Going Ape Over iPads
I didn’t plan on posting today. I have the head cold from hell (yes, I am a wimp when it comes to being sick) and the kitchen renovation guys are demolishing our counter tops downstairs, so while my recliner is available, it’s an inhospitable environment for writing. It’s a gloomy, rainy Socal day and I have a doctor appointment in less than two hours. But a headline caught my eye on Yahoo this morning and I just can’t let it go by. The headline said Apes Get iPads at the National Zoo. My Anything-but-Apple Inner Curmdugeon said, Oh, let me take this one, but in the interests of not offending any readers, I shut him down. One does wonder, though, how does the average iPad user feel about this? Do they say proudly that, I use the same tablet as Gunung the Orangutan? How does Apple feel about it? In other words, when you look at this picture,
is the appropriate caption, So Easy to Use an Orangutan Can Do It … or … The Tablet preferred by Lower Primates? Why iPads by the way? Why not a Google Nexus tablet? Or a Microsoft Surface? Yeah, I know, orangutans don’t use Excel*. Given the prominent display of the iconic logo, one has to think Apple is subsidizing this in some way.
To be serious for a moment, Apps for Apes is a real program administered by the Orangutan Outreach, an organization whose mission is to save the critically endangered orangutans and protect their rainforest home. Around the world, orangutan habitats are being rapidly depleted and the very intelligent apes are being wiped out with many orphaned apes being cared for in rescue centers. One of the goals of Orangutan Outreach is the rehabilitation of apes that have been kept in captivity so they can be released back into natural habitats. They also work to maintain environments in countries where the orangutans are endangered. You can read more about Orangutan Outreach … and donate if you care to … on their website, here. They do a lot of good work.
According to the website, The quality of life of orangutans living in zoos and sanctuaries is dependent on the amount and type of enrichment they receive on a daily basis. With the Apps for Apes project, we propose to introduce Apple iPad technology to orangutans in order to provide them with unlimited enrichment opportunities. But, really, aside from the obvious Planet of the Apes analogies, should we really be giving iPads to orangutans? How about giving the iPads to human children and giving the orangutans an extra vine to swing on or even a Rubric’s Cube? If you give an iPad to an ape, you may get an ape that is less depressed but if you give it to child, you may be providing an educational tool to the next Jonas Salk. And while it is noble to help an animal, it is more noble to help a human being. That’s why I’ve never been sold on PETA’s stand on never using animals in medical research and why, when Dennis Prager asks, If your favorite pet and a stranger were drowning and you could only save one, who would you save? I always answer, The stranger**.
What do you think?
* A Windows 8 Tablet runs Microsoft Office, including Excel, while most tablets do not.
** Dennis Prager’s answer is: You save the stranger no matter how much you love your dog. It illustrates profoundly the difference between values and feelings. I love my dog more than I love any stranger, but I wouldn’t save my dog because I have a value system that is stronger, behaviorally, than my heart.