video brushing it off as a social media stunt. Tania then claimed that she was pressured into making the video with Enrique. So what does the incident – and the huge reaction online - tell us about women’s rights in Mexico?

BBC Trending also investigates one of the internet’s most popular memes known as the ‘Sceptical Third World Kid’. What’s the story behind the photo? And are depictions of third-world children exploitative?

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why the bicycle - and cycling – which started out as a faddish leisure pursuit quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. What lies behind its mass appeal?

(A cigarette sliced up like salami. Credit: Shutterstock)

Queuing Backwards20150910

Britons love to queue but have we been getting it wrong?

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

Britons love to queue, but have we been getting it wrong? Lars Peter Osterdal from the University of Southern Denmark tells More Or Less about his theory of how to make queuing more efficient. And engineer Guru Madhavan tells the story of the barcode and argues that those making policy should ask engineers as well as economists to help solve problems.

BBC Trending hears from Maryam Malak, considered one of Egypt’s top performing students before she scored zero in all seven of her exams. The incident caused outcry in the country, and many believe corrupt officials are to blame. We also hear about the social media battle being launched by some of the drivers of London’s traditional black cabs against taxi-app firm Uber.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the subject of human rights - what are they, how are they evolving, and what if one person’s human right clashes with that of another?

(Photo: Commuters queue for buses Credit: AFP Wires)

Queuing Backwards20150910

Britons love to queue, but have we been getting it wrong? Lars Peter Osterdal from the University of Southern Denmark tells More Or Less about his theory of how to make queuing more efficient. And engineer Guru Madhavan tells the story of the barcode and argues that those making policy should ask engineers as well as economists to help solve problems.

BBC Trending hears from Maryam Malak, considered one of Egypt’s top performing students before she scored zero in all seven of her exams. The incident caused outcry in the country, and many believe corrupt officials are to blame. We also hear about the social media battle being launched by some of the drivers of London’s traditional black cabs against taxi-app firm Uber.

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at the subject of human rights - what are they, how are they evolving, and what if one person’s human right clashes with that of another?

(Photo: Commuters queue for buses Credit: AFP Wires)

Raising Other People's Children20170810

Child Safety Whistleblowers, Why Raise Other People's Children, Unsung Prime Numbers

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

Raising children is demanding. It takes time, money and devotion. So, why would anyone want to raise another person's child? Can mothers who adopt or foster have the same connection to their children as a birth mother would? We explore what it means to be a parent.

Mathematician Matt Parker on the unsung prime numbers such as the Mersenne 49 - the largest ever found.

Whistleblowers from inside YouTube's voluntary Trusted Flagger scheme, which helps identify potential child groomers, tell us that the company are failing to respond to the vast majority of reports from them and the public.

An unsolved murder of a young man in Washington DC last year has sparked widespread conspiracy theories online. But these aren't just any kind of conspiracy theories – they are linked to people in positions of power. Why has one murder led to such a huge response online?

(image credit: Shutterstock/family)

Ranking Iceland\u2019s Football Team; Social media movements inspired by the UK\u2019s vote to leave the EU; Why we love Cycling2016070720160710 (WS)

Ranking Iceland\u2019s Football Team \u2013 is it the best football team in the world per capita?

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

Is Iceland the best football team in the world per capita? England suffered a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the European Football Championship in France. This was embarrassing for England whose population is 163 times bigger than Iceland’s. We take a look at whether Iceland is now the best performing football team in the world if you compare UEFA ranking to the size of each country’s population.
Many media outlets have reported that it was predominantly the older generations in the UK who voted to ‘Leave’ the EU in the recent referendum, while those under 25 were keenest to ‘Remain’. It has prompted many people to ask whether a referendum on this topic might yield a different result if held in a few years’ time as the electorate changes. The More Or Less team attempts some back of the envelope calculations but asks how good is the data available.

First came #Brexit, could #Frexit, #Ausexit or #Texit follow? The social media movements which have been inspired by Britain voting to leave the European Union are explained. And less than an hour after a terror attack in Istanbul, why did Turkey's government ban Facebook and Twitter? BBC Trending reports.

The bicycle - and cycling - started out as somewhat of a faddish leisure pursuit, largely the preserve of middle-aged and wealthy men. Yet it quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. Mike Williams explores its history and role in society for the Why Factor.

(Photo: England v Iceland, EURO 2016, Nice, France. Credit: Reuters)

Ranking Iceland\u2019s Football Team; Social media movements inspired by the UK\u2019s vote to leave the EU; Why we love Cycling20160707

Ranking Iceland\u2019s Football Team \u2013 is it the best football team in the world per capita?

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

Is Iceland the best football team in the world per capita? England suffered a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the European Football Championship in France. This was embarrassing for England whose population is 163 times bigger than Iceland’s. We take a look at whether Iceland is now the best performing football team in the world if you compare UEFA ranking to the size of each country’s population.
Many media outlets have reported that it was predominantly the older generations in the UK who voted to ‘Leave’ the EU in the recent referendum, while those under 25 were keenest to ‘Remain’. It has prompted many people to ask whether a referendum on this topic might yield a different result if held in a few years’ time as the electorate changes. The More Or Less team attempts some back of the envelope calculations but asks how good is the data available.

First came #Brexit, could #Frexit, #Ausexit or #Texit follow? The social media movements which have been inspired by Britain voting to leave the European Union are explained. And less than an hour after a terror attack in Istanbul, why did Turkey's government ban Facebook and Twitter? BBC Trending reports.

The bicycle - and cycling - started out as somewhat of a faddish leisure pursuit, largely the preserve of middle-aged and wealthy men. Yet it quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. Mike Williams explores its history and role in society for the Why Factor.

(Photo: England v Iceland, EURO 2016, Nice, France. Credit: Reuters)

Ranking Iceland’s Football Team; Social Media Movements Inspired By The Uk’s Vote To Leave The Eu; Why We Love Cycling2016070720160708 (WS)

Ranking Iceland’s Football Team – is it the best football team in the world per capita?

Is Iceland the best football team in the world per capita? England suffered a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the European Football Championship in France. This was embarrassing for England whose population is 163 times bigger than Iceland’s. We take a look at whether Iceland is now the best performing football team in the world if you compare UEFA ranking to the size of each country’s population.

Many media outlets have reported that it was predominantly the older generations in the UK who voted to ‘Leave’ the EU in the recent referendum, while those under 25 were keenest to ‘Remain’. It has prompted many people to ask whether a referendum on this topic might yield a different result if held in a few years’ time as the electorate changes. The More Or Less team attempts some back of the envelope calculations but asks how good is the data available.

First came #Brexit, could #Frexit, #Ausexit or #Texit follow? The social media movements which have been inspired by Britain voting to leave the European Union are explained. And less than an hour after a terror attack in Istanbul, why did Turkey's government ban Facebook and Twitter? BBC Trending reports.

The bicycle - and cycling - started out as somewhat of a faddish leisure pursuit, largely the preserve of middle-aged and wealthy men. Yet it quickly became the world’s most popular means of transport and remains so to this day. Mike Williams explores its history and role in society for the Why Factor.

(Photo: England v Iceland, EURO 2016, Nice, France. Credit: Reuters)

Refugee Camp Statistics, the Prison Pen Pal Debate, Being Thin20160602

What is the average length of stay in a refugee camp? Is it true that it is 17 years?

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

What is the average length of stay in a refugee camp? It is regularly reported that it is 17 years, but is this true and how difficult or useful is it to make such a calculation? More Or Less reports.

Robert Torres is serving four consecutive life sentences for four counts of aggravated rape. Lori Williams, one of his victims, was alarmed to find him advertising for a romantic relationship on a prisoner pen pal website. She started a petition to outlaw the practise for violent and sexual offenders in Texas, and was overwhelmed with support from the public online.

And, as their country faces a tomato shortage, lots of Nigerians have taken to Twitter to complain about the 100 tonnes of tomatoes wasted every year in Spain’s Tomatina festival. BBC Trending talks to both sides.

For thousands of years, a thin body was a sign of poverty or disease. But there is now a growing, global obsession with being thin. And this at a time when many populations around the world are, paradoxically, suffering epidemics of obesity. Mike Williams finds out why, as he speaks to former French model Victoire Macon Dauxerre, Tony Glenville from the London College of Fashion, Anne Becker from Harvard Medical School, professor John Speakman from University of Aberdeen and Etta Edim from Nigeria’s Efik tribe.

(Photo: An Afghan woman carries laundry in a refugee camp in Malakasa. Credit: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

Refugee Camp Statistics, The Prison Pen Pal Debate, Being Thin2016060220160603 (WS)

What is the average length of stay in a refugee camp? It is regularly reported that it is 17 years, but is this true and how difficult or useful is it to make such a calculation? More Or Less reports.

Robert Torres is serving four consecutive life sentences for four counts of aggravated rape. Lori Williams, one of his victims, was alarmed to find him advertising for a romantic relationship on a prisoner pen pal website. She started a petition to outlaw the practise for violent and sexual offenders in Texas, and was overwhelmed with support from the public online.

And, as their country faces a tomato shortage, lots of Nigerians have taken to Twitter to complain about the 100 tonnes of tomatoes wasted every year in Spain’s Tomatina festival. BBC Trending talks to both sides.

For thousands of years, a thin body was a sign of poverty or disease. But there is now a growing, global obsession with being thin. And this at a time when many populations around the world are, paradoxically, suffering epidemics of obesity. Mike Williams finds out why, as he speaks to former French model Victoire Macon Dauxerre, Tony Glenville from the London College of Fashion, Anne Becker from Harvard Medical School, professor John Speakman from University of Aberdeen and Etta Edim from Nigeria’s Efik tribe.

(Photo: An Afghan woman carries laundry in a refugee camp in Malakasa. Credit: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

What is the average length of stay in a refugee camp? Is it true that it is 17 years?

Rise Of Extreme Pranking, The Fall In Drinking In Russia, Learning About Pain

Why has there been a disturbing rise in internet pranks that simulate real life attacks? In an exclusive interview, we hear from YouTuber Arya Mosallah, who had his channel terminated after some of his videos - which some thought resembled acid attacks - were removed from the site. And we look at the ethics and morals of the people making videos in the pranking genre.

There’s a stereotype of Russia as a nation of vodka-swilling hard drinkers – but is that idea out of date? The Russian health minister told a conference recently that the country’s alcohol consumption there has dropped by 80% in just five years. Can that be true?

Pain comes to us all at some point in our lives, but a person’s pain is a unique experience and describing what hurts is not a simple task. Sandra Kanthal asks why we need to understand more about pain and reports on new ways being developed to measure and manage it.

(image: People stand next to a shelf with strong drinks in a food store in Moscow. Credit Andrey Smirnov/Getty Images)

Rise Of Extreme Pranking, The Fall In Drinking In Russia, Learning About Pain20180215

Why has there been a disturbing rise in internet pranks that simulate real life attacks? In an exclusive interview, we hear from YouTuber Arya Mosallah, who had his channel terminated after some of his videos - which some thought resembled acid attacks - were removed from the site. And we look at the ethics and morals of the people making videos in the pranking genre.

There’s a stereotype of Russia as a nation of vodka-swilling hard drinkers – but is that idea out of date? The Russian health minister told a conference recently that the country’s alcohol consumption there has dropped by 80% in just five years. Can that be true?

Pain comes to us all at some point in our lives, but a person’s pain is a unique experience and describing what hurts is not a simple task. Sandra Kanthal asks why we need to understand more about pain and reports on new ways being developed to measure and manage it.

(image: People stand next to a shelf with strong drinks in a food store in Moscow. Credit Andrey Smirnov/Getty Images)

The rise of extreme pranking; has drinking in Russia gone down? Also, understanding pain.

Rise of Extreme Pranking, the Fall in Drinking in Russia, Learning About Pain20180215

The rise of extreme pranking; has drinking in Russia gone down? Also, understanding pain.

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

Why has there been a disturbing rise in internet pranks that simulate real life attacks? In an exclusive interview, we hear from YouTuber Arya Mosallah, who had his channel terminated after some of his videos - which some thought resembled acid attacks - were removed from the site. And we look at the ethics and morals of the people making videos in the pranking genre.

There’s a stereotype of Russia as a nation of vodka-swilling hard drinkers – but is that idea out of date? The Russian health minister told a conference recently that the country’s alcohol consumption there has dropped by 80% in just five years. Can that be true?

Pain comes to us all at some point in our lives, but a person’s pain is a unique experience and describing what hurts is not a simple task. Sandra Kanthal asks why we need to understand more about pain and reports on new ways being developed to measure and manage it.

(image: People stand next to a shelf with strong drinks in a food store in Moscow. Credit Andrey Smirnov/Getty Images)

Russian Extremism Memes20180920

Why are some Russians being placed on extremist watch lists for posting memes?

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

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)

Safe Drinking, Sex Tape Mystery and Fanfiction20160331

Are the benefits and harms of drinking alcohol being judged correctly?

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

In More Or Less, new alcohol guidelines were issued recently in the UK which lowered the number of units recommended for safe drinking. But are the benefits and harms of alcohol being judged correctly? Tim Harford hears from Professor David Speigelhalter.

In BBC Trending, the mystery of the sex-tapes featuring Georgian politicians which have been posted online, and more are expected soon. But it isn’t clear who’s responsible, or what the people posting them want to achieve. And Chinese women explain why they took the ‘A4 Challenge’, and posted pictures of themselves online showing that their waists are thinner than a piece of A4 paper. The trend has been widely criticised, but some participants say the critics are missing the point.

And in the Why Factor, what motivates the writers of Fanfiction, the global phenomenon in which amateur writers create new stories in the existing fictional worlds of their most loved films, TV shows and books. For many it is an obsession – but why do they do it? And how do the writers whose works are taken on by the fanfiction community feel about it?
It is not for the money; fanfiction is a non-commercial pursuit, although some writers do make the transition from amateur to published author. The most famous example of this is E.L. James, whose blockbuster book: 50 Shades of Grey, started out as fanfiction based on the Vampire inspired Twilight series.

