Bob Barrett | WAMC

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

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.

The Health Show #1294

Jan 18, 2013

We’ve had nasty flu seasons before...but this year is turning out to be something especially gruesome.  The season started about a month early and there is now widespread flu in 47 states.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk to a flu expert from the Mayo Clinic about this years strain of the flu, and what you can do to stay healthy.

And while we’re talking about seasons...we’re in the heat of the football playoff season, so it’s a good time to hear from a doctor and author who says you should treat your health care like a team sport.

Remember correspondence schools?  That’s when you used to be able to take courses through the mail for complete a diploma or learn a trade.   Well people don’t use the mail for much anymore...they use the internet.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll learn about virtual schools and how a northeastern state preparing for their growth.

We’ll also hear from a student who’s welcoming everyone to her personal jungle in her new a book.  Then it’s off to California for a visit to a traditional Mexican music school.  And we’ll spend an academic minute with out of tune banjos.

The Health Show #1293

Jan 11, 2013

Most of the time on this program, I feel like I can hold my own in most discussions.  There are some topics however.  Take menopause.  Whenever we talk about this part of a woman’s life I feel like half the audience is saying “yeah, what do you know about it”.  That’s why I call on smart people to help me.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll talk about menopause, or, most accurately, perimenopause.

Little green men.  Robots with ray guns on their arms.  Klingons!  These are just a few examples of fictional life in outer space.  But, if you were given all the facts and numbers about another world, could you come up with a story about what life would be like up there?  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll talk to some student short story authors who turned facts and a good imagination into prize winning stories.

We’ll also spend an academic minute in a place we have a few more facts about...the oceans.

The Health Show #1292

Jan 4, 2013

Nobody has ever won an election by saying that Medicare is bad.  In fact, people who say that tend to lose elections by large numbers.  So, it’s no surprise that in a recent survey, 98 per cent of adults 18 or older said that Medicare is important to American’s health in retirement.  But what about the health of Medicare itself?  On today’s Health Show, we are going to be joined by two representatives of  A.A.R.P.  and  talk about the future of Medicare and Social Security...and what A.A.R.P.  is doing to support their members.

Anybody in the mood for an old fashioned, year-end best of show?  Good, because you’ve just tuned into one.  Today on The Best Of Our Knowledge, we’ll take another listen to some of our most interesting stories of the past year.

We’ll learn about a school in Brooklyn that uses Applied Behavioral Analysis to help teach children with autism.  Hear the frustrations of teachers trying to advance their careers in a tough political and economic climate.  And find out about a computer that is making to move from games shows to clinical labs.

The Health Show #1291

Dec 28, 2012

You meet the most interesting people doing a show on health every week.  Some are brilliant, some are funny and just want to take home with you and introduce them to mom.  On today’s Health Show, we’ll visit one more time with some of the most interesting people we ran across this year.

We’ll hear from a pair of brothers who both needed heart transplants, talk to a New York actress who turned a life altering accident into a one woman show...and get some more words of wisdom about weight loss from our friend Sandy D.

We made it!  The year is just about over, and it was a year with a lot of loud politics.  But how many Americans really understand the system behind the politics?  There has been a call for a greater emphasis on civics education in the US. We spoke about that earlier this year with an author who 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.

The Health Show #1290

Dec 21, 2012

Every year on The Health Show we hear about new conditions and treatments that shape the world of health care and point it new directions.  But with everything that’s new one thing remains constant: heart disease is going to kill a whole lot of us.

On today’s Health Show, we’ll rerun a conversation we had last February with a pair of heart specialists who published a complete guide to heart health in 2012.

We’ll also welcome back our friend Judah Leblang who found out about his own heart history this year.

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.