What are you feeding your kids for breakfast?

From the New York Times’ Well blog:

With Cheerios and other processed cereals, “you basically have rapidly digested sugar mixed with bran and germ,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “It provides fiber and minerals, but also digests in the mouth almost immediately.”

That gives you a quick spike in blood sugar, but no energy for later.

Basically, if you’re going to eat (or feed to your kids) processed cereals, you should add fiber and fat to slow down the digestion of those carbohydrates so they’ll have enough energy later on.

Ask Well: Choosing the Right Grain for Your Morning

The roots of the European/Middle Eastern migration crisis

Interesting essay by Walter Russell Mead in the Wall Street Journal today. In places his analysis strikes me as a bit too simplistic, but I’m not an expert in the field. It’s certainly worth reading if you’re wondering about the historical roots of the current refugee crisis in Europe.

What we are witnessing today is a crisis of two civilizations: The Middle East and Europe are both facing deep cultural and political problems that they cannot solve. The intersection of their failures and shortcomings has made this crisis much more destructive and dangerous than it needed to be—and carries with it the risk of more instability and more war in a widening spiral.

WSJ: The Roots of the Migration Crisis

Warning: Insurance company gadgets could be hazardous to your safety

I recently got a letter from my auto insurance company offering me a deal: Install a little electronic gadget in our cars, and we would receive a discount on our insurance rates. The gadget would plug-in to the on-board computer and track how fast we were driving, how quickly we accelerated and braked, how far we drove and other information. It would periodically send that information to the insurance company.

The idea here is that by allowing the insurer to monitor how we drive, it could adjust our rates up or down over time based on how safely we behave behind the wheel. If the privacy implications of that don’t bother you, there may be other reasons to not to install these devices.

From Forbes writer Thomas Fox-Brewster:

Thuen, a security researcher at Digital Bond Labs who will present his findings at the S4 conference in a talk titled Remote Control Automobiles, has been figuring out how he might hack the vehicle’s on-board network via a dongle that connects to the OBD2 port of his pickup truck. That little device, Snapshot, provided by one of the biggest insurance providers in the US, Progressive Insurance, is supposed to track his driving to determine whether he deserves to pay a little more or less for his cover. It’s used in more than two million vehicles in the US. But it’s wholly lacking in security, meaning it could be exploited to allow a hacker, be they in the car or outside, to take control over core vehicular functions, he claims.

I doubt that hackers are going to suddenly start taking control of cars and sending them careening off bridges or crashing into other vehicles. But I also doubt that someone will try to break into my house this week — I’m still going to lock the doors when I go out.

For the record, Progressive is not my insurance company, so I have no personal knowledge of this particular device. But as the “Internet of things” creeps into every aspect of our life, safety and security will become much more important. The implications of a security breach like this go far beyond pilfered emails, stolen photos or even hacked credit cards. Criminal hackers could put life and limb in danger.

Let’s hope insurers, tech companies and automaker pay close attention to these issues.

Forbes: Hacker Says Attacks On ‘Insecure’ Progressive Insurance Dongle In 2 Million US Cars Could Spawn Road Carnage

A sane analysis of Obamacare

Greensboro benefits consultant Rob Luisana has an unusually sane, balanced discussion of the pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare, as its opponents like to call it). It’s worth a read.

If the ACA is repealed, what will replace it? Do we go back to allowing insurance companies to cherry-pick the healthiest individuals and groups, while charging substantially more or denying coverage for those with existing health issues? Lost in many conversations about health care is the important fact that up until 2014, the number of uninsured individuals was rising each year.

When I was a health care reporter at the Triad Business Journal, Rob was a source for stories on employee benefits and health insurance. His balanced approach (and accessibility) were a big part of what made him such a helpful source.

News & Record: Sensible discussion of health act could make it better