(Photo: Man drinking beer. Credit: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Safe Drinking, Sex Tape Mystery And Fanfiction2016033120160401 (WS)

In More Or Less, new alcohol guidelines were issued recently in the UK which lowered the number of units recommended for safe drinking. But are the benefits and harms of alcohol being judged correctly? Tim Harford hears from Professor David Speigelhalter.

In BBC Trending, the mystery of the sex-tapes featuring Georgian politicians which have been posted online, and more are expected soon. But it isn’t clear who’s responsible, or what the people posting them want to achieve. And Chinese women explain why they took the ‘A4 Challenge’, and posted pictures of themselves online showing that their waists are thinner than a piece of A4 paper. The trend has been widely criticised, but some participants say the critics are missing the point.

And in the Why Factor, what motivates the writers of Fanfiction, the global phenomenon in which amateur writers create new stories in the existing fictional worlds of their most loved films, TV shows and books. For many it is an obsession – but why do they do it? And how do the writers whose works are taken on by the fanfiction community feel about it?

It is not for the money; fanfiction is a non-commercial pursuit, although some writers do make the transition from amateur to published author. The most famous example of this is E.L. James, whose blockbuster book: 50 Shades of Grey, started out as fanfiction based on the Vampire inspired Twilight series.

(Photo: Man drinking beer. Credit: George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

Are the benefits and harms of drinking alcohol being judged correctly?

Samba, Strings and the Story of HIV20170608

Samba, strings and the story of HIV and the past and future of social network 4chan

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

Can medical statistics be transformed into music? That was the challenge set by epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani for composer Tony Haynes. The result was Song of Contagion to be performed this month by his Grand Union Orchestra with steel pans, saxophones and singers telling the story of diseases including Zika and AIDs.

What Is 4Chan? How an anonymous social network spawned some of the biggest and most recognisable online political movements. We look at the origins, the people who use it and where it’s going.

And why do we talk to ourselves? Matthew Sweet hears how it can calm us down, help us organise our thoughts, and in the case of Sarah Outen, who spent four and a half years rowing, cycling and kayaking around the planet, he hears how it saved her life on more than one occasion.

(Photo: Detail close up of French Horn musical instrument, part of the Brass family of instruments. Credit: Shutterstock)

Sandy Hook Hoaxers Update20180816

An update on the conspiracy theorists who deny the shootings at Sandy Hook took place.

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

An update on American conspiracy theorists who deny that twenty-six people, mostly young children, died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. False rumours that the attacks were staged were pushed by media mogul Alex Jones, and his online news site Infowars. Big social media companies have now shut down Infowars’ and Alex Jones’ accounts. This is an update of a story that was originally broadcast in March 2017.

How do you get a hashtag to trend around the world? We look at the numbers behind the case of a politician who is little known outside the United Kingdom but became a hot topic online.

Lesley Curwen has sailed thousands of miles around Europe on her yacht and knows the strange joy of being out of sight of land. Talking to fellow sea-lovers , she asks why we are drawn to go to sea and put ourselves at the mercy of wind and waves.

Photo: Alex Jones, founder of Infowars
Credit: Getty Images

Sandy Hook Hoaxers Update20180816

An update on the conspiracy theorists who deny the shootings at Sandy Hook took place.

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

An update on American conspiracy theorists who deny that twenty-six people, mostly young children, died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. False rumours that the attacks were staged were pushed by media mogul Alex Jones, and his online news site Infowars. Big social media companies have now shut down Infowars’ and Alex Jones’ accounts. This is an update of a story that was originally broadcast in March 2017.

How do you get a hashtag to trend around the world? We look at the numbers behind the case of a politician who is little known outside the United Kingdom but became a hot topic online.

Lesley Curwen has sailed thousands of miles around Europe on her yacht and knows the strange joy of being out of sight of land. Talking to fellow sea-lovers , she asks why we are drawn to go to sea and put ourselves at the mercy of wind and waves.

Photo: Alex Jones, founder of Infowars
Credit: Getty Images

Sexist Data Crisis, Trading Medicine In Venezuela, Copying Art2016061620160617 (WS)

How countries around the world fail to collect adequate data about their female citizens

Are countries around the world failing to collect adequate details about their female citizens? Campaigners have argued we are missing data in areas that would help us understand women’s lives better, for example land and inheritance rights. Women’s work can also be overlooked in labour surveys, More Or Less reports.

Patients in Venezuela are resorting to social media to source vital medical supplies. If the government declared a state of emergency, international aid agencies could provide fresh supplies, but the government says the situation is manageable. And, why people are putting their names in parenthesis on Twitter. BBC Trending hears how a campaign led by anti-Semitic trolls turned into an act of defiance, as both Jewish and non-Jewish people try to reclaim the racist symbol.

And why do people try to create old masters and modern art, brush stroke by brush stroke? Why do people buy them? Mike Williams talks to art copier David Henty, gallery owner Philip Mould and Paul Dong a Beijing based art auctioneer, among others, for the Why Factor.

(Photo: A woman works in a corn field, near Bouake, central Ivory Coast. Credit: Issouf Sanogo/Getty Images)

Sexist Data Crisis, Trading Medicine in Venezuela, Copying Art20160616

How countries around the world fail to collect adequate data about their female citizens

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

Are countries around the world failing to collect adequate details about their female citizens? Campaigners have argued we are missing data in areas that would help us understand women’s lives better, for example land and inheritance rights. Women’s work can also be overlooked in labour surveys, More Or Less reports.

Patients in Venezuela are resorting to social media to source vital medical supplies. If the government declared a state of emergency, international aid agencies could provide fresh supplies, but the government says the situation is manageable. And, why people are putting their names in parenthesis on Twitter. BBC Trending hears how a campaign led by anti-Semitic trolls turned into an act of defiance, as both Jewish and non-Jewish people try to reclaim the racist symbol.

And why do people try to create old masters and modern art, brush stroke by brush stroke? Why do people buy them? Mike Williams talks to art copier David Henty, gallery owner Philip Mould and Paul Dong a Beijing based art auctioneer, among others, for the Why Factor.

(Photo: A woman works in a corn field, near Bouake, central Ivory Coast. Credit: Issouf Sanogo/Getty Images)

Should We Really Be Drinking Eight Glasses Of Water A Day?20170112

Should we really be drinking eight glasses of water a day, and why do people own guns?

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

Should we really be drinking eight glasses of water a day? There is lots of advice around, but how do you know when you’ve had enough or if you’re drinking too much? With help from Professor Stanley Goldfarb from the University of Pennsylvania, Wesley Stephenson finds out.
Also, why do most people in America who own a gun now say it’s for self-protection, whereas 20 years ago it was for sport or hunting? The data shows that crime has declined significantly, so what are people really scared of, and is it rational to respond in this way?

Also, can crowdmapping be an effective tool to tackle hate crime and political violence? And has the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s decision to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony divided Mormon communities?

(Image: Hand holding a glass of water. Credit: Charlotte Ball/PA Wire)

There is lots of advice around, but how do you know when you’ve had enough or if you’re drinking too much? With help from Professor Stanley Goldfarb from the University of Pennsylvania, Wesley Stephenson finds out.

Also, why do most people in America who own a gun now say it’s for self-protection, whereas 20 years ago it was for sport or hunting? The data shows that crime has declined significantly, so what are people really scared of, and is it rational to respond in this way?

Also, can crowdmapping be an effective tool to tackle hate crime and political violence? And has the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s decision to perform at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration ceremony divided Mormon communities?

(Image: Hand holding a glass of water. Credit: Charlotte Ball/PA Wire)

Should we really be drinking eight glasses of water a day, and why do people own guns?

Simpson\u2019s Paradox; The Prank Call Crimewave; How the Rest of the World Sees America20160505

Simpson\u2019s Paradox explains how two opposite findings can statistically both be true

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

A Dutch statistician recently became suspicious over headlines in the Dutch news that women were being discriminated against when it came to getting science research funding. Professor Casper Albers of the Heymans Institute for Psychological Research, Groningen, discovered that the study into the funding process showed that when you looked at the overall numbers of successful candidates, women seemed to be less successful than men. And yet, when you looked at a breakdown of the different subjects people could apply for, it showed that women were not losing out disproportionately to men. How could two opposite findings be true? More Or Less explains Simpson’s Paradox with the aid of a choir metaphor, performed by the BBC Singers.

This year a series of fast food restaurants across America have been damaged when their employees smashed out windows after receiving a call from the fire department who warned them about a gas leak. But the thousands of dollars in damage were really the result of illegal prank calls, broadcast live on the internet. BBC Trending investigates the online communities responsible, asking what motivates them and how they can be stopped.

What does the rest of the world think of the United States, one of the most recognisable nations on the planet? In the Why Factor, Mike Williams presents the second of two programmes looking into the concepts of identity for the BBC World Service's Identity season.

(Image: A river view in the Netherlands)

Simpson’s Paradox; The Prank Call Crimewave; How The Rest Of The World Sees America2016050520160506 (WS)

Simpson’s Paradox explains how two opposite findings can statistically both be true

A Dutch statistician recently became suspicious over headlines in the Dutch news that women were being discriminated against when it came to getting science research funding. Professor Casper Albers of the Heymans Institute for Psychological Research, Groningen, discovered that the study into the funding process showed that when you looked at the overall numbers of successful candidates, women seemed to be less successful than men. And yet, when you looked at a breakdown of the different subjects people could apply for, it showed that women were not losing out disproportionately to men. How could two opposite findings be true? More Or Less explains Simpson’s Paradox with the aid of a choir metaphor, performed by the BBC Singers.

This year a series of fast food restaurants across America have been damaged when their employees smashed out windows after receiving a call from the fire department who warned them about a gas leak. But the thousands of dollars in damage were really the result of illegal prank calls, broadcast live on the internet. BBC Trending investigates the online communities responsible, asking what motivates them and how they can be stopped.

What does the rest of the world think of the United States, one of the most recognisable nations on the planet? In the Why Factor, Mike Williams presents the second of two programmes looking into the concepts of identity for the BBC World Service's Identity season.

(Image: A river view in the Netherlands)

Sleeping: The 8-hour Myth20150226

More Or Less hears why sleeping for 8 hours may do more harm than good.

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

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander hears that although it's often said we should be aiming to get eight hours sleep a night, could it actually lead us to an early grave? Research shows that sleeping for longer, or shorter, than average is associated with an increased risk of disease and mortality, but what's really causing the health problems? Dr Gregg Jacobs from UMASS Medical Centre, US, Professor Franco Cappuccio from Warwick University, UK, Professor Jim Horne of Loughborough University, UK, and Professor Shawn Youngstedt of Arizona State University, talk about the latest sleep science.
BBC Trending with Mukul Devichand reports on the outpouring of anger among women and men on the streets of Turkey and on social media over the murder of a 20 year old woman, Ozgecan Aslan, by a man who was allegedly trying to rape her as she was travelling home alone on a minibus. Turkish women share their stories online about their everyday experiences of sexual harrassment. Trending also speaks to the Chinese gay rights activist behind a video Coming Home urging parents to welcome their gay children home for the New Year holiday and to accept homosexuality.
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why the rich want to get richer. Why when you've got a million or even a billion you want to make more? Mike Williams asks what drives them and whether the rich are different from everyone else.

Social Media And Losing Weight20180927

Can social media help you to lose weight or is some advice less healthy than it seems?

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

Soviet World War Deaths20141218

More or Less delves behind claims over the number of Soviet World War deaths.

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

Did almost 80% of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 not survive World War Two, as has been claimed online? In More or Less Ruth Alexander hears from Professor Mike Haynes from the University of Wolverhampton and Professor Mark Harrison of Warwick University.
Plus, the Chinese economy has overtaken the US to become the biggest in the world according to a recent IMF announcement. We hear from Matthew Crabbe, author of Myth Busting China’s Numbers, who explains the trouble with understanding and using China’s statistics.
In Trending, presented by Anne-Marie Tomchak, what happens when a superhero finds himself in Cairo? A 20-year-old photographer filmed his friend dressed as Spiderman, performing everyday tasks around the Egyptian capital, one of the busiest in the World. In Cairo, says the photographer, Spiderman has met his match because life is so impossible that not even a superhero could function.
We follow the debate on Irish social media that has been growing for months. The Irish Government is changing the way people pay for their water prompting 100,000 people to take to the streets of Dublin to protest. Currently most people do not get water bills – it is paid for through taxes. But now the government has set up Irish Water, a semi-state body, which is installing water meters and will start sending bills from 1 January 2015. Online there are numerous videos, tweets and memes calling for the proposed water charges to be dropped. But this is not just about water. After the banking crash of 2008, the Irish economy struggled and the country underwent a series of austerity measures. The new water charges seem to be the final straw. We hear how people have been protesting online, and whether the government is taking any notice.
And we speak to the man who makes comedy films about relationships – from a male perspective. His spoof about an African-American woman who cuts her hair off and goes “natural” has had millions of hits on Facebook, and received mixed comments. We ask him why he made it and whether he thinks it Is sexist.
In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks, why do we share? What makes it different from giving? And what does it have to do with strategy and impulse control? Mike talks to the scientist Nikolaus Steinbeis who found out which region of the brain is active when we share and why small children have problems with that. He visits the Redfield Community in the north of London, where over 20 people share a household and he discusses with a young 'couchsurfer' and a software specialist from the Linux foundation about the pros and cons of sharing.

(Image: Russian infantry men advancing. Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images)

Sperm Counts and Deleted Protest Posts20170928

Sperm \u2013 are we going extinct? The deleted protest posts, and why be a surrogate mother?

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

A recent study says that male sperm count has declined by 50 per cent since 1973, so how worried should we be?

We investigate claims that posts by Rohingya activists are being unfairly deleted by social media companies.

And, some people condemn surrogacy as a dangerous industry that exploits the vulnerable, while others see it as a welcome solution to the heartache of infertility. Mary-Ann Ochota reports.

(Image: Father with his daughter at breakfast time. Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Statistics Of The Year 2017; Youtube And Child Safety; Sleepwalking20180104

Statistics of the year 2017; YouTube and child safety; also, why do people sleepwalk?

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

How many active phone lines are there in the world? How many people die from lawn mowers on average each year in the US? How does this compare to terrorism deaths? Plus, is England densely populated compared to the rest of the world? We speak to Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter about the winners of the Royal Statistical Society’s competition to find numbers reported in the news that surprise us.

An update on what happened after BBC Trending’s investigation on YouTube which revealed the extent of predators on the site. What changes have YouTube made and how did the report affect advertising on the site and its parent company Google?

Why do some of us do bizarre things in our sleep such as riding a motorbike or even driving a car? These are complex behaviours and yet sleepwalkers aren’t aware of what they’re doing and often have no memory of their night-time activities. Neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner, talks to patients he’s been treating at his sleep clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London.

Students Vs Gun Laws; Winter Olympic Winners

After a shooting at a high school in Florida killed 17 people student’s across the United States of America have mobilised on social media. They’re calling for change using online organising tools and taking to the streets. The gun control debate is a familiar cycle, powerful forces in favour of keeping existing laws make it difficult for change to be passed and after the first initial shock news agencies often move on. So will the students manage to keep the momentum for change going?

Plus – the trending team look at an app designed to give people anonymous feedback online. It has seen a meteoric rise but in the wake of allegations of teenage bullying its downloads have faltered. The team chat to the CEO who developed the app.

The More or Less team ask who was the most successful nation at the Winter Olympics if you look at the GDP and amount of ski resorts of the countries with the most medals. Also – how many races would you have to watch to witness a dead heat in the two man bobsleigh? It happened at this Olympics, but when might it happen again?

And Shivaani Kohok talks to experts to provide an insight into the different types of bullying and what motivates this behaviour.

(image: Canadians Alexander Kopacz and Justin Kripps and Germans Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis celebrate winning joint-Gold in the 2 man bobsleigh at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.Credit:Tom Pennington/Getty Images.)

Students Vs Gun Laws; Winter Olympic Winners20180301

After a shooting at a high school in Florida killed 17 people student’s across the United States of America have mobilised on social media. They’re calling for change using online organising tools and taking to the streets. The gun control debate is a familiar cycle, powerful forces in favour of keeping existing laws make it difficult for change to be passed and after the first initial shock news agencies often move on. So will the students manage to keep the momentum for change going?

Plus – the trending team look at an app designed to give people anonymous feedback online. It has seen a meteoric rise but in the wake of allegations of teenage bullying its downloads have faltered. The team chat to the CEO who developed the app.

The More or Less team ask who was the most successful nation at the Winter Olympics if you look at the GDP and amount of ski resorts of the countries with the most medals. Also – how many races would you have to watch to witness a dead heat in the two man bobsleigh? It happened at this Olympics, but when might it happen again?

And Shivaani Kohok talks to experts to provide an insight into the different types of bullying and what motivates this behaviour.

(image: Canadians Alexander Kopacz and Justin Kripps and Germans Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis celebrate winning joint-Gold in the 2 man bobsleigh at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.Credit:Tom Pennington/Getty Images.)

The Students leading the gun control debate; Numbers at the Winter Olympics and Bullies

After a shooting at a high school in Florida killed 17 people student’s across the United States of America have mobilised on social media. They’re calling for change using online organising tools and taking to the streets. The gun control debate is a familiar cycle, powerful forces in favour of keeping existing laws make it difficult for change to be passed and after the first initial shock news agencies often move on. So will the students manage to keep the momentum for change going?

Plus – the trending team look at an app designed to give people anonymous feedback online. It has seen a meteoric rise but in the wake of allegations of teenage bullying its downloads have faltered. The team chat to the CEO who developed the app.

The More or Less team ask who was the most successful nation at the Winter Olympics if you look at the GDP and amount of ski resorts of the countries with the most medals. Also – how many races would you have to watch to witness a dead heat in the two man bobsleigh? It happened at this Olympics, but when might it happen again?

And Shivaani Kohok talks to experts to provide an insight into the different types of bullying and what motivates this behaviour.

(image: Canadians Alexander Kopacz and Justin Kripps and Germans Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis celebrate winning joint-Gold in the 2 man bobsleigh at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.Credit:Tom Pennington/Getty Images.)

Students vs Gun Laws; Winter Olympic Winners20180301

The Students leading the gun control debate; Numbers at the Winter Olympics and Bullies

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

After a shooting at a high school in Florida killed 17 people student’s across the United States of America have mobilised on social media. They’re calling for change using online organising tools and taking to the streets. The gun control debate is a familiar cycle, powerful forces in favour of keeping existing laws make it difficult for change to be passed and after the first initial shock news agencies often move on. So will the students manage to keep the momentum for change going?

Plus – the trending team look at an app designed to give people anonymous feedback online. It has seen a meteoric rise but in the wake of allegations of teenage bullying its downloads have faltered. The team chat to the CEO who developed the app.

The More or Less team ask who was the most successful nation at the Winter Olympics if you look at the GDP and amount of ski resorts of the countries with the most medals. Also – how many races would you have to watch to witness a dead heat in the two man bobsleigh? It happened at this Olympics, but when might it happen again?

And Shivaani Kohok talks to experts to provide an insight into the different types of bullying and what motivates this behaviour.

(image: Canadians Alexander Kopacz and Justin Kripps and Germans Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis celebrate winning joint-Gold in the 2 man bobsleigh at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.Credit:Tom Pennington/Getty Images.)

Sustainable Development Goals \u2013 Are there Just too Many?20161013

Is there a better way for the world to set Sustainable Development Goals?

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

It is now a year since the UN set its new Sustainable Development Goals to try to make the world a better place. They include 17 goals and no fewer than 169 targets on subjects like disease, education and governance. But some people, such as Bjorn Lomborg, say that they are too broad and too numerous to achieve anything, if left as they are.

There is another chance to hear a special report on the trade in viral video clips. Plus, why do we feel so many different and intense emotions when someone close to us dies? Whether it is yearning, sadness, anger or even shame, Mike Williams explores why each person’s grief is unique when they lose a loved one.

(Photo: A teacher writes on a blackboard during a class in Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

Sustainable Development Goals € Are There Just Too Many?2016101320161014 (WS)

It is now a year since the UN set its new Sustainable Development Goals to try to make the world a better place. They include 17 goals and no fewer than 169 targets on subjects like disease, education and governance. But some people, such as Bjorn Lomborg, say that they are too broad and too numerous to achieve anything, if left as they are.

There is another chance to hear a special report on the trade in viral video clips. Plus, why do we feel so many different and intense emotions when someone close to us dies? Whether it is yearning, sadness, anger or even shame, Mike Williams explores why each person’s grief is unique when they lose a loved one.

(Photo: A teacher writes on a blackboard during a class in Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

Is there a better way for the world to set Sustainable Development Goals?

Swimming World Records2016081820160821 (WS)

Why are swimming world records frequently being broken?

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

World Records are being set at a much faster rate in swimming than in other sports. At the Rio Olympics, British swimmer Adam Peaty managed to break the men's 100m breaststroke world record twice in two days. Tim Harford speaks to swimming coach, Rick Madge, about the reasons swimmers keep getting better results in the pool.

Also in the programme, photos of an overcrowded jail in the Philippines – taken by photographer Noel Celis – have gone viral. But remarkably some prisoners told him they felt ‘lucky’ to be there. They say many have met with a much worse fate as the new president Rodrigo Duterte cracks down on the country’s illegal drug trade.

And, why do we still fear animals that pose no serious threat to us and how can the effect of that irrational fear be so overpowering? Mike Williams discovers the answers lie deep in our evolutionary past.

(Photo: Britain's Adam Peaty swimming, credit: Reuters)

Swimming World Records20160818

Why are swimming world records frequently being broken?

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

World Records are being set at a much faster rate in swimming than in other sports. At the Rio Olympics, British swimmer Adam Peaty managed to break the men's 100m breaststroke world record twice in two days. Tim Harford speaks to swimming coach, Rick Madge, about the reasons swimmers keep getting better results in the pool.

Also in the programme, photos of an overcrowded jail in the Philippines – taken by photographer Noel Celis – have gone viral. But remarkably some prisoners told him they felt ‘lucky’ to be there. They say many have met with a much worse fate as the new president Rodrigo Duterte cracks down on the country’s illegal drug trade.

And, why do we still fear animals that pose no serious threat to us and how can the effect of that irrational fear be so overpowering? Mike Williams discovers the answers lie deep in our evolutionary past.

(Photo: Britain's Adam Peaty swimming, credit: Reuters)

Swimming World Records2016081820160819 (WS)

World Records are being set at a much faster rate in swimming than in other sports. At the Rio Olympics, British swimmer Adam Peaty managed to break the men's 100m breaststroke world record twice in two days. Tim Harford speaks to swimming coach, Rick Madge, about the reasons swimmers keep getting better results in the pool.

Also in the programme, photos of an overcrowded jail in the Philippines – taken by photographer Noel Celis – have gone viral. But remarkably some prisoners told him they felt ‘lucky’ to be there. They say many have met with a much worse fate as the new president Rodrigo Duterte cracks down on the country’s illegal drug trade.

And, why do we still fear animals that pose no serious threat to us and how can the effect of that irrational fear be so overpowering? Mike Williams discovers the answers lie deep in our evolutionary past.

(Photo: Britain's Adam Peaty swimming, credit: Reuters)

Why are swimming world records frequently being broken?

Sympathy for Jihadis20151203

More Or Less investigates a claim about the level of sympathy among Muslims for Jihadis

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

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander investigates a claim in a front page article in a popular British newspaper that one in five British Muslims have sympathy for jihadis. Is it, in fact, correct or misleading?

BBC Trending reports on a popular hashtag #ExMuslimBecause used by thousands to explain online why they left Islam, but criticised by others as “hateful” and ill- timed. And, we hear about the outcry on Russian social media, calling on citizens not to holiday in Turkey following the shooting down of a Russian plane. But was it started by ordinary Russian citizens, or led by pro-Kremlin accounts?

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at a style of dress that’s spread around the world and survived, largely unchanged, for the three centuries – the suit.

(Photo: A muslim demonstration against terrorism. Credit: Getty Images)

Sympathy For Jihadis20151203

More Or Less investigates a claim about the level of sympathy among Muslims for Jihadis

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander investigates a claim in a front page article in a popular British newspaper that one in five British Muslims have sympathy for jihadis. Is it, in fact, correct or misleading?

BBC Trending reports on a popular hashtag #ExMuslimBecause used by thousands to explain online why they left Islam, but criticised by others as “hateful? and ill- timed. And, we hear about the outcry on Russian social media, calling on citizens not to holiday in Turkey following the shooting down of a Russian plane. But was it started by ordinary Russian citizens, or led by pro-Kremlin accounts?

And in the Why Factor, Mike Williams looks at a style of dress that’s spread around the world and survived, largely unchanged, for the three centuries – the suit.

(Photo: A muslim demonstration against terrorism. Credit: Getty Images)

Teenage Pregnancy20141204

Is the claim that \u2018one-third of American girls become pregnant as teenagers\u2019 really true?

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

“About one-third of American girls become pregnant as teenagers” an article in the New York Times claimed. More or Less investigates whether that is true and examines the long-term trends when it comes to teenage pregnancy in developed countries. We speak to Bill Albert from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Heather Boonstra from the Guttmacher Institute and professor Roger Ingham from the University of Southampton.

Does 55% of communication really come from body language and gestures, 38% from facial expression and only 7% from words? It is a question that More or Less is regularly asked to look into. Five years on from first doing so, we replay the interview with professor Albert Mehrabian whose research is the source of the often heard claim.

In Trending –

A German YouTube Star – Charlotte McDonald has been to Berlin to meet one of Germany’s biggest YouTube personalities, Le Floid. The 27 year old vlogger is the man behind ‘LeNews’, a channel that takes a different twist on current affairs in a bid to get people talking.

Rescue in Saudi Arabia – When a Filipina domestic worker in Saudi Arabia posted a video of her living conditions it was shared over 400,000 times across the world. We find out how the video led to her removal from the house and provoked debate in the country.

The Trending Minute – We talk flying lambchops. #fergusonriottips, dancing in Iran and Pit Bulls in America – all in 60 seconds.

In The Why Factor –

Why do we cook, and not just eat raw food like all other animals? Jo Fidgen hears that our ancestors first started to cook about two million years ago, and the advent of cookery coincides with out developing bigger brains, and smaller guts. Harvard primatologist Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that led to both these developments, as cooked food is easier to digest, and allows the body to absorb more calories from the food, thus making it possible to fuel a bigger brain. So cooking made us human.

Historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto adds another dimension to this argument. He says cooking led to communal mealtimes and the move from solitary scavengers to organised groups – and thus the start of human society. Nowadays we also cook because we enjoy it, or to show our affection for those we cook for. But there are other, more basic reasons for cooking, such as making food safe to eat.

Jo Fidgen also talks to nutritionist Daniel Commane, and Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, a couple who run a Middle-Eastern restaurant.

(Image: Pregnant woman; credit: Shutterstock)

The Attention Span of a Goldfish20170316

The attention span of a goldfish; live video streaming player safety; human hands.

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

Is it really true our attention spans are getting shorter in the always-connected world of social media, smartphones and hyperlinks? The statistics say that the average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds now. That's less than the nine-second attention span of the average goldfish. But the statistics are not all that they seem - and neither is the received wisdom about goldfish.

Twitch is a live video streaming platform used widely in the gaming community. The death of a well-known gamer has opened a huge debate about player safety.

And, there is something satisfying about working with our hands, whether it is making something, fixing something or caring for someone. Maria Margaronis asks what it is about our tactile skills that make us so fundamentally human.

(Image: Shutterstock/Goldfish)

The Concrete Facts About Trump\u2019s Wall And China20170323

How much concrete will it take to build Trump\u2019s wall?

