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More Or Less Friday, 29 November, 2002, 12:36 GMT
Making sense of millions
Numbers
Large numbers can be difficult to relate to

More or Less was broadcast on Tuesday, 3 December, 2002 at 1600 GMT on BBC Radio 4.

 Click here to listen to the programme


"Millions, billions, it doesn't matter what it costs."

When we know that one million seconds is about 11.5 days but a billion seconds is 32 years, we begin to get some big numbers into proportion and make sense of what's said about them.

More or Less looks at our ability - or inability - to relate to the very big numbers we hear.

When politics and economics is so full of them, how are we to get a feel for big numbers outside our own experience?

There's evidence all the way from remote tribes to neurology and even counting the bricks in the Tate Modern.

We examine the frequent health scares surrounding women's lifestyles and ask if they're justified by the statistical evidence of real danger. If not, what's their explanation?

Is there a moral agenda, or are women really more vulnerable, despite the evidence of their greater longevity?

Producer: Michael Blastland
Editor: Nicola Meyrick

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