BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 15:12 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Catch me if you can

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who it is alleged tried to blow up a plane on Christmas Day 2009
More or Less
Friday, 8 January 2010
BBC Radio 4, 1330 GMT

The government says it will look at targeted passenger profiling to improve airport security.

But would profiling make it easier to catch terrorists?

In weighing up the merits of targeted versus random checks the government will have to do some complicated maths.

The Exponential Function

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our failure to understand the exponential function."

So says Al Bartlett, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

He tells Tim Harford why he thinks we need to understand this simple arithmetic - and fast.

You can see a lecture by Professor Bartlett here .

Cost of alcohol

The NHS Confederation, which represents NHS managers, says the cost of treating alcohol misuse doubled in England between 2001 and 2006.

But does that really mean the problem got twice as serious?

More or Less adjusts the figures for inflation and gets some surprising results.

2010: A New Decade?

Money Box presenter Paul Lewis irritated some of his listeners by declaring 2010 to be the start of a new decade.

Being a numerate sort of chap, they cried, he should know better: the new decade starts on 1 January 2011!

But does it?


BBC Radio 4's More or Less was broadcast on Friday, 8 January 2010 at 1330 GMT and is repeated on Sunday, 10 January at 2000 GMT.

Subscribe to the free More or Less podcast.


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

Name:
Your E-mail address:
Country:
Comments:

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



SEE ALSO
Can statistics help catch terrorists?
11 Jan 10 |  Magazine
2010: A New Decade?
08 Jan 10 |  More Or Less


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
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