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

If the US is going to build a wall on its border with Mexico, it’s going to take a lot of concrete - millions of tonnes, in fact. But this is a tiny amount compared with China’s concrete use. It’s often said that China used more concrete between 2008-2011 than the US did in the whole of the 20th Century. It sounds astonishing - and is it true? Wesley Stephenson finds out.

After comments by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche divided opinion over transgender women, we speak to members of some of Nigeria’s secret gay and transgender groups who rely on each other on social media for support. Also, Joey Daley from Ohio has documented his mother Molly’s dementia. One film in which she failed to recognise him for the first time was viewed nearly 2 million times. Joey speaks to BBC Trending about how it feels to care for someone with dementia.

And Lee Kumutat examines why blindness comes to define the identity of people who have little or no sight. She talks to people in Jamaica, Ghana, Scotland and California about how they navigate a world which seems to see them as either inspirational or deserving pity. Or both.

Image: Getty/Credit: David McNew / Stringer

The Cost of A Wedding Gift20160922

How to work out how much to spend on a wedding gift.

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

Can economics help us work out the perfect amount to spend on a wedding gift? Economist Maria Kozlovskaya has advice on the factors we need to consider.

Also, when Hillary Clinton almost collapsed at a 9/11 memorial, conspiracy theorists went into overdrive, falsely claiming the presidential candidate was using a body double to avoid questions about her health. The lookalike in question tells her side of the story.

And why do some games, hobbies and activities – like Pokemon Go - become crazes while others do not? Is there a secret formula?

(Photo: Several gifts wrapped and on a table. Credit: Jayme Burrows/Shutterstock)

The Cost Of A Wedding Gift2016092220160923 (WS)

How to work out how much to spend on a wedding gift.

Can economics help us work out the perfect amount to spend on a wedding gift? Economist Maria Kozlovskaya has advice on the factors we need to consider.

Also, when Hillary Clinton almost collapsed at a 9/11 memorial, conspiracy theorists went into overdrive, falsely claiming the presidential candidate was using a body double to avoid questions about her health. The lookalike in question tells her side of the story.

And why do some games, hobbies and activities – like Pokemon Go - become crazes while others do not? Is there a secret formula?

(Photo: Several gifts wrapped and on a table. Credit: Jayme Burrows/Shutterstock)

The Death Rate Of White Americans20170427

; fake celebrity social media; how words shape us.

The Death Rate of White Americans20170427

The death rate of white Americans; fake celebrity social media; how words shape us.

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

Throughout the 20th Century the developed world saw mortality rates fall but one group who may no longer be benefitting are middle-aged white Americans. This is according to research from the eminent economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton. But the work has been criticised for statistical problems and for not focusing enough on black Americans. Tim Harford attempts to explain what is really going on.

We examine the disturbing rise of fake celebrity social media accounts targeting children. This comes in the wake of a case currently going through the courts in Australia, where a man who allegedly impersonated Justin Bieber online has more than 900 charges of child sex offences against him. We talk to parents of children who have been targeted, and to law enforcement professionals concerned by this growing trend.

The average English-speaker knows about 25,000 words which can be combined into an infinite number of sentences. Many people believe that, whatever language you speak, the words you know have a profound influence on the way you think, though this is a controversial theory among linguists, as Lane Greene explains.

(Photo: Harmonica playing steel workers perched on a girder on the 22nd storey of the Murray Hill building, New York. Credit: General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

The Elliptical Pool Table20150827

More Or Less examines the geometry of a very different game of pool.

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

The ancient Greeks saw magic in the geometry of an ellipse. In “More or Less” mathematical writer Alex Bellos has put this to use in a specially designed table for a specially designed game of pool.

BBC Trending looks at the phenomenon of online pranks. Pranksters like Vitaly, Joey Salads and Prank v Prank get billions of views but some of the videos have been pushing the boundaries and causing controversy. Is all fair in love, war and pranking? Mukul Devichand is joined at the Edinburgh Festival by three obliging comedians – Nish Kumar, Kai Humphries and Anna Morris.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams is talking about death. Why do we find it so hard to talk about? Mike meets a British doctor facing her own mortality and another in India who wrestles with telling her patients the bad news.

The Elliptical Pool Table20150827

The ancient Greeks saw magic in the geometry of an ellipse. In “More or Less? mathematical writer Alex Bellos has put this to use in a specially designed table for a specially designed game of pool.

BBC Trending looks at the phenomenon of online pranks. Pranksters like Vitaly, Joey Salads and Prank v Prank get billions of views but some of the videos have been pushing the boundaries and causing controversy. Is all fair in love, war and pranking? Mukul Devichand is joined at the Edinburgh Festival by three obliging comedians – Nish Kumar, Kai Humphries and Anna Morris.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams is talking about death. Why do we find it so hard to talk about? Mike meets a British doctor facing her own mortality and another in India who wrestles with telling her patients the bad news.

The Far Right And Sweden20180208

Why is the far right keen on Sweden?

Why is the far right so obsessed with Sweden? Despite seeming to be unlikely territory with its reputation for progressive social policies, reports about crime and immigration in Sweden routinely go viral on internet chat forums, Facebook and Twitter. And what links do Swedish activists have with the global alt-right?

A key pledge of the Chinese President Xi Jinping is that China will have eradicated poverty by 2020. It’s an extraordinary claim, but China does have a good track record in improving the wealth of its citizens so how does it measure poverty? And is it possible for the government to ensure, over the next few years, that no one falls below its poverty line?

Curing phobias, managing pain, entertainment: hypnotism has a number of tangible benefits. But it can also carry significant risks for the most suggestible people. So why would anyone allow a stranger to access their mind? Nicola Kelly speaks to performers, dentists and therapists who use hypnotism in their work and discovers how the brain functions when in a trance.

(Photo: A woman tends to her niece amid the poor surroundings of her home's kitchen. Credit: Frederic J.Brown/Getty Images

The Far Right and Sweden20180208

Why is the far right keen on Sweden?

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

Why is the far right so obsessed with Sweden? Despite seeming to be unlikely territory with its reputation for progressive social policies, reports about crime and immigration in Sweden routinely go viral on internet chat forums, Facebook and Twitter. And what links do Swedish activists have with the global alt-right?

A key pledge of the Chinese President Xi Jinping is that China will have eradicated poverty by 2020. It’s an extraordinary claim, but China does have a good track record in improving the wealth of its citizens so how does it measure poverty? And is it possible for the government to ensure, over the next few years, that no one falls below its poverty line?

Curing phobias, managing pain, entertainment: hypnotism has a number of tangible benefits. But it can also carry significant risks for the most suggestible people. So why would anyone allow a stranger to access their mind? Nicola Kelly speaks to performers, dentists and therapists who use hypnotism in their work and discovers how the brain functions when in a trance.

(Photo: A woman tends to her niece amid the poor surroundings of her home's kitchen. Credit: Frederic J.Brown/Getty Images

The Future Of Food20150312

More Or Less asks if it is true the world could run out of food in the next 40 years

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

In More Or Less, Ruth Alexander and Hannah Moore investigate a claim in a recent edition of the Economist that, “In the next 40 years, humans will need to produce more food than they did in the previous 10,000.“ With the world’s population due to reach nine billion by 2050, how confident can we be that everyone will have enough to eat?

BBC Trending reports on a video of an Egyptian wedding which went viral when the groom staged a mock Islamic state kidnapping to surprise the guests and make people laugh at the terror group. As the internet fills with more and more parodies of Islamic State’s propaganda videos, do they dilute the danger or are they a defence against fear? Mukul Devichand talks to Neil Durkin from Amnesty International and Egyptian tweeter, Mona El-Ashray. Plus, outrage in France over a viral video of children aged eight to 13, posing as gangsta rappers, waving guns and wads of cash and making drug references and sexist remarks.

In the Why Factor, Helen Grady asks why, if we hate crime, we love crime fiction and what do the detective stories of a particular time or place reveal about that culture.

(Image: Vegetable stall at Borough market in London. Credit: Press Association)

The Great Eu Cabbage Myth; White People And Dreadlocks; The Meaning Of Identity2016040720160408 (WS)

Could there really be 26,911words of European Union regulation about the sale of cabbage?

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

Could there really be 26,911 words of European Union regulation dedicated to the sale of cabbage? This figure is often used by those arguing there is too much bureaucracy in the EU. But we trace its origins back to 1940s America. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true today. So how did this cabbage myth grow and spread? And what is the real number of words relating to the sale of cabbages in the EU? Tim Harford presents for More Or Less.
Two million people watched a video of a confrontation between two American students over his dreadlocks. What’s wrong with white people having dreadlocks? One student had a problem with Cory Goldstein’s dreadlocks, because he is white and she believed he is “appropriating” her culture. And also in BBC Trending, a Mexican father seeks justice on social media for his daughter’s alleged rape.
How are our identities created? How far do they shape the way we see the world, and the way the world sees us? Mike Williams reports for the Why Factor, as part of the BBC World Service Season on Identity.

Could there really be 26,911 words of European Union regulation dedicated to the sale of cabbage? This figure is often used by those arguing there is too much bureaucracy in the EU. But we trace its origins back to 1940s America. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true today. So how did this cabbage myth grow and spread? And what is the real number of words relating to the sale of cabbages in the EU? Tim Harford presents for More Or Less.

Two million people watched a video of a confrontation between two American students over his dreadlocks. What’s wrong with white people having dreadlocks? One student had a problem with Cory Goldstein’s dreadlocks, because he is white and she believed he is “appropriating? her culture. And also in BBC Trending, a Mexican father seeks justice on social media for his daughter’s alleged rape.

How are our identities created? How far do they shape the way we see the world, and the way the world sees us? Mike Williams reports for the Why Factor, as part of the BBC World Service Season on Identity.

The Greek Odyssey20150716

The Greek economic crisis explained with help from Homer\u2019s Odyssey

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

With a little help from Homer’s Odyssey, Tim Harford explains for More Or Less the background to the Greek economic crisis.

BBC Trending asks if you should go online with allegations of domestic violence. This week millions of Facebook users watched an emotional video by an Irish woman, in which she spoke out about alleged abuse at the hands of her partner. But is it necessarily a good idea to take to social media? A woman whose story of abuse at the hands of her father went viral in 2011, Hillary Adams, says despite second thoughts at the time, she now has no regrets.
And is the Chinese government winning its fight to suppress dissident voices online? A few years ago Sina Weibo - the country's equivalent of Twitter - was crawling with tales of political wrongdoing but today those stories are harder to find.

And, in the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks how much nationality matters. When did we start defining ourselves by where we are from, and how does our nationality affect who we are?

(Photo: Bust of Homer. Credit: Getty Images)

The Ignorance Test20150416

Professor Hans Rosling tries out his Ignorance Test on Ruth Alexander for More Or Less.

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

In More or Less, Professor Hans Rosling - perhaps best described as a kind of international development myth buster – tries out his Ignorance Test on Ruth Alexander. His organisation, Gapminder, uses surveys to ask people simple questions about key-aspects of global development. Most people do badly. Can you do any better than Ruth?

BBC Trending reports on a photo in Saudi Arabia – "the trash boy selfie" – showing a young Saudi Arab posing in front of a dumpster with a small African girl in it. It’s caused outrage on social media, prompting a search for the girl and wealthy Saudi businessmen pledging thousands of dollars to her. And in the US a video emerged this week of a white police officer in South Carolina shooting, and killing, a black man, Walter Scott, who was running away from him. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter once again trended online and was used to highlight the issue of controversial black killings by US Police. BBC Trending speaks to co-creator of the hashtag, Opal Tometti.

In the Why Factor, Charlotte McDonald explores why we rarely discuss the subject of daydreaming. Freud thought daydreaming was not a useful activity, and many teachers across the world have been heard to say “stop daydreaming” to their pupils. But it seems to have redeeming purposes. Opera singer Noah Stewart explains how he uses daydreaming as a way to prepare himself for the stage. And Peter Moore, an IT contractor who was held hostage in Iraq, describes how his mind began to fill the emptiness of his days with dreams of escape and comfort.

The Ignorance Test20170420

; fake news from the left; the appeal of the subterranean world

The Ignorance Test20170420

The Ignorance Test; fake news from the left; the appeal of the subterranean world

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

Following the death of Professor Hans Rosling - perhaps best described as a kind of international development myth buster – we rebroadcast one of his interviews for More Or Less. He asked presenter Ruth Alexander three questions from his Ignorance Test, part of his project to investigate what people know and don’t know about key-aspects of global development. Most people do badly. How do you fare?

Has there been a rise in anti-Donald Trump fake news since he became President of the United States? We’re familiar with accusations that right-wing fake news is being shared online, but what about fake news from the left?

Also, what lures people to delve beneath the earth, peering into the dark recesses that exist underground? Simon Cox hears from the urban explorers trying to find the hidden layers of cities that exist deep beneath our feet, and from a caver who sees his pastime as “mountaineering underground”.

(Photo: Hans Rosling, Statistician, Founder of Gapminder speaks about the impact of growing global population on resources at the ReSource 2012 conference Credit: Matthew Lloyd)

The Influencer Business20180906

The power of social media influencers - what are the rules and ethics around advertising?

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

Earlier this year, a baker in Liverpool in north-west England vented her frustration on Twitter over constantly being asked by social media influencers for free cakes. Many other businesses publicly sided with Laura Worthington, but were they being fair? We investigate the impact of influencers – people with powerful social media followings. What are the rules and ethics around advertising and promotion?

What proportion of your country are immigrants? What proportion of teenage girls give birth each year? Research suggests most people get the answers to these questions, and many others about their own countries, very wrong. Tim Harford interviews Bobby Duffy, Global Director of Ipsos Social Research Institute and author of the book, Perils of Perception: Why We’re Wong About Nearly Everything.

Heartbreak after love lost has been written about for generations in literature and in songs. But what causes this physical feeling of pain? Is it a figment of our imagination, prompted by our society and culture, or can we fall sick or even die from a broken heart?

