Resolved to Read More? Try This Simple Hack

luza studios/iStock via Getty Images
luza studios/iStock via Getty Images

From keeping up with long-distance family members to keeping yourself entertained with viral cat videos, social media definitely has its uses. But spending every spare moment on your favorite platform can also get in the way of certain goals you might have for 2020—like reading more books.

As Inc. explains, most habits follow a similar psychological pattern, so replacing a bad habit with a good one is often easier than starting from scratch. In other words, instead of trying to establish reading as a completely new habit, you can train yourself to replace opening Facebook several times a day with opening a book.

To do this, first you need to convince yourself that reading a book doesn’t have to be a major production or time commitment, and you’re probably much more capable of reading a book in small chunks than you might think. Last year, the New York Public Library helped demonstrate this with a program called Insta Novels, in which they released full novels like Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in sections on their Instagram Stories—and more than 300,000 readers took advantage of the offerings.

Then, as creative entrepreneur and author David Kadavy explained in a Medium post, you have to be aware of what usually triggers you to hop on social media—maybe boredom or anxiety—and distract yourself by cracking open a nearby book. This might be as simple as rearranging your apps so that your e-reader app is featured prominently on your home screen, and your social media apps are hidden on the second or third screen. Or, it might entail buying lightweight paperback books that’ll fit in your backpack or even a large coat pocket, so you always have some easily accessible reading material.

For the first week or two, you’ll likely have to make a conscious effort to reach for your book instead of tapping the Instagram icon, but your unconscious mind will gradually start to anticipate reading as a natural response to your trigger.

Your mind won’t be doing all the work on its own, though—the book will help, too. As you read, you’ll probably get invested in the story or argument of whatever you’re reading, and it’ll be easier to return to it once you’ve built up that momentum.

Wondering what to read first? Choose something from our list of 20 best books of 2019 here.

[h/t Inc.]

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]