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 search for energy continues to be one of the driving forces of our economy and policy.  Now, the University of Massachusetts is offering a doctoral program in wind power to speed the development of this source of renewable power. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a pair of professors at U-MASS about the program.

The Health Show #1289

Dec 14, 2012

When they were first introduced, and it wasn’t all that long ago, antibiotics were hailed as miracle drugs.  They still are.  But strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria have been fighting back against these particular miracles for some time now...and the problem is worse in certain areas.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll find out how bacteria learns to fight antibiotics...and where the most resistant bugs are hanging out.

How free is free speech on America’s college campuses?  There are some schools that seriously restrict speech and expression and there are some that feel it’s leading to a less tolerant society.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from a first amendment lawyer about the state of free speech on campus.

We’ll also hear how the number of women graduating with science degrees is leading to rise in the number of women in the lab.

And we’ll spend an Academic Minute finding out what they’re looking at in those labs.

The Health Show #1288

Dec 7, 2012

Finding out a loved one has lung cancer is the beginning of a story that almost never ends well.  But once that story’s over, the people left behind often start a new one that tries to capture the spirit of the person they lost.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll hear from a father who lost a daughter and celebrated her life and writings in a book.

We’ll also listen in on a discussion about the disease with a doctor, a survivor and a sister who was left behind.

During the presidential election season there was a lot of talk about illegal aliens.  Well, get ready...we’re about to talk about aliens again...but the other kind, the ones from outer space. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our astro-biology series returns with a look at the search for extraterrestrial life, and what finding it might mean for our society.

Then we’ll spend an Academic Minute taking a look at a very different kind of aliens species...one that is already having consequences here on Earth.

The Health Show #1287

Nov 30, 2012

We’re going to start today’s show with one of those obvious statements you love so much: A stroke is a medical emergency.  The faster you recognize that you or someone you are with is having a stroke, the better the chance of survival.  Not everyone does.  Stroke is the forth biggest killer in the US and the number one cause of long term disability.  On today’s Health Show we’ll hear about the latest methods of turning stroke victims into stroke survivors.

Nobody who has ever read Moby Dick is going to walk away thinking Captain Ahab was a well adjusted specimen.  And Ahab may have fewer issues than some of Melville’s other characters.  Now, English Lit students are trying to diagnose just what the heck was going on with those classic characters. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, diagnosing literature.

Then we’ll hear about a number of NIH grants to study autism, find out how Sallie Mae can help you get the most bang for your college buck...and spend an Academic Minute getting out the youth vote.

Nobody who has ever read Moby Dick is going to walk away thinking Captain Ahab was a well adjusted specimen.  And Ahab may have fewer issues than some of Melville’s other characters.  Now, English Lit students are trying to diagnose just what the heck was going on with those classic characters. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, diagnosing literature.

Then we’ll hear about a number of NIH grants to study autism, find out how Sallie Mae can help you get the most bang for your college buck...and spend an Academic Minute getting out the youth vote.

Ever since the establishment of our democracy, citizens of the United States have demonstrated both pleasure and disgust with their government by exercising their right to vote.

Remember the story of Johnny Appleseed...the man who legend says roaming the country planting his seeds wherever he went?  Well, Janisse Ray isn’t roaming the country planting seeds, she’s touring colleges and universities talking about the importance of saving different varieties of seeds before they are lost forever. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from Janisse about The Seed Underground.

The Health Show #1286

Nov 23, 2012

Penn State, Syracuse University, the Catholic Church...these are just a few...the most publicized institutions that have been scandalized by child sex abuse.  Many of the abusers have been caught and put in jail.  But does that bring closure to the men who were abused?  On today’s Health Show, we’ll speak to a psychotherapist about the emotional health issues facing male survivors of child sex abuse.

Remember the story of Johnny Appleseed...the man who legend says roaming the country planting his seeds wherever he went?  Well, Janisse Ray isn’t roaming the country planting seeds, she’s touring colleges and universities talking about the importance of saving different varieties of seeds before they are lost forever. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from Janisse about The Seed Underground.

The Health Show #1285

Nov 16, 2012

It’s no secret that obesity continues to be one of the most pressing health problems in the US...and researchers are continuing to study the problem.  What’s to study, eat less and exercise, right?  Well, sometimes it goes deeper than that.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to a clinical scientist about the chemistry of obesity.

We’ll also hear about the science of sleep and sleep deprivation by someone who was on a quest to understand his own sleeping disorder.

History is happening every day.  Some days may be more notable than others, but we never know when we wake up in the morning if today is going to be a day that will be remembered forever.  50 years ago, there were 13 days in October that became some of the most tense in American history.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and hear how the history books remember those days.

Then we’ll head to Philadelphia, where a group of students are working to make school safe for everyone, include LGBT students.

The outcome of one Capital Region New York State Senate race could be the key to whether the Senate majority remains in the hands of Republicans, or flips to Democrats, giving Democrats full control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

The Health Show #1284

Nov 9, 2012

Prostate cancer isn’t easy.  Not that being diagnosed with cancer is ever easy...but with prostate cancer the treatment options literally go from all to nothing at all.  And sometimes, doing nothing is the best option.  On this week’s Health Show we’ll talk to one of the authors of “Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers”...and try to find out just how much fighting you should do against the disease.

We hear a lot about the amount of debt many students take on while attending college.  But how many of those schools are making sure those students know how to deal with that debt...or even understand it once they graduation? Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear about one northeast school that now mandates courses in financial literacy for all their students.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute trying to find a little financial sense in the cost of health care in the US.

The Health Show #1283

Nov 2, 2012

In the past couple of decades a lot of money and effort have gone into the fight against drunk driving...with positive results.  The refrain of “one for the road” is now not taken literally often.  One reason for the success is the ease of testing a driver for alcohol use...a simple roadside breath test.  For some time now, there have been efforts to duplicate that technology to test for drugs other than alcohol.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll hear an evaluation of that technology and hear where it’s already being used.

If you are looking for clues to the way life on Earth began, you have to dig deep.  I’m not talking about shovels and picks right now...I’m talking about studying the inner workings of the basic molecules of life: DNA and RNA. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, our astro-biology series returns to Earth with an in depth look at these fundamental building blocks of life...and how little we actually know about them.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute on another evolutionary miracle: gecko feet.

The Health Show #1282

Oct 26, 2012

So, is there ever a time when a doctor might suggest that you get a little more salt in your diet?  It probably won’t come to that, but most salt sold in the US contains Iodine...and for women who are expecting, that’s important.  On today’s Health Show, a look at thyroid issue in pregnant women.

We’ll also meet the new head of a world famous research facility in the Adirondack Mountains...and hear the story of a man in China who took extreme measures to save his wife’s life...and got arrested.

If you developed a good relationship with a baby sitter or a pediatrician, would you arbitrarily end that relationship each year and find a new one?  Well, when you stop and think about it, that’s exactly what most schools with students and teachers.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to a veteran school teacher and administrator about his new book with a very self explanatory title: “Kids Need The Same Teacher For More Than One Year”.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute learning if paying attention in class is really all that important in the long run.

The Health Show #1281

Oct 19, 2012

Here are three words you’ll be hearing a lot in the future: dense breast tissue.  At least you’ll be hearing them a lot in the next 25 minutes or so. For years it’s been known that is it harder to detect cancer on a mammogram if a woman has dense, as opposed to fatty, breasts.  Now, a number of states have passed laws mandating that doctors inform women of the density of their breasts...and give them options for further detection.  

Almost nobody thinks getting a college education is bad.  The thing is, almost nobody can afford to pay the tuition without a little help.  That brings us to the 529 plans. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about the college savings plans that help families save tax-free for college.

We’ll also get tips from the NIH for ways to start healthy habits throughout the school year...hear about a student in Myanmar who is trying to follow his passion for music... and spend an Academic Minute trying to direct traffic in the sky.

The Health Show #1280

Oct 12, 2012

It’s widely known that October is breast cancer awareness month, and there are many programs are articles devoted to the topic of breast cancer treatment and detection all month long.  We did one last week...we’ll do another next week.  What you may not know is that September was prostate cancer awareness month.  On today’s Health Show, ok, we may be a little late...but we’ll learn more about this disease that kills thousands of men each year.

Over a century ago, a scientist set up one of the first microbiology labs in the United States.  Today, that lab is called the National Institutes of Health. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn the history of the NIH on it’s 125th birthday.

We’ll also listen in as students in Pennsylvania protest budget cuts to education...and we’ll talk to the author of a new children’s book with Goldilocks and three dinosaurs.

We’ll also spend an Academic Minute with some Neanderthals trying to act smart.

The Health Show #1279

Oct 5, 2012

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women aged 35 to 54.  I thought we’d start today’s program with that number, just to remind people that even though breast cancer awareness has grown and treatments have improved...it is still a deadly disease.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to the author of the 5th edition of the Breast Cancer Survival Manual about how much has changed since the book was first published.

We’ll also head to the kitchen, when the Sneaky Chef will talk about her latest collection of speedy, healthy recipes.

From 1988 to 1993, Dania McKeller showed up on ABC TV each week as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years.  After the show left the air, she found a new passion: math. Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear from Dania about her forth math book for girls.

We’ll also meet a young man who composed, and published a crossword puzzle for the Sunday NY Times when he was only 17.

And we’ll spend an Academic Minute exploring an ancient Israeli mosaic floor.

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.

Pages