Photo Caption: Influencer Lisa Linh promotes a number of brands – including hotels and credit card companies
Photo Credit: Lisa Linh

The Life Expectancy of a Pope; How Anonymous Are You; Radio Requests20160421

Was Pope Francis being too pessimistic when he predicted how much longer he would live?

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

In 2014 Pope Francis alluded to the fact he did not expect to live more than another two or three years. A group of statisticians have taken a look at the life expectancy of popes over the centuries and decided that he may have been rather pessimistic. And is there an unusually high death count among athletes who took part in the London Olympics in 2012? The French press seem to think there is. But was it to be expected, statistically speaking, that the current total of 18 people would have died over the last four years since taking part in the sports event? More Or Less finds out.

A Russian photographer has carried out an experiment to show how easy it is to identify complete strangers. Egor Tsvetkov took photos of people in public places and then tracked them down on the Russian social media site VKontakte using a facial recognition app.
The experiment 'Your Face Is Big Data' was published online and has been viewed more than 70,000 times. BBC Trending also reports on an investigation into police officers in New South Wales over the alleged trolling of an Australian politician.

When there are so many ways in the world we can listen to music, why does getting your request played on a radio station feel universally so special and exciting? Gemma Cairney speaks to music fans and radio stations from Mexico to Myanmar for the Why Factor.

(Photo: Pope Francis. Credit: European Photo press Agency)

The Life Expectancy Of A Pope; How Anonymous Are You; Radio Requests2016042120160422 (WS)

Was Pope Francis being too pessimistic when he predicted how much longer he would live?

In 2014 Pope Francis alluded to the fact he did not expect to live more than another two or three years. A group of statisticians have taken a look at the life expectancy of popes over the centuries and decided that he may have been rather pessimistic. And is there an unusually high death count among athletes who took part in the London Olympics in 2012? The French press seem to think there is. But was it to be expected, statistically speaking, that the current total of 18 people would have died over the last four years since taking part in the sports event? More Or Less finds out.

A Russian photographer has carried out an experiment to show how easy it is to identify complete strangers. Egor Tsvetkov took photos of people in public places and then tracked them down on the Russian social media site VKontakte using a facial recognition app.

The experiment 'Your Face Is Big Data' was published online and has been viewed more than 70,000 times. BBC Trending also reports on an investigation into police officers in New South Wales over the alleged trolling of an Australian politician.

When there are so many ways in the world we can listen to music, why does getting your request played on a radio station feel universally so special and exciting? Gemma Cairney speaks to music fans and radio stations from Mexico to Myanmar for the Why Factor.

(Photo: Pope Francis. Credit: European Photo press Agency)

The Mathematical Secrets to Relationships20150219

More Or Less finds out how maths can help you find success in relationships.

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

In More Or Less, Tim Harford interviews Hannah Fry, author of “The Mathematics of Love”, who reveals how equations can provide some of the answers to finding a lasting relationship.

Trending’s Mukul Devichand hears how some right-wing Hindhu groups in India were planning to patrol the streets and social media on Valentine’s Day to try to force young courting couples to marry in an attempt to protect Indian traditions and culture. Trending also tracks down the man behind #ChapelHillShooting at the forefront of global outrage over the shooting of three Muslim students.

In the Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why some people refuse to be rich. A lottery winner who gave it all away, a vegetable stall owner who never allowed herself to accumulate wealth and a businessman who sold his house and flashy car to set up a Christian project in Uganda tell their stories.

(Photo: Valentine's day rose and chocolates. Credit: Press Association)

The Maths of Dating20150205

More Or Less hears how to use mathematics to find your life partner

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

More Or Less, presented by Tim Harford, hears how to use mathematics to find your life partner with Matt Parker, author of Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension. And what are the chances that two friends, given the same due date for their babies’ birth, actually do give birth on the same day? Tim discusses the reliability - or otherwise - of pregnancy due dates with Professor Jason Gardosi of the Perinatal Institute in the UK.

Trending asks if politicians should have a thick skin when people abuse them online and reports on the reaction of the President of Ecuador. During his latest weekly presidential TV address, Rafael Correa, named and shamed people who had written abusive comments about him on Twitter and Facebook. Trending hears from some those who were the target of his ire. Also, Amhai, the mystery "donor", has given $100,000s to streamers - gamers who broadcast their playing on live stream sites such as Twitch. This week "he" started given money to French gamers. But who is Amhai and why were those French gamers advised to give their money back? Trending investigates.

In the Why Factor, Helena Merriman asks why we like sad music - according to a recent study, it has become increasingly popular. So what is going on in our brains and bodies when we listen to it? Japanese pianist and music researcher Dr Ai Kawakami explains some of the positive feelings and British composer Debbie Wiseman demonstrates what makes a piece of music sound sad.

(Photo: A couple sitting on a park bench. Credit: BBC)

The Men Who Hunt Stolen Motorbikes20181018

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

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

The Mysterious Wikipedia Editor20180621

\u2013 the man who has angered anti-war activists.

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

Philip Cross has made hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia edits. But in the process he's angered anti-war activists and critics of Western foreign policy, who claim he's biased. So who is “Philip Cross”, the name on the account? We try to track him down.

The data behind all the football World Cups since 1966: Ben Carter talks to author and Opta Sports football statistician Duncan Alexander about how the ‘beautiful game’ has changed…through numbers. Which World Cups have seen the most shots, fouls, dribbles and, most importantly, goals?

And why has football becomes the world’s favourite team sport? Aasmah Mir asks why “soccer” has developed such a huge following, talking to players and fans across the world about the game’s accessibility, simplicity and unpredictability.

(Picture Caption: Screenshot of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, one of the world’s most popular websites. Picture Credit: Getty)

The Past And Future Of Fake News20180125

Fake news; real lives behind economic data, and how dreams turn into nightmares

The past and future of fake news – what can be done about social media misinformation and what impact does it have around the world? Mike Wendling asks a panel of experts from Buzzfeed, the Poynter Institute, and First Draft News.

Economists rely on data to describe what is happening in a country’s economy, such as the unemployment rate, average wages, and the number of people in poverty. But how individuals manage their money gives a different picture. Rachel Schneider, co-author of The Financial Diaries, describes the findings of a large study in the US.

Why do some sleep disorders turn normal dreams into terrifying nightmares and what do they tell us about the workings of the brain? Neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner, from Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals in London, introduces us to some of his patients with problems that include sleep paralysis and hallucinations and he explores the reasons why we dream.

(Photo: A couple looking at their finances. Credit: Wayhome Studio/Shutterstock)

The Past and Future of Fake News20180125

Fake news; real lives behind economic data, and how dreams turn into nightmares

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

The past and future of fake news – what can be done about social media misinformation and what impact does it have around the world? Mike Wendling asks a panel of experts from Buzzfeed, the Poynter Institute, and First Draft News.

Economists rely on data to describe what is happening in a country’s economy, such as the unemployment rate, average wages, and the number of people in poverty. But how individuals manage their money gives a different picture. Rachel Schneider, co-author of The Financial Diaries, describes the findings of a large study in the US.

Why do some sleep disorders turn normal dreams into terrifying nightmares and what do they tell us about the workings of the brain? Neurologist, Dr Guy Leschziner, from Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals in London, introduces us to some of his patients with problems that include sleep paralysis and hallucinations and he explores the reasons why we dream.

(Photo: A couple looking at their finances. Credit: Wayhome Studio/Shutterstock)

The People Who Remove Facebook Posts20181011

: how hard is the job of being a content moderator?

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

The People Who Remove Facebook Posts20181011

How hard is the job of being a content moderator on Facebook posts?

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

The People Who Remove Facebook Posts20181011

The people who remove Facebook posts: how hard is the job of being a content moderator?

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

The Problem with Antibiotics; Opposition to Afrikaans; the Origins of Life20160303

The problems with the antibiotics market, and the opposition to Afrikaans

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

In More Or Less Wesley Stephenson finds out how the search for new antibiotics is hampered not by science but by economics. Despite the $40 billion market worldwide there is no money to be made so big pharmaceuticals have all but stopped their research. Why is this and how do we entice them back in?

BBC Trending reports on the violence which has erupted over the use of Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Some students want to see the language banned from lecture theatres, and say its presence is a form of racism. But others think it should remain. And a Hollywood actor – Terry Crews – has posted several videos to Facebook about fighting his addiction to pornography. It sparked a wave of support in online communities dedicated to abstaining from porn.

In the Why Factor Mike Williams asks why we search for the origins of life. He visits the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where researchers from around the world have built the largest single machine on earth to discover some of the most extreme elements of nature, from the heart of an atom to the origins of the universe.

(Photo: Computer artwork of bacteria. Credit: Science Photo Library)

The Problem With Antibiotics; Opposition To Afrikaans; The Origins Of Life20160303

The problems with the antibiotics market, and the opposition to Afrikaans

In More Or Less Wesley Stephenson finds out how the search for new antibiotics is hampered not by science but by economics. Despite the $40 billion market worldwide there is no money to be made so big pharmaceuticals have all but stopped their research. Why is this and how do we entice them back in?

BBC Trending reports on the violence which has erupted over the use of Afrikaans at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Some students want to see the language banned from lecture theatres, and say its presence is a form of racism. But others think it should remain. And a Hollywood actor – Terry Crews – has posted several videos to Facebook about fighting his addiction to pornography. It sparked a wave of support in online communities dedicated to abstaining from porn.

In the Why Factor Mike Williams asks why we search for the origins of life. He visits the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where researchers from around the world have built the largest single machine on earth to discover some of the most extreme elements of nature, from the heart of an atom to the origins of the universe.

(Photo: Computer artwork of bacteria. Credit: Science Photo Library)

The Right Incentive; Promoting Marijuana; the Power of Addiction20160225

More Or Less asks when prize money of \u00a310,000 is not a good incentive

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

More Or Less reports on British snooker player Ronnie O’ Sullivan’s decision not to complete a maximum 147 this week because he said the prize money at £10,000 was too low. Can incentives demotivate as well as motivate people?

And how do you measure a coastline? It’s trickier than you might think.

BBC Trending looks at Facebook’s attitude to pages that advertise and promote recreational marijuana and hear from one company whose page was taken down. The sale of marijuana is legal in four states in America while still illegal under federal law.

Also, women in Trinidad and Tobago shared their experiences of sexual assault and called on the mayor to resign after he blamed a victim’s ‘vulgar’ behaviour for her death.

And, in the Why Factor Mike Williams asks why some people succumb to addiction. He asks scientists what happens when the biochemistry of the brain’s pleasure and reward system goes wrong and hears from former addicts about the power of addiction.

(Photo: Ronnie O'Sullivan. Credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty)

The Right Incentive; Promoting Marijuana; The Power Of Addiction20160225

More Or Less reports on British snooker player Ronnie O’ Sullivan’s decision not to complete a maximum 147 this week because he said the prize money at £10,000 was too low. Can incentives demotivate as well as motivate people?

And how do you measure a coastline? It’s trickier than you might think.

BBC Trending looks at Facebook’s attitude to pages that advertise and promote recreational marijuana and hear from one company whose page was taken down. The sale of marijuana is legal in four states in America while still illegal under federal law.

Also, women in Trinidad and Tobago shared their experiences of sexual assault and called on the mayor to resign after he blamed a victim’s ‘vulgar’ behaviour for her death.

And, in the Why Factor Mike Williams asks why some people succumb to addiction. He asks scientists what happens when the biochemistry of the brain’s pleasure and reward system goes wrong and hears from former addicts about the power of addiction.

(Photo: Ronnie O'Sullivan. Credit: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty)

More Or Less asks when prize money of £10,000 is not a good incentive

The Rise of the Giants20150924

More Or Less asks if the growth of the average rugby pack has finally plateaued.

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

The average rugby pack is much bigger than it was 20 years ago but has the growth finally plateaued? Populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970, a report says. But what does this actually mean? Tim Harford finds out in More Or Less.

BBC Trending hears from the victim of an online hate campaign apparently launched by Joshua Goldberg, a 20-year-old from Florida, who stands accused of inciting others to behave violently - from a computer in his parent’s home, using a string of false identities. Also, we meet the woman who started the #IStandWithAhmed campaign to support Ahmed Mohamed, a young Muslim boy arrested in Texas on suspicion of creating a 'hoax bomb', which was, in fact, a clock, winning Ahmed praise from around the world.

And the Why Factor asks why the world loves drinking tea – the second most consumed drink after water.

(Photo: England's number eight Billy Vunipola looks at a ball. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The Rise Of The Giants20150924

The average rugby pack is much bigger than it was 20 years ago but has the growth finally plateaued? Populations of marine mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined by 49% since 1970, a report says. But what does this actually mean? Tim Harford finds out in More Or Less.

BBC Trending hears from the victim of an online hate campaign apparently launched by Joshua Goldberg, a 20-year-old from Florida, who stands accused of inciting others to behave violently - from a computer in his parent’s home, using a string of false identities. Also, we meet the woman who started the #IStandWithAhmed campaign to support Ahmed Mohamed, a young Muslim boy arrested in Texas on suspicion of creating a 'hoax bomb', which was, in fact, a clock, winning Ahmed praise from around the world.

And the Why Factor asks why the world loves drinking tea – the second most consumed drink after water.

(Photo: England's number eight Billy Vunipola looks at a ball. Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

The Silver Snipers20180705

The Silver Snipers: Swedish pensioners test their aim at a professional eSports event

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

Five Swedish pensioners, who call themselves the “Silver Snipers”, test their aim at a professional eSports tournament, and try to prove that gaming is for everyone. Not only is gaming a hobby that connects them with their grandchildren’s generation, but it’s also helped them through some tough times in life.

Is it strange that Russian football players ran such big distances during their first two games of the FIFA World Cup? We look at how they compare to other teams and what it might signify. Also –is it just bad luck that Germany has crashed out of the competition?

