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In Iceland, an App to Warn If Your Hookup Is a Relative

If you meet someone in a bar and hook up for the night, there are some risks involved. We think you know what they are.

If you live in Iceland, though, there’s yet another risk: The object of your desire could be a very close relative. Iceland has only 320,000 inhabitants, and virtually all of them trace their ancestry to the island’s 9th century settlers.

How, then, to determine whether you may be skating close to incest with that attractive stranger? There’s now an app for that.

Developed by three young software-engineering students at the University of Iceland, it lets users instantly compare their lineage by bumping their mobile devices together. The app includes an “incest-prevention alarm,” says Arnar Freyr Adalsteinsson, one of the developers. “When you bump, it shows your nearest common ancestors. If you bump with someone who’s too closely related, you get an alarm sound and a text warning.”

The app draws on an Icelandic genealogical database called Islendingabok, or Iceland Book, which traces the lineage of all the country’s current inhabitants, in some cases going back to 9th century settlers. The app, called IslendingaApp—yes, Iceland App—this month won a contest organized by the university to celebrate the database’s 10th anniversary.

Icelandic citizens have long been able to use the national database for genealogical research, including access via mobile phone. An ad by a local mobile-phone operator a couple of years ago showed a couple lolling happily in bed after a romantic interlude, only to have their smiles disappear when they consult the database on their smartphones.

With IslendingaApp, users not only can log into the database but also can use convenient features such as a calendar that reminds them of relatives’ birthdays. But by far the most talked-about feature has been “the bump,” Adalsteinsson says. “As you can imagine, it’s pretty catchy.”

The app can be downloaded here. But alas, it’s only in Icelandic, and users must have an Icelandic social security number to log on.

by Anonymousreply 1004/21/2013

This is fucking ridiculous. It's not "incest" unless you have a direct blood link with the person.

by Anonymousreply 104/21/2013

Well it's Iceland after all. One school in India has more people than that of Iceland.

by Anonymousreply 204/21/2013

Funny you should post this. I first heard about this a few years ago. It's not new, and Inwas telling someon about it. Once you get past third cousins, what difference doesn't make?

by Anonymousreply 304/21/2013

How does one "bump" with smart phones? Yes, I'm very new to this. I just got my first one last week.

by Anonymousreply 404/21/2013

[quote] Once you get past third cousins, what difference doesn't make?

Most of the world doesn't worry about it, because we are from a much bigger pool of ancestors.

But apparently in Iceland the small pool means lots of recessive genes and medical issues.

Not so much a cultural taboo as a very real health issue.

by Anonymousreply 504/21/2013

There are areas of the United States like that, r5. Pockets of southern Indiana are like that

by Anonymousreply 604/21/2013

True. West Virginia and Kentucky, too. Parts of Pennsylvania. Anywhere where there's several generations of the same people and not much population change.

I've done genealogy research on my family and while I don't think we have any issues, some of the other families in the region have cross married a number of times.

by Anonymousreply 704/21/2013

In Appalachia, the app comes with a workaround, a blindfold, 2 condoms and a guest appearance on The Jerry Springer Show.

by Anonymousreply 804/21/2013

I can't help but think it's really the cultural taboo, r5. People don't hook up in bars to have children.

by Anonymousreply 904/21/2013

Someone should sell this app in Korea, and make a version for marriage-minded hets as well.

Apparently that's a problem there; it's another small country with a small gene pool, and I've been told that men and women don't say much about themselves and their families early in the relationship. So, there have been some nasty surprises.

by Anonymousreply 1004/21/2013
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