Nerding Out With STEM Apps
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
These put the “T” in STEM.
By Libby Coleman
As a history-and-literature major in college who studied the representation of women in novels and sexual assault cases in the 1740s, I am the least knowledgeable person to talk about STEM. That’s a scientific fact.
Fortunately, as a person with an iPhone 6 (thank ya very much), I am well qualified to talk about apps. And these STEM-related apps are good — more entertaining than Google Maps and more informative than Tinder.
The scarlet tanager is my new favorite bird — sorry, pigeons. On iBird Lite, it is the fattest, reddest, most judgy bird around the eastern half of the U.S. in the summertime (it winters in South America’s tropical forests). For those interested in birding, this app is chock-full of information on where different species of birds live, what they sound like and, of course, what they look like. The app (Lite, and the well-named, ultimate versions alike) uses a search algorithm to identify birds and a GPS feature to predict which birds are likely to be spotted. So start vocalizing your bird calls, because, unfortunately, the app doesn’t allow you to text them.
Ever looked at a plant and thought, “Hey, pretty lady, what’s your name?” I thought so. Here’s your chance to find true love in nature. The app logs locations where users have found animals (helllllllo, eastern gray squirrels), plants and fungi, meaning that you can be the first in your group to spot a black-eyed Susan vine! Your fourth-grade crush would be so impressed.
You’re in the field. So why not record how nature’s changing with the seasons? Open your eyes a little and get ready to have a phenology account to track your animal and plant observations. Think of it as a diary but with fewer parts wondering why your coworker won’t love you back.
The Human Body Lite
This app is all about discovering your own body (something I’m good at on my own usually). Learn the bones, the organs, joints and the blood vessels by tapping and prodding without any shrieks from a real person. Decapitate a skeleton’s skull and feel great about it. I know that’s my dream in real life too.