How do we view our status in society: is it something we can define ourselves or is it always dependent on the opinion of others? In many parts of the world status is something we can change through education, occupation and wealth but what if you come from a culture where the status you are born with is inescapable? Priscilla Ngethe reports.

(Image caption: A team photo of the Silver Snipers / Credit: BBC)

The Story of Average; The Cartoon Mouse God; Not Just Blind20160414

How astronomers found the average from a group of numbers and defined \u201cthe average man\u201d.

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

We tell the story of how astronomers started to find the average from a group of numbers to help sailors read their maps with a compass. By the 1800s, one Belgian astronomer began to apply this to all sorts of social and national statistics – and the ‘Average Man’ was born. Tim Harford reports for More Or Less.

Dinkoism is a new Indian religion whose followers worship a cartoon mouse with superpowers. More than 40,000 people like the group’s worldwide Facebook pages but Dinkoism was really set up by rationalists in the state of Kerala to parody organised religions and many people have found it offensive. Would you want to attend a Summer Safari Waterpark? Many people who signed up on Facebook for attractive events were disappointed to find they didn’t exist, so were they were invented just to collect people’s personal data? BBC Trending investigates.

Why does blindness comes to define the identity of people who have little or no sight? People in Kingston Jamaica, Accra in Ghana, in Edinburgh Scotland and California in the US explain how they navigate a world which seems to see them in two ways, as either inspirational or deserving of pity. Or both. Lee Kumutat reports for the Why Factor.

(Image: Illustration of an observatory. Credit: Shutterstock)

The Story Of Average; The Cartoon Mouse God; Not Just Blind2016041420160415 (WS)

We tell the story of how astronomers started to find the average from a group of numbers to help sailors read their maps with a compass. By the 1800s, one Belgian astronomer began to apply this to all sorts of social and national statistics – and the ‘Average Man’ was born. Tim Harford reports for More Or Less.

Dinkoism is a new Indian religion whose followers worship a cartoon mouse with superpowers. More than 40,000 people like the group’s worldwide Facebook pages but Dinkoism was really set up by rationalists in the state of Kerala to parody organised religions and many people have found it offensive. Would you want to attend a Summer Safari Waterpark? Many people who signed up on Facebook for attractive events were disappointed to find they didn’t exist, so were they were invented just to collect people’s personal data? BBC Trending investigates.

Why does blindness comes to define the identity of people who have little or no sight? People in Kingston Jamaica, Accra in Ghana, in Edinburgh Scotland and California in the US explain how they navigate a world which seems to see them in two ways, as either inspirational or deserving of pity. Or both. Lee Kumutat reports for the Why Factor.

(Image: Illustration of an observatory. Credit: Shutterstock)

How astronomers found the average from a group of numbers and defined “the average man?

The Thought Show20170622

The results of the UK general election are in – but what do they mean? Did more young people vote than expected? How many extra votes would the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have needed to become Prime Minister? Would planned boundary changes have made a difference? Tim Harford and team give the latest analysis.

Quilting – it’s an innocent-sounding traditional art, and one with a rich social and political history. But it’s not immune to America’s fractious political climate, as a conflict has erupted online amongst those within the quilting world.

And all over the world this summer young people are sitting exams which will have a big impact on their future. However, is this one-size-fits-all approach to assessment really a good judge of ability and understanding? Or do exam results only tell us about a candidate’s ability to memorise material and perform under stressful exam conditions? Caroline Bayley investigates.

(Photo: young voters arriving at a polling station in Glasgow to vote in the General Election. Credit Andy Buchanan/Getty Images)

The Thought Show20170629

Grenfell Tower, a residential block in London, made headlines around the world when at least 79 people died there in a fire while many are still missing. But how unusual are such lethal fires? Are tower blocks really dangerous? Or are they safer than houses?

We investigate some of the fake victim images which appear online in the wake of deadly attacks and disasters. Who are the victims and perpetrators, and why are these images circulated?

Why do foreign migrants yearn to go home and what happens when they do? Some have had no choice, but others are influenced by nostalgia for their early lives. When they go back, can the old country live up to their hopes and dreams? Shivaani Kohok hears emotional tales from those returning to Jamaica, Sierra Leone, India and Ghana.

(Photo: Smoke rises from the 24 story Grenfell Tower in West London. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty images)

The Thought Show20170706

UEFA, European football's governing body, is currently trialling a new system for penalty shoot-outs that is based on mathematical research. Currently 60% of penalty shoot-outs are won by the team going first, so can this unfairness be overcome?

The death of a teenager in India at the hands of a mob led to an online campaign, which within days sparked a trending hashtag and worldwide street protests. We pick apart the #NotInMyName campaign.

And when many people struggle to maintain one relationship, why do some people enter into multiple simultaneous marriages? Lucy Ash speaks to polygamists around the world to find out why they were drawn to these complex relationships and what impact they have on the people involved.

(Photo: Various numbers. Credit: Shutterstock)

The UK\u2019s Foreign Secretary Gets a Fact Check20170504

The UK\u2019s Foreign Secretary gets a fact check; fashion brands and the hijab; being short

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

The UK‘s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn get a fact check for claims they’ve made since the General Election was called. How much does the UK pay to belong to the EU, how many French people are there in Britain and what’s happening to living standards? Tim Harford checks the statistics.

Why are some global companies and fashion brands now using the Muslim headscarf to promote their products and what impact is that having on female Muslims?

Does society discriminate against short people and if so, why? Is it worse for men than for women? Felicity Evans, who at 5 foot (152 cm) tall is shorter than average, investigates.

(Photo: Foreign secretary Boris Johnson arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street. Credit: Getty Images)

The World of Memes2018071220180715 (WS)

The world of memes: where they come from and how they spread political messages

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

How can memes be engineered to carry political messages? A team at University College, London, has found that some far-right websites and message boards have a disproportionate impact on the memes that spread on mainstream social networks.

The astronomer Carl Sagan famously said that there were more stars in our Universe than grains of sand on the Earth’s beaches. But was it actually true? We try to count the nearly uncountable.

Dividing people into groups is part of our social experience: we build our identities through groups we belong to, and these identities can be numerous and elastic, but what makes us decide who is like us and who is the other? Sandra Kanthal reports.

(Photo: One example of the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme.
Credit: Getty/iStock/BBC)

The World of Memes20180712

The world of memes: where they come from and how they spread political messages

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

How can memes be engineered to carry political messages? A team at University College, London, has found that some far-right websites and message boards have a disproportionate impact on the memes that spread on mainstream social networks.

The astronomer Carl Sagan famously said that there were more stars in our Universe than grains of sand on the Earth’s beaches. But was it actually true? We try to count the nearly uncountable.

Dividing people into groups is part of our social experience: we build our identities through groups we belong to, and these identities can be numerous and elastic, but what makes us decide who is like us and who is the other? Sandra Kanthal reports.

(Photo: One example of the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme.
Credit: Getty/iStock/BBC)

The World\u2019s Most Diverse City, #Airbnbwhileblack, Time Perception20160519

Is it true or false that London is the most diverse city in the world?

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

Is London the most diverse city in the world? The new London mayor Sadiq Khan has claimed that it is, but is he right? This month, British mathematician Sir Andrew Wiles will go to Oslo to collect the Abel prize, a prestigious maths prize for his work proving Fermat’s last theorem. Science author Simon Singh explains his work for More Or Less.

The hashtag #Airbnbwhileblack has been trending this week after African American twitter users accused some homeowners on the room booking website of rejecting them because of their skin colour. Greg Selden from Virginia says when he used fake white profiles he was accepted at properties who had previously said the room was unavailable. Plus, has Facebook been censoring conservative news trends? This week it was revealed that a team of journalists review the trending topics which appear in the top right hand corner of the site. That has led to allegations that the site has promoted more liberal stories. BBC Trending investigates.

Why do some weeks just fly by but sometimes minutes can seem like hours? Why do we perceive time differently in different circumstances? On the Why Factor, Mike Williams talks to Pakistani writer and broadcaster Raza Rumi, Claudia Hammond, author of Time Warped, David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine at Houston and John McCarthy, a British journalist taken hostage in Lebanon in 1986.

(Photo: A street in Brixton, London. Credit: Getty Images)

The World\u2019s Most Profitable Product; \u201cBlessers\u201d \u2013 South Africa\u2019s Sugar Daddy Problem; Why are we Afraid of Robots?20160526

Is it true that the iPhone is the most profitable product in history?

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

Was a BBC correspondent right when he described the iPhone as the most profitable product in history? To find out, the More Or Less team compare and contrast a range of products suggested by listeners.

In South Africa a 'blesser' is a man who showers gifts and money on women in exchange for a relationship or sex. An online backlash against these sugar daddies has been trending this week. Even the health minister has spoken out because of fears the 'blesser' phenomenon is contributing to high rates of HIV among young women. And in Bangladesh, Wikipedia is fighting online pirates who are using its site to allow people to secretly download bootlegged Hollywood films for free. The practice is illegal, but some say it poses difficult questions about internet access in the developing world. BBC Trending reports.

Robots are in our homes, our factories, on battlefields and in hospitals. Some are smarter than us, some are faster. Science fiction is filled with malign machines which rise against humanity. In the Why Factor this week, Mike Williams asks if we have reason to fear the machines we are creating.

(Image: An iPhone on a pile of coins. Credt: Shutterstock)

The World’s Most Diverse City, #airbnbwhileblack, Time Perception2016051920160520 (WS)

Is London the most diverse city in the world? The new London mayor Sadiq Khan has claimed that it is, but is he right? This month, British mathematician Sir Andrew Wiles will go to Oslo to collect the Abel prize, a prestigious maths prize for his work proving Fermat’s last theorem. Science author Simon Singh explains his work for More Or Less.

The hashtag #Airbnbwhileblack has been trending this week after African American twitter users accused some homeowners on the room booking website of rejecting them because of their skin colour. Greg Selden from Virginia says when he used fake white profiles he was accepted at properties who had previously said the room was unavailable. Plus, has Facebook been censoring conservative news trends? This week it was revealed that a team of journalists review the trending topics which appear in the top right hand corner of the site. That has led to allegations that the site has promoted more liberal stories. BBC Trending investigates.

Why do some weeks just fly by but sometimes minutes can seem like hours? Why do we perceive time differently in different circumstances? On the Why Factor, Mike Williams talks to Pakistani writer and broadcaster Raza Rumi, Claudia Hammond, author of Time Warped, David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine at Houston and John McCarthy, a British journalist taken hostage in Lebanon in 1986.

(Photo: A street in Brixton, London. Credit: Getty Images)

Is it true or false that London is the most diverse city in the world?

The World’s Most Profitable Product; €blessers? € South Africa’s Sugar Daddy Problem; Why Are We Afraid Of Robots?2016052620160527 (WS)

Was a BBC correspondent right when he described the iPhone as the most profitable product in history? To find out, the More Or Less team compare and contrast a range of products suggested by listeners.

In South Africa a 'blesser' is a man who showers gifts and money on women in exchange for a relationship or sex. An online backlash against these sugar daddies has been trending this week. Even the health minister has spoken out because of fears the 'blesser' phenomenon is contributing to high rates of HIV among young women. And in Bangladesh, Wikipedia is fighting online pirates who are using its site to allow people to secretly download bootlegged Hollywood films for free. The practice is illegal, but some say it poses difficult questions about internet access in the developing world. BBC Trending reports.

Robots are in our homes, our factories, on battlefields and in hospitals. Some are smarter than us, some are faster. Science fiction is filled with malign machines which rise against humanity. In the Why Factor this week, Mike Williams asks if we have reason to fear the machines we are creating.

(Image: An iPhone on a pile of coins. Credt: Shutterstock)

Is it true that the iPhone is the most profitable product in history?

The YouTube Stars Selling Cheating20180510

The YouTube stars promoting cheating by advertising an essay-writing company.

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

An exclusive investigation by BBC Trending looks at the YouTubers who are promoting academic cheating online. More than 250 popular YouTube channels have been paid to advertise Edubirdie, an essay-writing company. Many of the adverts, which collectively have had hundreds of millions of views, urge students to hire a “super smart nerd” to write their essays. It’s not illegal, but students caught handing in other people’s work can face serious consequences. So are the video stars misusing their power to influence and what is YouTube doing about it?

The statistician Hans Rosling used data to explain how the world was changing – and often improving – more than we think and he would challenge people to examine their preconceptions. Before his death, he started working on a book about the mental biases that tend to lead us astray. Tim Harford speaks to his son Ola and daughter in law Anna who worked on the book with him.

Why do people fall victim to online romance frauds? With false online profiles, doctored photographs, and convincing background stories, online fraudsters target people who are looking for love. Once they have hooked their victims, they set about stealing money from them. But what convinces people that their new relationship is so realistic that they become willing to hand over large amounts of money to someone who they may never meet. Shari Vahl reports.

(Photo: Popular YouTuber Adam Saleh has advertised Edubirdie on his channel. Photo credit: Adam Saleh/YouTube)

Thyroid cancer in Japan; Migrant worker rights; Belief in the supernatural20160324

In More Or Less has thyroid cancer gone up in Japan after the Fukushima accident?

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

More or Less checks out the claim that there are more mobile ‘phones than lightbulbs in Uganda. And is it true that there are 30 times more cases than expected of thyroid cancer among the under-19s following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

In BBC Trending, the migrant worker who sent a video about his working conditions as a driver in Saudi Arabia to an activist in India who posted it online where it was seen by millions. His employers denied his allegations and took legal action under a Saudi social media law.
And how a photo taken during the anti-government protests in Brazil began an online debate on the country’s racial and economic divide.

And in the Why Factor, Juju, Evu, Witchcraft, the evil eye, Voodoo, black magic. There are many names for beliefs that supernatural forces can be harnessed by people who are out to cause harm. Mike Williams asks why these beliefs still appear to have such a strong hold across different societies, crossing boundaries of wealth and education.

(Image: Woman looking at her mobile phone in Kampala, Uganda. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

Thyroid Cancer In Japan; Migrant Worker Rights; Belief In The Supernatural20160324

More or Less checks out the claim that there are more mobile ‘phones than lightbulbs in Uganda. And is it true that there are 30 times more cases than expected of thyroid cancer among the under-19s following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

In BBC Trending, the migrant worker who sent a video about his working conditions as a driver in Saudi Arabia to an activist in India who posted it online where it was seen by millions. His employers denied his allegations and took legal action under a Saudi social media law.

And how a photo taken during the anti-government protests in Brazil began an online debate on the country’s racial and economic divide.

And in the Why Factor, Juju, Evu, Witchcraft, the evil eye, Voodoo, black magic. There are many names for beliefs that supernatural forces can be harnessed by people who are out to cause harm. Mike Williams asks why these beliefs still appear to have such a strong hold across different societies, crossing boundaries of wealth and education.

(Image: Woman looking at her mobile phone in Kampala, Uganda. Credit: AFP / Getty Images)

In More Or Less has thyroid cancer gone up in Japan after the Fukushima accident?

Transgender in the US Military, India\u2019s Midnight Selfies and Eavesdropping20170817

Transgender people in the US Military, India\u2019s midnight selfies and eavesdropping

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

President Trump recently announced that the US Government "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military." This provoked criticism from Congressman Mark Pocan who said that there were 15,000 transgender people serving in the military today. That number was widely reported – but is it true?

A visual protest accompanied by a viral hashtag has sparked a new twist in the fight for women's rights in India. It began with one woman driving in her car late at night, and has resulted in the country's ruling party facing embarrassment and possible damage to their reputation.

On trains, in cafes, offices and in the street, we cannot help overhearing conversations not intended for our ears. Catherine Carr explores why we eavesdrop, and whether it is a harmless habit or a dangerous invasion of privacy.

(image: US Joint Service Honor Guard, Washington DC. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Trump Bump, Free Speech, Pull of News20170824

Is America\u2019s economy enjoying a Trump Bump? A fight over free speech and the pull of news

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

How accurate are President Trump’s claims to have created a booming economy in America? We take a look at the numbers relating to employment, wages and the stock market.

Following the violent clashes in Charlottesville in the US, internet giants have quelled the voice of one notorious neo-Nazi website. We talk to one person who campaigned to have the website shut down, and another who wrote for it. And, a classified ads site accused of facilitating sex trafficking has prompted action for a change in US law. Critics say if the law goes through, it could result in an attack on free speech on the internet.

News has a powerful pull. We spend so much of our time checking it, absorbing it and talking about it. And some of us even claim to be addicted to it. But why, asks David Baker, do we need news in the first place?

(photo: US President Donald Trump speaks to auto workers in Michigan. Credit: Getty Images.)

Trump\u2019s Crime Claims20160929

Is Donald Trump right to claim some US inner cities are more dangerous than Afghanistan?

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

Donald Trump has claimed that there are some inner city areas in the US which are suffering from the worst crime rates ever. They are so dangerous, he says, that Afghanistan is safer. But could this be true and can you compare the two?

A viral Justin Bieber parody is highlighting problems with prescription painkiller addiction in the United States. Z Dogg MD is a real doctor who uses a rap alter ego to discuss medical issues, and his new song has received over a million hits at a time when congress is debating whether to invest in new treatment programmes.

And why are we so fascinated with the superheroes which emerged from 20th century comic books and populate our cinema screens in multi-million dollar blockbusters? Mike Williams investigates.

(Image: Chicago - Neighbourhood residents watch as police investigate a homicide scene. Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Undercover With The Alt-right; Debunking Dubious Statistics And Job Interviews

Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish researcher for the British anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, infiltrated far right groups and spent months undercover. His operation now over, he tells his story, including seeing violence and death in Charlottesville, Virginia - the culmination of the ideologies he had witnessed throughout his time with the alt-right.

Can you fit a guide to questioning dubious statistics on the back of a postcard? Tim Harford gives it a try. He wants us to be curious: asking, why do we “like” one stat but not another, who wants us to see it, and – behind the headline – what is it really telling us.

Job interviews are stressful experiences and have mostly been shown by scientists to be ineffective at picking the best candidate. Catherine Carr explores the cultural and psychological bias that flaws them and asks how we might improve the experience both for the interviewee and interviewer.

Undercover With The Alt-right; Debunking Dubious Statistics And Job Interviews20180222

Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish researcher for the British anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, infiltrated far right groups and spent months undercover. His operation now over, he tells his story, including seeing violence and death in Charlottesville, Virginia - the culmination of the ideologies he had witnessed throughout his time with the alt-right.

Can you fit a guide to questioning dubious statistics on the back of a postcard? Tim Harford gives it a try. He wants us to be curious: asking, why do we “like” one stat but not another, who wants us to see it, and – behind the headline – what is it really telling us.

Job interviews are stressful experiences and have mostly been shown by scientists to be ineffective at picking the best candidate. Catherine Carr explores the cultural and psychological bias that flaws them and asks how we might improve the experience both for the interviewee and interviewer.

Undercover with the Alt-Right; how to debunk dubious statistics and job interviews.

Undercover with the Alt-Right; Debunking Dubious Statistics and Job Interviews20180222

Undercover with the Alt-Right; how to debunk dubious statistics and job interviews.

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

Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish researcher for the British anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, infiltrated far right groups and spent months undercover. His operation now over, he tells his story, including seeing violence and death in Charlottesville, Virginia - the culmination of the ideologies he had witnessed throughout his time with the alt-right.

Can you fit a guide to questioning dubious statistics on the back of a postcard? Tim Harford gives it a try. He wants us to be curious: asking, why do we “like” one stat but not another, who wants us to see it, and – behind the headline – what is it really telling us.

Job interviews are stressful experiences and have mostly been shown by scientists to be ineffective at picking the best candidate. Catherine Carr explores the cultural and psychological bias that flaws them and asks how we might improve the experience both for the interviewee and interviewer.

US Millennials\u2019 Political Engagement, Clashes in America and Serial Killers20171026

Are US millennials more politically engaged online? Clashes in America and serial killers

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

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics? Millennial statistician Kevin Lin designed a research project to see if there was evidence to prove this on the website Reddit. Kevin explains his findings and the pitfalls of trying to measure anything on social media.

This year has seen a sharp rise in the number of confrontations in America between far right white supremacists and a group known as antifa – the anti fascists. White nationalists claim they want to protect the right to free speech but their opponents believe it’s an excuse to promote often racist ideologies. The fight that lived online is now being played out on the streets.

Serial killers and their terrible high profile crimes have spawned a massive global industry... feature films, documentaries, TV series, books, magazine profiles, hit podcasts and video games. So why do many of us find serial killers so intriguing? Is it their psychology or the gory details of their murders? Becky Milligan investigates.

(Photo: Students from Los Angeles California high schools gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Us Millennials’ Political Engagement, Clashes In America And Serial Killers20171026

Are US millennials more politically engaged online? Clashes in America and serial killers

Did the 2016 US election galvanise young people to become more engaged in politics? Millennial statistician Kevin Lin designed a research project to see if there was evidence to prove this on the website Reddit. Kevin explains his findings and the pitfalls of trying to measure anything on social media.

This year has seen a sharp rise in the number of confrontations in America between far right white supremacists and a group known as antifa – the anti fascists. White nationalists claim they want to protect the right to free speech but their opponents believe it’s an excuse to promote often racist ideologies. The fight that lived online is now being played out on the streets.

Serial killers and their terrible high profile crimes have spawned a massive global industry... feature films, documentaries, TV series, books, magazine profiles, hit podcasts and video games. So why do many of us find serial killers so intriguing? Is it their psychology or the gory details of their murders? Becky Milligan investigates.

(Photo: Students from Los Angeles California high schools gather to protest the election of Republican Donald Trump as President of the United States. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

Virtually Making A Fortune?20180830

Why are people spending real money to buy land that only exists in virtual reality?

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

Why are people spending real money to buy land that only exists in virtual reality? In the virtual world of Decentraland, users can build whatever they can imagine. Some hope to make a profit by trading goods and services using the social platform’s own cryptocurrency. Could this be the birth of a new virtual economy or a cryptocurrency bubble waiting to burst?

Could computers do a better job than humans at exposing fake news? Tim Harford interviews Mevan Babakar of the fact-checking organisation Fullfact about the software tools she and her team are building to try to automatically verify statistical claims.

Why would you go to the coldest place on Earth? A place mostly devoid of life, where there are rarely more than a few thousand other humans spread out across a landmass twice the size of Australia. Shabnam Grewal reports on Antarctica whose sublime beauty is matched by its capacity to kill you, very fast.

(Photo Credit: Decentraland.org)

Weapons of Mass Deception20180607

The online dirty tricks and social media bots rupturing relations in the Middle East.

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

It is almost a year since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and their allies cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar. BBC Arabic journalist Owen Pinnell reveals how allegations of hacked websites, bot armies and other online dirty tricks have fuelled the ongoing tensions between the two sides.

Fans of Harry Potter have been asking - just how many wizards live among us? We follow a trail of clues in J K Rowling's best-selling books to provide the definitive estimate of the wizarding population.

And why do we believe complete strangers can guide us in improving every aspect of our lives? Mary-Ann Ochota explores whether the self-help industry really makes a difference.

Photo Credit: Reuters

What happened last night in Sweden?20170302

What happened last night in Sweden; Twitter bots target UK election; why do we stammer?

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

What happened last night in Sweden? Ruth Alexander tells the strange tale that connects Donald Trump, rape in Sweden, immigration and her reporting on More or Less.

Why did a network of Twitter accounts, usually the source of pro-Russian messages, pump out tweets about a very specific British election? BBC Trending’s Mike Wendling investigates.

And why do some people stammer? More than 70 million people globally – that’s about 1% of the world’s population - are affected by this neurological condition. Becky Milligan talks to people with a stammer to find out the effect on their lives. She also discovers what treatments are available and whether stammering can be cured.

Image: Getty / Joe Raedle

What is #QAnon?20180823

#QAnon \u2013 the online conspiracy theory that is firing up supporters of Donald Trump.

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

#QAnon is part of an online conspiracy theory firing up supporters of Donald Trump. We trace how it started on fringe message boards and has moved more mainstream, including to the floor of a President Trump rally.

A Twitter debate erupted recently about the number of wildfires in the US and in southern Europe, so we take a look at the numbers to see whether they have increased or decreased. As usual, the story is more complicated than it appears.

Psychologists describe the purpose of boredom as trying to get us to do something else: it can spur us on to more meaningful activity or tempt us into dangerous behaviours. Sandra Kanthal talks with researchers who think boredom is anything but boring.

When a Democrat Met a Republican20180503

When a Democrat Met a Republican \u2013 a project bridging the political divide.

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

When a Democrat Met a Republican: how an innovative project called Better Angels facilitates conversations between people from the left and the right at a time when the ideological divide in America is said to be at its greatest. Anisa Subedar reports.

There are fears in Puerto Rico that the statistics authority is about to lose its independence, as the government has developed a money saving plan to strip it of its independent board. While the Caribbean island recovers from a debt crisis and the devastation of Hurricane Maria, many are questioning whether the move could have damaging implications.

Also, why are we giving away our personal data so cheaply and with so little thought? Aasmah Mir asks if it is too late to secure our information and whether we should charge for it. She talks to a law professor who believes everyone now has sensitive facts or preferences recorded on what he calls a “database of ruin”.

Photo Credit: BBC (Deb Mosby/Tom Chamberlain)

When Companies Track Your Life; Tipsters On Trial; Loneliness20160623

How are companies using our personal data? Online retailers track us so they can sell us things, our banks and credit card companies know all about us and the big computer and telecoms companies could track our internet searches, our phone calls , and even our location. But this isn’t the first time companies have gathered sensitive data about their customers. More Or Less tells the shadowy story of how the personal details of Americans were pooled among insurance companies more than a hundred years ago.

Will you be betting on Euro 2016? Most people will probably rely on national allegiances if they decide to gamble, but thousands of social media users, particularly in Britain, are now taking advice from strangers on where to place their money. A new breed of tipster on Twitter and Facebook offer free advice but many are actually in league with the bookies. They’re paid around 30% of all the money their followers lose. So how much faith should people have in these new gambling gurus? Kate Lamble reports for BBC Trending.

What is loneliness and why do we feel it? Why do some people feel lonely when surrounded by people and others never feel lonely at all. Studies of twins in Holland have shown that loneliness has a hereditary element. And it can be catching, too. In the Why Factor, Mike Williams speaks to the Chinese artist Li Tianbing about how growing up under China’s one child policy shaped his art and to a Swedish entrepreneur who invited eleven people to come and live with her to combat her loneliness.

(Photo: A police CCTV camera observes a woman walking. Credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

When Companies Track Your Life; Tipsters on Trial; Loneliness20160623

How companies use our personal data; tipsters in league with bookies; loneliness

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

How are companies using our personal data? Online retailers track us so they can sell us things, our banks and credit card companies know all about us and the big computer and telecoms companies could track our internet searches, our phone calls , and even our location. But this isn’t the first time companies have gathered sensitive data about their customers. More Or Less tells the shadowy story of how the personal details of Americans were pooled among insurance companies more than a hundred years ago.

Will you be betting on Euro 2016? Most people will probably rely on national allegiances if they decide to gamble, but thousands of social media users, particularly in Britain, are now taking advice from strangers on where to place their money. A new breed of tipster on Twitter and Facebook offer free advice but many are actually in league with the bookies. They’re paid around 30% of all the money their followers lose. So how much faith should people have in these new gambling gurus? Kate Lamble reports for BBC Trending.

What is loneliness and why do we feel it? Why do some people feel lonely when surrounded by people and others never feel lonely at all. Studies of twins in Holland have shown that loneliness has a hereditary element. And it can be catching, too. In the Why Factor, Mike Williams speaks to the Chinese artist Li Tianbing about how growing up under China’s one child policy shaped his art and to a Swedish entrepreneur who invited eleven people to come and live with her to combat her loneliness.

