BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Sexual or statistical abuse?

Child looking out of window
More Or Less
Friday, 5 December, 2008
BBC Radio 4, 1330 GMT

Between 5 and 10% of girls suffer the most serious forms of sexual abuse, according to reports based on a paper published this week in The Lancet.

These are shocking figures.

But are they true?

We investigate whether the statistics really support the claims of a hidden epidemic.

Maths and the Credit Crunch

Banks and hedge funds rely on highly paid mathematicians and economists known as "quants" to evaluate risk. Why didn't they see the credit crunch coming?

Paul Wilmott is a lecturer in financial mathematics and runs the profession's most popular website. He is a fan of quantitative finance - but he thinks that its misuse has played a part in creating the current banking crisis.

It is all to do with a tendency for some mathematicians to get fixated on the numbers, whilst failing to think about the big picture.

Read more on the risks of risk management

VAT cut

Graph, paper and coins
How much will we really gain from the new VAT cuts?

Many people have dismissed the recent reduction in the VAT rate from 17.5% to 15% as derisory.

"A difference of £2.50 in a £100 is hardly light at the end of the tunnel," was the typical complaint.

We explain why the news is worse than that.

Britain's Most Admired Companies and the halo effect

This week Management Today magazine announced that the drinks manufacturer Diageo is Britain's Most Admired Company.

The organisers claim the awards "offer a unique insight into the components of corporate reputation, by recognising key factors critical to business success."

Light above Simon Hughe's head
All round brilliance or the halo effect?

But is the survey based on flawed data?

Phil Rosenzweig, a professor at leading business school IMD in Geneva, claims the academics who spend months each year compiling the 'Most Admired' league tables are failing to take into account "the halo effect".

This is our tendency to perceive that a company which is doing wellfinancially is performing well in pretty much every field - from product quality and innovation through to the ability to attract and retain top talent.

According to Prof Rosenzweig, it is a phenomenon that is rife in the world of popular management science and in many of the leading business success books.

Read Prof Rosenzweig's critique of Britain's Most Admired

Is fishing more dangerous than boxing?

Boxers often defend their sport against those who would like to ban it by stating that it is less dangerous than fishing.

Listener Su Heggerty asked us to investigate whether the boxers' claim is really true.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less is broadcast on Friday, 5 December at 1330 GMT and repeated on Sunday, 7th December at 2000 GMT.

You can e-mail us by using the form below:

Send us your comments:

Your E-mail address:

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all emails will be published.

World economy 'weakest since 30s'
01 Dec 08 |  Business
Lower VAT rate comes into force
01 Dec 08 |  Business
The risks of risk management
05 Dec 08 |  Business
Britain's Most Admired?
02 Dec 08 |  Business

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific