Bob Barrett

Host/Producer, The Best Of Our Knowledge

Bob has been a part of the WAMC family since 2001.  He currently produces and hosts National Production's The Best Of Our Knowledge.  Over the years, Bob has produced The Environment Show and The Health Show for National Productions and hosted weekend mornings on WAMC for a decade. He is currently a reporter and on air host at WUWF Public Radio at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. 

Ways to Connect

The Health Show #1278

Sep 28, 2012

When a condition affects about a third of the population, you’d think it would be getting a lot of attention.  But half the people in the US with  Hypertension, or high blood pressure, are not doing enough to control their pressure.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll learn more about the problem and find out what can, and should be done.

We’ll also hear from an artist who survived breast cancer...and wanted to do more to help than just wear a pink ribbon.  You’ll be surprised when you hear just what she IS wearing.

If you were to look around and find yourself among some flattened, rotating disks of cool dust and gas extending for tens to hundreds of astronomical units, then congratulations, you’ve entered the neighborhood of an irradiated proto-planetary disk.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our Astrobiology series continues with a guided tour of that star studded neighborhood..

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute directing traffic in that neighborhood.

The Health Show #1277

Sep 21, 2012

If you look in the dictionary for the definition of the word “trauma”, you get this: an experience that produces psychological injury or pain.  But trauma can’t be boiled down to just a one sentence definition and be totally understood.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll look at the effects and perhaps some readies for mental trauma.

As parents, one of our biggest desires and challenges is for our children to be successful.  The thing is, sometimes we can be real pains in the neck about it and it’s not helping.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of the book “Teach Your Children Well”, and try to find out how understanding and support beat so-called hyper-parenting any day of the week.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute finding out what color are the plants on other worlds.

The Health Show #1276

Sep 14, 2012

Nobody likes a smart bacteria.  The growing number of antibiotic resistant germs is causing health officials around the world to find better treatments for infection.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll learn about antibiotic resistance...and how the scientific community is coming together to fight the problem.

We’ll also talk to a leading activist in the movement to stop bringing genetically modified foods to the market who has been hailed as a voice of reason...and dismissed as a blatant liar.  And we’ll find out how parents can make this a healthier school year.

Schools are becoming more sensitive and proactive about the problem of bullying.  But there are places in schools where there is hidden bullying, or even worse, bullying that’s expected and accepted. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about the issue of bullying on school sports teams.

Then we’ll head to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where a battle is brewing over a proposed charter school that hopes to raise test scores for minority students.

And we’ll also spend an Academic Minute hearing how going green is putting some companies in the black.

The Health Show #1275

Sep 7, 2012

State legislatures across the country are failing in efforts to fight cancer.  That’s the conclusion of a new report by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll hear what the report has to say about the future of the fight against cancer.

We’ll also find out if working the night shift makes you more susceptible to breast cancer.

Hear about efforts to end racial and economic disparities in health care.

And listen to a choral group who perform the last music their audiences will ever hear.

The Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa is the oldest and by far one of the most successful creative writing programs in the country.  How are we measuring success?  Graduates of the program have won virtually every major literary award, including 17 Pulitzer Prize winners, three recent U. S. Poets Laureate, and numerous winners of the National Book Award, MacArthur Foundation Fellowships, and other major honors.  Today on The best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll visit with the current director of the Iowa Writers Workshop.

The Health Show #1274

Aug 31, 2012

It’s convention time!  Those two special weeks where the political parties roll out a show to sell you on their particular version of democracy.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll commemorate the events with a couple of stories that have something to do with this year’s election.

Millions of students across the country are heading back to school.  In some regions, they already been back for a few weeks.  But in New York City, the new school year is just about to begin. High school can be a rough time even for people who speak English...but for kids who are new to the language and the country, well, you can imagine.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to author Brook Hauser about the year she spent at the International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn...and the book that came from those experiences.

