Icelandic anti-incest app keeps residents from becoming kissin’ cousins

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 6.51.49 PM

Iceland does not have a large population, but many of its most celebrated citizens are known for their progressive, quirky attitudes, like Bjork, or badass Reykjavik mayor Jon Gnarr.

Iceland likes to keep it weird, but weird as in they voted for a mayor who ran as a member of the “Best Party” and used to be a comedian and punk rocker. Weird as in drinking more Coca-Cola per capita than any other country in the world. Not weird as in having babies with close relatives.

Unfortunately, since there are only around 320,000 people living in Iceland, and most share common ancestors, almost everyone is related to each other distantly. This is cool if you want to claim kinhood with Sigur Ros but disturbing when you think about how easy it might be to accidentally crush on a cousin. So people are working to make sure relatives stay out of each others’ bedrooms by embracing technology.

An anti-virus software developer named Friðrik Skúlason developed an online database called “The Book of Icelanders” to help people trace their genetic heritage online, and now three app developers took the database and made an explicitly anti-incest feature on their “Book of Icelanders” app, which is available in beta for Android phones.Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 6.46.44 PM

The app developers are three Icelandic men named Arnar Freyr Aðalsteinsson, Hákon Þrastar Björnsson, and Alexeander Annas Helgason, who work together at a development group called Sad Engineer Studios.

When asked what they official slogan is – since all copy is written in Icelandic – the developers tell us the app’s motto is “Bump in the app before you bump in the bed.”

They explain that the app goes beyond a basic search function. “We added a birthday calendar to make sure you don’t forget your relatives birthday. The app even reminds you on the date, to guarantee you won’t forget it. The other big feature we introduced was the Bump. This feature enables users of the app to bump two phones together to instantly see how they are related. The ‘Incest Prevention’ is a fun feature that the user can enable through the options menu which will notify him with both text and sound if the one he bumps with someone who is too related to him.”

“We aren’t sure if other countries have such interestingly interwoven bloodlines like we do, but we’re pretty sure the Icelandic genealogy database is unique in it’s completeness. So even if the need is there, other countries would first have to build a similar database before considering a smartphone implementation.”

We asked if they knew of any cases where incest had definitely been prevented. “We have no proof that the app has prevented such an unfortunate relation but it’s nice to know a such prevention exists today. One reviewer on Google’s Play Store claims that it would have prevented it if he had it last year, but we highly suspect it to be a joke.” We sincerely hope so. 

Movies & TV

He created comics, movies, and superheroes. But Stan Lee lived for joy

Stan Lee was a creator, a celebrity, an icon, and beneath it all, a real-life good guy with all the same human qualities that made his superheroes so relatable. And his greatest joy was sharing his creations with the world.
Mobile

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably the best Android phones out there right now -- but they aren't perfect. Users have reported a number of issues and problems related to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Here's how to fix them.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.
Computing

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.
News

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."