(Photo: A police CCTV camera observes a woman walking. Credit: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

Who Won the US Presidential Debate?20161006

Polling on the Clinton-Trump TV showdown \u2013 and why not all polls are equal.

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

Polling on the first TV debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appears to be divided over who won it. But not all polls are equal: when internet polls can be hijacked by online activists, they can throw up some strange results.

Controversy has erupted in the US over a hip hop song that offers a step-by-step guide to committing burglary and contains lyrics suggesting criminals target Chinese homes.
We talk to one of the protesters who is trying to get the track banned.

In a few countries, terminally-ill people — suffering pain and distress — are allowed to get help from friends, family and physicians to bring their lives to an end. In many countries, it’s a crime. Mike Williams explores the sensitive issues at stake on both sides of the argument.

(Photo: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton first presidential debate. Credit: Getty Images)

Who Won The Us Presidential Debate?2016100620161007 (WS)

Polling on the first TV debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appears to be divided over who won it. But not all polls are equal: when internet polls can be hijacked by online activists, they can throw up some strange results.

Controversy has erupted in the US over a hip hop song that offers a step-by-step guide to committing burglary and contains lyrics suggesting criminals target Chinese homes.

We talk to one of the protesters who is trying to get the track banned.

In a few countries, terminally-ill people — suffering pain and distress — are allowed to get help from friends, family and physicians to bring their lives to an end. In many countries, it’s a crime. Mike Williams explores the sensitive issues at stake on both sides of the argument.

(Photo: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton first presidential debate. Credit: Getty Images)

Polling on the Clinton-Trump TV showdown – and why not all polls are equal.

Who\u2019s Pushing Syria Conspiracies?20180426

The influential Twitter accounts which are pushing Syria conspiracy theories.

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

As reporting on the ground in Syria becomes increasingly difficult, a disinformation war rages. We reveal a network of influential Twitter accounts, some with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers, which push conspiracy theories. Plus, against a backdrop of rising knife attacks in the UK, have social networks changed the nature of street violence?

Understanding the way we think about our finances can help us to spend more carefully and save more efficiently, says economist Dan Ariely. Tim Harford talks to him about the psychology of money. Plus Dan has an idea for ending arguments over sharing a restaurant bill.

Why in the USA are people who are least likely to be victims of gun violence the most likely to carry guns? Aasmah Mir talks to people getting their gun licence to try and untangle what lies behind their anxieties.

Picture Caption: Profile picture of Sarah Abdallah, part of a network of pro-Syrian government accounts identified by the social media research company Graphika Picture Credit: Twitter/@sahouraxo

Why Are Hollywood Actresses Paid Less Than Men?20170309

Sweden’s troll factory; and how to listen

There has been a steady stream of top Hollywood actresses who have complained that they have been paid less than their male co-stars. Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman have all pointed out the disparity. So why in the 21st Century is this still the case? Charlotte McDonald reports.

We investigate a far right website in Sweden that has been secretly recording phone calls with journalists and academics and then posting heavily-edited

versions of the conversations online. The man behind it says he is trying to broaden the debate about immigration. But the site’s targets say their words are being distorted and they feel intimidated.

And how does listening differ from hearing? How important is the art of listening to human relationships and how can we develop that skill? Datshiane Navanayagam reports.

Image: Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars. Getty Images/Valerie Macno

Why are Hollywood Actresses Paid Less than Men?20170309

Why are Hollywood actresses paid less than men? Sweden\u2019s troll factory; and how to listen

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

There has been a steady stream of top Hollywood actresses who have complained that they have been paid less than their male co-stars. Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman have all pointed out the disparity. So why in the 21st Century is this still the case? Charlotte McDonald reports.

We investigate a far right website in Sweden that has been secretly recording phone calls with journalists and academics and then posting heavily-edited
versions of the conversations online. The man behind it says he is trying to broaden the debate about immigration. But the site’s targets say their words are being distorted and they feel intimidated.

And how does listening differ from hearing? How important is the art of listening to human relationships and how can we develop that skill? Datshiane Navanayagam reports.

Image: Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars. Getty Images/Valerie Macno

Why January Makes us Want to Scream20170126

Is the third Monday in January really the day people feel saddest?

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

There are two things that you can be sure of in January and both of them make the More Or Less team want to scream. Firstly, Oxfam put out their ‘x number of billionaires hold the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’ statistic, a comparison which, as said in the past, does not make sense. The second head-banger is ‘Blue Monday’, the formula that supposedly tells us that the third Monday in January is when people are at their saddest. Each year it appears on different press releases promoting different products, but there is no science to it at all.

Also, could sending a GIF be a crime? GIFs – online flashing animations – can induce seizures in those with photosensitive epilepsy. So is knowingly sending a GIF to a person with epilepsy a crime? We find out about a case testing exactly that question.

And why do people believe conspiracy theories which cast doubt on the official narratives of some very serious events - from the Holocaust to 9/11, Diana to JFK, Lockerbie to Sandy Hook? What prompts people to think in this way and how should governments react to the people who doubt them?

(Photo: Edvard Munch's The Scream, 1893. No copyright /in the Public Domain)

Will One In Four People Develop A Mental Health Problem?2017040620170407 (WS)

The claim that “one in four? of us will suffer from a mental health problem is popular amongst campaigners, politicians and the media. But where is this figure from and what’s the evidence for it?

A paranoid conspiracy theory questioning the reality of the shooting dead of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 has acquired a new, disturbing power in America. Rumours that the killings were staged by actors have been pushed by alternative media mogul Alex Jones. His online news site Infowars has millions of listeners and viewers. One grieving father, Lenny Pozner, tells how he has led the online fightback.

Also, from ancient Greece to Instagram – has the six-pack become the ultimate sign of success for today’s young man?

(Photo: Commuters pass through Grand Central Terminal during morning rush hour Credit: Getty Images)

Will One in Four People Develop a Mental Health Problem?20170406

Where is this figure from and what\u2019s the evidence for it?

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

The claim that “one in four” of us will suffer from a mental health problem is popular amongst campaigners, politicians and the media. But where is this figure from and what’s the evidence for it?

A paranoid conspiracy theory questioning the reality of the shooting dead of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 has acquired a new, disturbing power in America. Rumours that the killings were staged by actors have been pushed by alternative media mogul Alex Jones. His online news site Infowars has millions of listeners and viewers. One grieving father, Lenny Pozner, tells how he has led the online fightback.

Also, from ancient Greece to Instagram – has the six-pack become the ultimate sign of success for today’s young man?

(Photo: Commuters pass through Grand Central Terminal during morning rush hour Credit: Getty Images)

World Cup Social Media Extravaganza20180719

A recap of the big social media trends of the World Cup: what dominated where, online.

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

A recap of the social media trends of the 2018 World Cup: how did the “beautiful game” dominate online chatter across the globe.

Should we have smaller families to save the planet? We examine the claim that having children is the worst thing you can do for the environment.
Caz Graham asks why people go to their school reunion, finding for some it’s the importance of being able to recount what has happened in their lives to those who were their first friends.

(Image: A French fan celebrates.Credit: Getty Images)

Worms Wars20150820

More Or Less examines the benefits \u2013 or otherwise - of mass deworming projects

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

A debate has been raging over the last month about the benefits of mass deworming projects. Hugely popular with the UN and many charities, the evidence behind the practice has come under attack. Are the criticisms justified?

BBC Trending asks if it’s time to get rid of the “comments” section. This month the Daily Dot decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and closed theirs down. Several other technology sites are assessing the need for online comment. But how do you foster engagement and dialogue without inadvertently feed the trolls?

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why do we keep diaries. He talks to the people who write diaries and the historians on a mission to “rescue” the diaries of normal people.

(Image: A nurse gives medicine to a child to prevent worms. Credit: AFP)

Wrestlers: Dying Too Young?20150813

Following the recent death of wrestler “Rowdy? Roddy Piper, More Or Less asks if wrestlers are more likely to die young. Charlotte McDonald explores why that might be and how they compare to athletes from other sports.

BBC Trending looks at a move by the Indian authorities to cull stray dogs in the state of Kerala. It’s led activists to call for a boycott of Kerala. We ask what impact this could have on the state’s vital tourism industry.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why do we travel. Why do we leave the comforts of our homes to seek out far flung places? Psychology has shown that travel broadens our minds and makes us more creative. But we travel for many reasons, from acquiring memories to seeing how other people live, even to build or re-invent our identities.

(Image: 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 25. Credit: Getty)

Wrestlers: Dying too young?20150813

More Or Less asks if wrestlers are more likely to die young than other athletes

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

Following the recent death of wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, More Or Less asks if wrestlers are more likely to die young. Charlotte McDonald explores why that might be and how they compare to athletes from other sports.

BBC Trending looks at a move by the Indian authorities to cull stray dogs in the state of Kerala. It’s led activists to call for a boycott of Kerala. We ask what impact this could have on the state’s vital tourism industry.

In The Why Factor, Mike Williams asks why do we travel. Why do we leave the comforts of our homes to seek out far flung places? Psychology has shown that travel broadens our minds and makes us more creative. But we travel for many reasons, from acquiring memories to seeing how other people live, even to build or re-invent our identities.

(Image: 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper at WrestleMania 25. Credit: Getty)

Xenophobia in South Africa20150430

More Or Less looks at the numbers behind claims fuelling xenophobia in South Africa

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

In More or Less Hannah Moore and Charlotte McDonald look at some of the numbers behind often cited claims fuelling xenophobic attacks in South Africa – that migrants are stealing jobs, and that South Africa receives more asylum applications than any other country in the world.
Plus, the Tanzanian parliament has passed an act that could make publishing certain statistics a crime. The government wants to impose higher standards on its National Statistics Bureau – a positive aim. But some journalists and researchers are worried about a clause preventing people communicating what the government deems ‘false’ statistics. With Justin Sandefur, research fellow at the Center for Global Development.

BBC Trending asks whether the ability to discuss feminism on Chinese social media has been quashed or whether the arrests of five feminists – now released - have empowered people to continue the feminist discussion, in spite of the censors. BBC China’s Vincent Ni joins Mukul Devichand. And in Iceland, folk musician Gylfi Aegisson objected to local authorities in the town of Hafnarfirði who are planning to introduce LGBT sex education into schools. Some people found his comments to be homophobic after Aegisson set up a Facebook group urging people to 'protect children'. A gay rights lobby group took offence to his views and created new hashtags using his comments starting an Icelandic Twitter trend. We hear from Árni Grétar Jóhannss from Samtokin ’78 and radio presenter Adolf Erlingsson from Radio Iceland.

And in stories, cartoons, advertisements and our everyday lives, we project human thoughts and emotions onto animals—and claim their strength and style for ourselves in the brand names of cars and cosmetics. The Why Factor asks why we do we do that, and what do we get out of it? Can we ever know what animals really feel? Maria Margaronis meets the furry fandom, who put on 'fursonas' and cartoon-like animal costumes to meet and socialise and neuroscientist Bella Williams explains how to read a mouse’s facial expression.

(Photo: Image: A South African holds up a sign saying 'stand up against xenophobia'. Credit: Mujahid Safodien/ AFP/Getty Images)

Yellow cards for Christmas?20161222

Are footballers deliberately getting suspended to get a break over the festive period?

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

Former football referee Howard Webb told a story recently that he had been approached by players in the English Premier League asking to be booked so they could be suspended for Christmas so they can get some time off. They have to play extra games over the festive period so work more than usual. One way to get a break is to rack up five yellow cards and be suspended. But would players really try something like that? Tim Harford asks journalist Rob Minto to delve into the data.

When trolls started stealing a disabled American boy’s photos and turning them into cruel memes, his mother Jenny decided to start fighting back online. We put her in touch with another mother who fought a very similar battle against the trolls… and won.

Everyday millions of us across the world get into our cars and drive but even the calmest person can become a raging demon while driving; screaming and swearing at the other drivers. What is it about driving that makes some people so angry? What can we do to stop it? We speak with professional racing driver Nathalie McGloin about keeping control and Glenn Scherer gives us a lesson in ‘car yoga’ to try and keep the rage away.

Zimbabwe\u2019s Economy20141211

What do the numbers in Zimbabwe\u2019s budget mean for the nation's future prosperity?

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

Zimbabwe’s budget provided a fascinating insight into the country’s economy last week. Ben Carter looks at what the numbers mean for the future prosperity of Zimbabwe and the challenges the nation faces. The programme hears from David Blair, chief foreign correspondent at The Daily Telegraph, Julian Rademeyer, director of fact checking website Africa Check and Russell Lamberti, author of When Money Destroys Nations.

In Trending
An online campaign around the hashtag #Yamecanse has been expressing the sentiment ‘I have had enough’. Videos, messages and photos have been voicing frustration with authorities over the country’s problem with corruption, crime and the drug cartels. The campaign was a reaction to the disappearance of 43 students after clashing with police. It has been 10 weeks since the students went missing, but the campaign has broadened out to a general protest against the state of the country. It is aimed not just at those in Mexico, but also calls on the international community to take action.

Millions of people are hooked on the podcast Serial, a spin-off of the US public radio show This American Life. Serial revisits a real life murder case that happened in Baltimore 15 years ago. A suspect was found guilty at the trial at the time, and is currently still in jail – though he insists he is innocent. The case has taken on a life of its own on social media, with half a million people discussing it on Reddit and some of them turning detective as they think they can shed new light on the case.

We look at the investigations occurring on Reddit and find out what happens when the online community becomes part of the story.

The Why Factor
We are all born naked, yet there is a taboo about displaying naked bodies in public. Societies around the world have established conventions about who may see what, when and where. So why does the naked human form provoke such strong reactions?

A fully-clothed Mike Williams visits a life drawing class, speaks to the founder of a topless protest group, and hears from an academic about how the former East German government tried, but ultimately failed, to ban public nudism.

(Image: Zimbabwean Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa. Credit: Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images)