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 #1308

Apr 26, 2013

The bombing of the Boston Marathon has a lot of people asking questions.  Questions like why.  Like who was involved.  Like is the danger over.  We’re asking questions, too.  Questions about the people injured in the bombing and what their lives will be like going forward.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to a doctor who served in Iraq about the traumatic injuries, treatment and future of the people injured in the attack.

One of the truisms of life is the older we get, the better we were when we were younger.  The same seems to be true when it comes to the founding fathers of the US.  And the founder who seems to be getting the most attention and praise over the past few years is Thomas Jefferson.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge it’s time for another History Class, focusing on a new biography of Jefferson and what he meant...and continues to the nation he helped create.

We’ll also spend an academic minute looking at another time in history, the time that inspired Les Misérables.

The news that the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are Chechnyan has created even more questions about their history and motivations.

Joining us now to discuss the recent political relations between Chechnya and the United States, Russia, and other nations is Mark A. Baskin, a Senior Associate for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York Center for International Development at and a research professor in the political science department at the Rockefeller College at the University at Albany.

The Health Show #1307

Apr 19, 2013

OK parents, I’m looking at you.  How old was your child when you first started adding solid food to the little bundle’s diet.  According to a new survey, if you’re like a lot of did it too soon.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk to a researcher from the CDC about their new findings.

We’ll also hear from the NIH about another problem that seems to be coming from our diet: a lot of us are becoming frail.  And we’ll hear about age-related Macular Degeneration and how you can take some steps that may help save your sight.

Technology and social media has made communication and staying in touch easier than ever.  Unfortunately, it’s also made bullying easier than ever and the problem is expected to get worse.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our series on bullying goes cyber.

We’ll also hear how some students really feel about high school, follow some students as they travel from Canada to Russia...and spend an academic minute finding out what sign language reveals about the brain.

There's an industry in western Massachusetts that provides well paying manufacturing jobs...a LOT of well paying manufacturing jobs...that pretty much flies under the radar.  It's guns.  In the Sunday, April 14 issue of the Boston Globe Magazine, staff reporter Neil Swidey goes inside this booming industry to learn about the mostly positive effects it has has on an area where the middle class has otherwise recently struggled. 

The Health Show #1306

Apr 12, 2013

About one in every 100 people in the US are living with epilepsy.  It is a condition that most people have heard of...but don’t really understand.  And the way it’s portrayed in the media often adds to the confusion.  On today’s Health Show, we have a program long conversation about epilepsy with a pair of doctors who specialize in the detection and treatment of people living with the condition.

Think about some of the conditions on the newly formed planet Earth.  Volcanic activity, temperatures around 100 degrees Celsius...not exactly a garden spot for life.  But research now is discovering new species of bacteria that can thrive in those conditions...and they are still around today.
Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our Astrobiology Series returns with a look at the discovery of new species of life on earth in the hot spots of the planet.

Bullying has been an unfortunate part of the school culture for, well, probably as long as there have been schools.  But in recent years, there have been organized efforts get end bullying, even as the practice has gone high tech. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we present the first installment in a five part series on bullying.

The Health Show #1305

Apr 8, 2013

It seems like you can’t turn on the radio or read a health blog anymore without finding something else that will eventually kill you.  Sunshine, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners...there’s no escaping it, they are all gunning for you.  But according to a new’s even worse than we thought.  On today’s Health Show, a conversation with an author of the Encyclopedia Paranoiaca.

The Health Show #1304

Apr 1, 2013

Think about what happens when someone has a traumatic health condition.  The condition is stabilized, treated...and then the patient goes through rehab.   It’s the same from car crashes to strokes.  But what about rehab for cancer patients?  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk about the growing field of cancer rehab,

We’ll also talk about how many US horses that were given drugs that are dangerous for humans are winding up in the European food supply.  And we’ll hear how the new farm bill is making it tough for some organic farmers.

Do you constantly split infinitives, start sentences with “and or “but” and end sentences with a preposition?  Have no fear, you’ve done nothing wrong.  It seems many of the grammar rules that we’ve been following over the years are completely bogus. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to an English professor about the seven bogus grammar errors that you don’t need to worry about...and a lot more about the state of writing in general.

Plus we’ll spend an academic minute finding out what goes on in our brains to create language in the first place.

The Health Show #1303

Mar 22, 2013

In 1977, the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind was released with the tag line: “we are not alone”.  You know what, we really aren’t.  And it has nothing to do with aliens.  There are thousands of tiny organisms living in our bodies right now and we couldn’t live without them.  On today’s Health Show we’ll take a look at the Human Micro Biome.

If you turn on a light, send a text message or watch TV with any device made in the last few years, you’s using LED technology.  Advances in LEDs are happening rapidly...and some of those breakthroughs are coming from unexpected corners. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll meet a college student who invented a new type of LED...and won a prestigious competition along the way.

We’ll also hear how schools need to be turning out more lab technicians than they are now...and spend a academic minute talking about lizard’s tails.

The Health Show #1302

Mar 15, 2013

To tell you the truth, I didn’t think the name “Superstorm Sandy” would stick.  But it has...and as the areas that were affected by Sandy continue to rebuild there is another consequence of the storm literally growing under people’s noses.  Mold.  On today’s Health Show we’ll talk with an expert in environmental medicine about what is being called Sandy’ second wave.

