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The size of borrowing - In More or Less this week we asked a simple question about Gordon Brown's golden rule.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Series: More or less; Series 2
Episode 5
First transmission date: 2005-07-21
Published: 2005
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OU Digital Archive web pages.
Duration: 00:24:19
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Producer: Michael Blastland
Contributors: A. W Dilnot; Rob Eastway; Sam Savage
Publisher: BBC Open University
Subject terms: Mathematical statistics; Social sciences--Statistical methods
Footage description: The size of borrowing - In More or Less this week we asked a simple question about Gordon Brown's golden rule. The rule says that the government must keep the budget in balance over the economic cycle, so that there is no excessive borrowing. But this week, the Chancellor changed the accounting period in which that balance has to be achieved. A huge fuss followed, with critics accusing him of fiddling the figures and re-jigging the rule to mask problems with the budget. But More or Less looked at the margin by which it was feared he would break the rule and asked its favourite question about the current row: was the figure at the bottom of it all a big number? 'Masters of measurement' - We visited Britain's National Physical Laboratory, the masters of measurement, where we looked at two areas of its work, measuring sound and light. We also examined some of the applications, from the clunk of a quality car door to the satellite imagery used to calculate the rate of global warming. Healthy workout - Then there is exercise. It was reported that a few short bursts got you just as fit as a longer trudge around the gym, a charter for couch potatoes, said the headlines. But there were two variables in this equation, duration and intensity, one more easily measured than the other. We looked at the other. And while we are feeling sporty, we asked if maths can tell us how to win gold medals at the Olympics or how to take a penalty. Rob Eastway talked Andrew Dilnot through the hidden mathematics of sport. Mean mistakes - Finally, for this programme and this series, we talked to Sam Savage about what he calls the flaw of averages. He told us why basing your plans on the average of your expectations for the future can be disastrous, with some vivid examples from all walks of life.
Production number: AUDA930A
Available to public: no