The Health Show #1273

Aug 24, 2012

I cannot do an Alex Trabek impression so bear with me: This computer ‘question answering system” took the country by storm when it won on a popular game show.  The question: What is Watson?  On today’s Health Show, we’ll hear how clinical laboratories are converting this computer technology into Dr. Watson.

Then we’ll hear from a man who went the extra mile and flew halfway around the world to try and find a cure for his allergies and asthma.  Then he walked a few poop.

Do you know what a sedimentary scientist does?  If your answer is “not much”, you misheard me.  Not sedentary...sedimentary.  It’s someone who pretty much digs in the dirt and looks for answers. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a sedimentary scientist and geo-chemist who is searching for the origins on life on the Earth.

We’ll also spend an academic minute with plants that don’t need an dirt at least they didn’t a few million years ago.

The Health Show #1272

Aug 17, 2012

In the wake of the mass shootings last month in a movie theater in Colorado, a lot of important questions are being asked.  Many are about guns and gun laws...valid questions that we will not address here.  No, we’re going to talk about another obvious topic in the discussion: mental health.  On today’s Health Show, is there are way to spot a psychopath?

We’ll also talk about the state of children’s hospitals in the US...and find out what vegetarians, who also eat meat, are being asked to try.

OK, here’s a statement that reeks with obvious-ness: Students with diabetes have special needs.  The American Diabetes Association is working to train teachers and staff around the country to help with those needs.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about the association’s Safe at School program.

We’ll also hear about the scientist who figured out how to study cell division, meet the music man of Durham, North Carolina who keeps band students going with teaching or playing a single note...and spend an academic minute inside your brain.

The Health Show #1271

Aug 10, 2012

Just about every day you are faced with questions about what you eat.  Questions like: Is honey better for you than sugar? Is milk necessary for strong bones?  Are eggs bad for your heart?  And those are just the ones you ask before breakfast!  Now there’s a book that takes your food questions and does some research to find answers.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to the author of “Coffee Is Good For You”.

We’ll also hear the story of an uninsured accident victim’s journey through the health care system...and how she turned it into a one woman show.

Talking about race is never easy.  Talking about inequality among racial groups, and things start getting awkward.  Putting all that into the context of schools and education...congratulations you’ve started an argument.  The fact is that there is educational inequality in the US for many reasons.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll have a conversation about race, culture and inequality in two countries with difficult racial histories: the US and South Africa.

We’ll also spend an academic minute in a galaxy far, far away.

The Health Show #1270

Aug 3, 2012

Surprising reports have been coming in over the past six months or so about people contracting disease from dirty or reused needles.  The surprising part is that these are not IV drug users...these people are medical and dental patients and the injections were from health care professionals.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk about the state of injection safety in the US.

We’ll also hear about a new HIV/AIDS drug that’s being touted as a way to prevent infection with the virus.  And we’ll find out which California city is becoming the Golden State’s pot capital.

Some parents dread the empty nest syndrome...that time in life when all their children have graduated school and moved off to make a life of their own.  Hey...some parents look forward to it!  One thing is certain...a whole lot of nests aren’t as empty as they thought.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll college grads moving back in with the folks.

We’ll also spend some time with the new president of the University of Vermont...and spend an academic minute developing a social memory.

The Health Show #1269

Jul 27, 2012

Stop me if you’ve heard about one: Tuberous Sclerosis.  Yup, I don’t see too many people holding up stop signs.  Only a few thousand people in the US are living with this condition, and they know all too well the complications and endless medical procedures it brings along.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll learn about Tuberous Sclerosis.

You learn from your mistakes.  That’s a little nugget of wisdom that’s been passed down through the years...and has the advantage of being true.  At least according to children’s author Barney Saltzberg. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about Saltzberg’s book celebrating the well placed mistake: “Beautiful Oops”.

We’ll also celebrate the 65th anniversary of the best selling children’s books ever: The Little Golden Books.  And we’ll spend an Academic Minute with some young puzzlers.

