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Science, Maths & Technology

OU on the BBC: More or Less - Strokes, teachers and electoral reform

Updated Thursday, 14th May 2015

Tim Harford investigates strokes, the plight of new teachers, overhauling the electoral system and how computers struggle with big numbers as much as we do!

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Image of a primary school teacher's desk filled with pencil pots, black board behind etc. Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright: Brett Critchley |

More or Less investigates stroke figures published by the Stroke Association this week. The news headlines suggested there has been an increase in the number of strokes among working age men and women. Tim Harford speaks to Tony Rudd, Professor of Stroke Medicine, Kings College, London who thinks this does not show an increase in the incidence of strokes.

Are 40 percent of teachers leaving their jobs after their first year in post? Based on figures put out by a teaching union, newspapers reported the dire state of teacher retention. But More or Less show how these figures include graduates who did not start jobs in teaching.

In the aftermath of the general election, many people are calling for an overhaul of the electoral system to make it more representative of the number of votes that each party received. The More or Less team take a look at how a different system may have affected the outcome.

Big numbers do not just confuse most people – many computers struggle to process them too. Tim Harford talks to Chris Baraniuk who explains how a simple software bug afflicts computers controlling planes, spacecraft and has led to explosions, missing space probes and more.

Listen to More or Less

Tune into BBC Radio 4 on Friday 15 May at 16:30 to listen to this week's programme. More information and a link to listen again later will be available from the BBC websiteSee the series page on OpenLearn here.





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