Earlier this year we told you about a law passed in the state of Massachusetts that gives the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education authority over any virtual schools that begin operating in the state.  At the time, there was only one such school...and that’s about to change.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear why a virtual school is literally closing.

The Health Show #1301

Mar 8, 2013

Over the years there have been two words that have summed up the most effective weapon in the fight against cancer...all cancer: early detection.  Now researchers are trying hard to make early detection quicker, easier...and earlier.  

On today’s Health Show we’ll hear about advances in the early detection of cancer...and hear from a clinical researcher about the feasibility of finding warning signs for cancer in blood.  We’ll also focus on one of those tests that is generating a lot of controversy: the PSA test for prostate cancer.

Talking about race in America is still an uncomfortable conversation.  But a professor in Boston found that teaching a class on the topic was a great way to bring the conversation to a racially diverse collection of high school students. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk about that class and about the new book “High Schools, Race, and America’s Future What Students Can Teach Us About Morality, Diversity, and Community".

The Health Show #1300

Mar 1, 2013

Once a woman is diagnosed, treated and cured of breast cancer...her journey is far from over.  In fact, it’s more than likely just beginning.  On today’s Health Show, a lively conversation with a breast cancer survivor about her book “The Adventures of a One-Breasted Woman”.

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.

While you were vacationing last summer, there were groups of middle school students around the country on a quest in the search for the origins of life.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our Astrobiology Series returns with the students of the Exxon/Mobile, Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, and learn about their quest to find life on one of the moons of Saturn.

Plus we spend an academic minute exploring the link between the winds and the waters.

The Health Show #1299

Feb 22, 2013

Do you have high blood pressure? Are you sure? Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if their blood pressure readings get dangerously high. On today's Health Show we'll talk about Hypertension and how to avoid it...or live with it.

We’ll also hear from the N-I-H about a new method of screening for coronary artery disease using M-R-I technology.  And we’ll hear a compelling story of how cops and other first responders in Chicago are changing the lives of mentally ill kids.

The president’s annual State Of The Union Address usually has a little something for everyone...and this year’s was no different.  When it comes to education, the president focused on the very young. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear portions of the president’s speech and hear how one state is trying to get a jump on the trend of early education.    We’ll also learn about a collection of letters from one of America’s great 20th century writers: Kurt Vonnegut.  Plus we spend an academic minute juggling hate speech and the first amendment.

The Health Show #1298

Feb 15, 2013

Over the past decade there have been an explosion of new laboratory tests for disease plus a steady movement to electronic health records.  At least in the developed world.  In countries where resources are scarce there is little to no health infrastructure in place.  But the answer to some of those issues may be sitting in your pocket.  On today’s Health Show we’ll hear how cell phones are being transformed into mobile labs.

There’s always been a conventional way to get an education.  You go to kindergarten, then grammar school, then high school, then college.  Then it’s off to the workplace, hope you enjoyed the ride, watch your step...have a nice day.  But with economic times being as dodgy as they’ve been over the past five years, that convention has been least when it come to college.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear how the non-traditional student is the new normal.

Plus we spend an academic minute teaching old dogs news tricks.  Young ones, too.

The Health Show #1297

Feb 8, 2013

David Goldhill is president and chief executive officer of G-S-N, The Game Show Network.  He is also an author and crusader for a consumer based universal health care system.  After the  death of his father, Goldhill, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. On today’s Health Show we’ll here from David Goldhill about his book
“Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It”

Teaching history can be daunting.  I mean, where do you start?  Even if you narrow it down to American history, there are so many stories that even the best teachers can only scratch the surface.  That’s what makes the “Don’t Know Much About...” book series so much fun.  Author Ken Davis takes a topic, like the presidents of the United States, and leaves you with information you didn’t know you didn’t know. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, a conversation with Davis about his book about the POTUSes.

Plus we spend an academic minute with a few negative ads.

The Health Show #1296

Feb 1, 2013

There are times when you listen to The Health Show and every feature flows into the next with a clear theme and obvious plan.  Well not today.  On today’s Health Show it’s four different feature on four different topics, none of which have anything to do with the other.

First we’ll hear about the growing tread of males becoming family care givers.

Then advise from the NIH: get up and do something...anything.

We’ll hear how many people in our gadget obsessed culture need a digital detox.

And commentary from our friend Judah

When you switch on your computer in the morning, what’s the first page you see.  For millions, that home page is Google...and the first thing they notice is the Google Doodle.  Now students are being asked to design there own Google Doodle for a nice scholarship. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll get details of the contest.

We’ll also hear how budget cut backs have changed the lives of some teachers in Chicago, attend a training session for emergency room personnel and spend an academic minute learning about a rare condition that affects a child’s coordination.

The Health Show #1295

Jan 25, 2013

Here’s one of those statements of indisputable fact that you love so much: nobody’s eye sight gets better as they age.  There have been recent advances in eye care research that are helping more people keep their sight longer.  On today’s Health Show, a talk about your eyes.

We’ll also learn how being born deaf affects your sense of touch.  And we’ll visit with a pain specialist who has some very good advice about concussions.

Many of us are still trying to make some kind of sense out of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Perhaps that’s impossible.  But in the days after the shooting people swarmed into the town to try and help. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from a Red Cross volunteer who went to Newtown the day after the shootings.