The Health Show #1268

Jul 20, 2012

Unintended consequences. That’s what seems to be happening to a number of morbidly obese patients who get bariatric surgery...and end up developing problems with alcohol abuse.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to the lead author of a study on the topic and find out if there is any real relationship between weight loss surgery and alcohol use disorders.

We’ll also learn about a company called “A Place For Mom”...who help care givers around the country find the right place for an elder relative in need of special care.

This computer ‘question answering system” took the country by storm when it won on a popular game show.  What is Watson?  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how clinical laboratories are converting this computer technology into Dr. Watson.

We’ll also hear how students with Autism are being given help to make their way independently through life.  Find out about the importance of music education in school...and spend an Academic Minute learning how a musician’s wife paved the way for his lasting musical legacy.

The Health Show #1267

Jul 13, 2012

Think about what a family would have to go through if one of their children needed a heart transplant.  The doctor visits, the waiting for a donor, the surgery and recovery.  Now, multiply that by two.  On today’s Health Show we’ll hear about a pair of brothers in Northern New York who are both living with other people’s hearts...and how they are spreading the word about organ donation.

We’ll also hear from a heart transplant surgeon about what it’s like on the other side of the operating table.  And we’ll learn about an effort by 4-H to keep kids around the country healthy.

Survival of the fittest.  British philosopher Herbert Spencer coined that phrase back in the 18 hundreds and its been used as an interchangeable description of Darwin’s term “natural selection”.  But there are new theories that say life flourished on earth by cooperating...not competing. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our Origins of Life series takes a look at survival of the most cooperative.

The Health Show #1266

Jul 6, 2012

The court challenges are over, the decision has been handed down and now the arguing about the Affordable Care Act is finally over.  Ah, if wishing made it so.  On today’s Health Show we’ll take another look at the Supreme Court’s decision and look ahead to what another 30 or 40 million people with insurance means for the health care system.

Plus we’ll talk to a health provider in Massachusetts about that state’s experience with health reform...and we’ll find out if the country’s farm policy is making us fat.

Today, we’re going to talk about civics.  Now wait, before you get ready for a snooze or worse, change the station...hear me out.  There’s a new book out that says the only way to bridge the education gap between the rich and inner city schools is to realize that there is also a gap in those student’s life experiences.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, why schools should say No Citizen Left Behind.

We’ll also find out why a group known for farm life and education is building robots...and spend an academic minute helping older drivers.

The Health Show #1265

Jun 29, 2012

Medical errors is a pretty general headline on a lot of different problems.  From lost documents and test reports to hospital acquired infections and amputation errors...the problem goes from bad to extremely bad.  And some of the efforts made to solve the problems haven’t really helped.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to an editor of the new book “First Do Less Harm “First, Do Less Harm - Confronting the Inconvenient Problems of Patient Safety”.

We’ll also explore the concept of shared living...and how it’s helping seniors remain independent by relying on each other.

I think it goes without saying that on this program, we value knowledge.  The fact that we put that word in the title of the show is probably a dead giveaway.  But today we are going to hear from a Columbia University professor who thinks that ignorance hasn’t been given its due.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, is ignorance the driving force behind science?

We’ll also head to Minnesota and meet a high school chess champion...and we’ll spend an Academic Minute learning how cooperation is just how us humans roll.

The Health Show #1264

Jun 22, 2012

Nothing like opening up the show with a barrage of numbers...but these are some seriously eye opening numbers.  The Alzheimer’s Association has estimated that by the year 2050, more than 16 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s Disease at a cost to the economy of over a trillion dollars...a year.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk about Alzheimer’s Disease from a scientist’s point of view...and with some people from the association.

You can’t see them...but they’re there.  Billions of microscopic life forms just waiting for their chance to grab hold of something and start to grow.  And that includes you.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our astrobiology series gets small with a look at the tiniest life on the planet...and how it fares while off the planet.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute dealing with the issues caused by space travel.