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. In addition to producing TBOOK, he is currently a reporter and on air host at WUWF Public Radio at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. 

Ways to Connect

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.

The Health Show #1263

Jun 15, 2012

Remember last year when everyone was talking about vitamin D and the great things it can do for you?  Well there are other vitamins...and every one of them is important to living a healthy life.  Let’s take Vitamin B-12, for example. You can take all the vitamin B-12 you want...if your body can’t absorb it, it’s not doing you a bit of good.  And B-12 is a vitamin that does a lot of good.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk about vitamin B-12, and the consequences to your body to not getting the amount you need.

Death and English class often go together...and yes, you’re welcome to insert any joke about your English test scores right here.  The fact is when studying English, you encounter death from the first time you pick up Shakespear.  But how often are students encouraged to write about their own experiences with death. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from the author of Death Education In The Writing Classroom.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute exploring death and a host of other events that can cause grief.

The Health Show #1262

Jun 8, 2012

Is the American health care system being corrupted by big pharma’s endless search for the next blockbuster drug?  That’s what author David Healy thinks and whether or not you agree...the picture he paints isn’t pretty.  On today’s Health Show, is American medicine on its way to Pharmageddon?

Then we’ll hear a compelling commentary about suicide...and the broken hearts and dreams it leaves in its wake.

Making sure a child is getting the best education possible has its challenges...not the least of which is struggling to get through to a child with a history of disruptive behavior.  Finding a way to crack this code of disruptive behavior could make a huge difference.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about The Behavior Code.

We’ll also find out about a new effort to grade the nation’s school’s of education. And we’ll spend an Academic Minute with some nice, round numbers.

The Health Show #1261

Jun 1, 2012

The first vaccine against Pertussis was developed in the 1930s.  By the 1940s it was being used nationwide and the number of cases of pertussis, or whooping cough began to fall.  But those numbers are now rising and some outbreaks around the country are alarming.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll look at the explosion of whooping cough cases in Washington State.

We’ll also see how a warming climate is affecting the health of elders.

Find out that you’re never too old to donate parts.

And find out why many people get caught in the “fat trap”.

OK, try to wrap your head around this little chain for a minute.  As the population ages, our doctors are ordering more and more labs tests to screen for disease.  So we need more and more labs and lab technicians to perform and read these teats.  But there’s another population that getting older - lab technicians.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about the coming shortage of laboratorians and what’s being done to train technicians to take their place.

The Health Show #1260

May 25, 2012

The great thing about spring is the chance to get outside and enjoy some gardening or play some ball.  The bad part about spring is all of the above...because outside and nature is where the ticks are.  Over the past decade or so the number of tick borne disease cases have risen in the US and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk to a public health entomologist about how to protect ourselves from ticks.

There’s a place in northern New York...a girl scout camp in the woods...where, for years, girls have gone to learn about nature and the outdoors...and about the value of loyalty and friendship.  That camp ran into financial problems and had to close, but now a group of the camp's supporters have given it new life. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, the story of Camp Little Notch.

We'll also cross the ocean and visit a European kindergarten in the woods...and we'll spend an Academic Minute finding out why western forests in the US are feeling the heat.

The Health Show #1259

May 18, 2012

During the months leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act...a lot was heard about the groups who very loudly opposed the bill.  But the major force fighting for the bill was a coalition formed in 2008 called Health Care for America Now.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk to the man who was a very public face of that group during the campaign for health care reform.

We’ll also learn more about a concept that’s getting a lot of attention in health care circles called the medical home.  And we’ll learn about alcoholism’s lost decade.

A lot of people like to relax on a warm day, puttering around alone in their garden. might not be as alone as you think.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our Astrobiology series goes into Microbiology mode to explore the origins of the unseen life around us.

And we'll spend an Academic Minute learning about the complex chemistry that goes into making a gourmet dinner.

The Health Show #1258

May 11, 2012

Diabetes is an important health issue in the US today.  Pregnancy and the complications of pregnancy are also a topics that have always been of great importance.  Put those two issues together and you have gestational diabetes...the number one complication of pregnancy.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk to a dietician about this growing health problem.

Last year at this time, the late Joe Paterno was an iconic college football coach at Penn State University...a man who had a job for as long as he wanted.  By the end of the year he had been fired, his 46 year legacy tarnished by a child abuse scandal. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we'll hear from the author of a new book on the continuing fallout of that scandal.

The Health Show #1257

May 4, 2012

Doing a program about health care means that, once in awhile, you’ll hit on a controversial topic.  We did that last week with Hormone Replacement Therapy...and we'll talk a little more about that next week.  But one topic that shouldn't be controversial, but still is, is childhood immunizations.  On today's Health Show we'll talk to an infectious disease expert from the CDC.

Vampires, deadly spiders, lethal lasers, out-of-control asteroids...who knew that math could be so perilous.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the author of “The Book Of Perfectly Perilous Math”...and find out how students are learning math while saving the world..or not.

The Health Show #1256

Apr 27, 2012

If there was a disease that caused bone damage, bladder incontinence and loss of sexual desire in just about everybody, you’d imagine there would be a worldwide search for a cure. The thing is...this is already happening and it’s not a disease.  It’s what a huge number of women experience before, during and after menopause.  On today’s Health endocrinologist gives us her take on what to do when you outlive your ovaries.

Then we’ll take a lighthearted look at a British comedian who is looking to break the world record for the oldest living man...about 80 years from now.

The Health Show #1255

Apr 20, 2012

There’s been a growing problem in the health care system that hasn’t gotten much attention but, little by little, has been affecting patient care and changing the way some doctors practice.  It’s the shortage of drugs.  Not experimental, exotic new meds...but everyday, reliable medications that doctors have used for years.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll look into the causes, effects...and possible solutions of this problem.

Then we’ll look into another shortage that, while not life threatening, certainly made life different in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Growing up with Dyslexia is no fun at all.  Growing up with Dyslexia and never being diagnosed and getting the proper educational help...that can make school a nightmare. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll meet Sonya Bridges...a teacher who grew up in that situation and is now reaching out to help others.

The Health Show #1254

Apr 9, 2012

In the year 2000, the Albany Medical center Prize for Medicine and Bio-Medical research was established.  Funded by the estate of the late philanthropist and businessman Morris Marty Silverman, the 500 thousand dollar prize is one of the largest prizes for medicine and medical research in the world.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll hear from the two doctors who will share this year’s prize.

In a world of constant stimulation and multi-media’s not often that a children’s book stands out...but that’s what the people at National Geographic set out to do with a collection of stories, songs and activities called The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonders.     Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to the book’s author.

Astronomers have discovered the darkest known exoplanet - a distant, Jupiter-sized gas giant known as TrES-2b. Their measurements show that TrES-2b reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it blacker than coal or any planet or moon in our solar system.  And the most amazing thing about this discovery is that, apparently, you can find one too if you know where to look.
Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our astrobiology series takes us hundreds of light years away, beyond our galaxy...right in our back yard.

The Health Show #1253

Apr 2, 2012

Around the world over a hundred million people are living with Hepatitis C...and without treatment, they are in danger of severe liver disease.  The big problem: millions of those people have no idea they have the virus.  On today’s Health Show we’ll get the facts about Hepatitis-C.  

Then we’ll find out about a much less common problem, Sjogren’s Syndrome and why it’s leaving many people dry.  And Sandy D returns looking for love.

This is the time of year when many high school seniors really start revving up their preparations for the SAT.  There are dozens of courses and guide books designed to help...but do they really make a difference.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, a student who aced his SAT will tell us how he upped his score.

Then we’ll visit a school in San Francisco that has grade schools writing novels, playing songs...and learning to weld.  And we’ll spend an academic minute in the expanding world of wireless networks.

The Health Show #1252

Mar 26, 2012

When you do a program covering health, occasionally you deal with certain topics that make people a bit squeamish.  Things like digestive health and reproductive and sexual issues and body image.  They’re not the type of things you rush right off to your doctor to discuss.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to a pair of doctors who specialize on these taboo topics.  

We’ll also learn how, and sorry to our vegetarian friends, keeping a healthy diet begins with healthy livestock.  And we’ll visit a city in Italy where fast food could mean a spleen sandwich.