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Icelanders Invent Anti-Incest App

In the age of unwanted pregnancies, revenge porn, and STDs, the sexually active forget about a classic problem in the bedroom: incest.

Fortunately, with a globalized population of an estimated 7.1 billion, we can all take comfort in the odds that sleeping with our cousins is slim to none.

Well, unless you live in Iceland.

See also: OKCupid Launches Body Type Filter

The Nordic island country has had its fair share of incestuous one-night stands due to several contributing factors. Firstly, the country has a population of roughly 320,000 people.

Add to that the lack of immigration and the fact that Icelandic natives do not use traditional Western surnames. Rather, the Icelandic children take the first name of their immediate parent, combine it with the suffix "son" or "dottir," and voila, a new last name is born.

Because of this confusing dynamic, Iceland has created Íslendingabók ("The Book of Icelanders"), a database that allows locals to track their genealogy. And while Icelanders may be curious to explore the long-forgotten branches of their family tree, software engineers at the University of Iceland have converted the database into a more modern mobile device.

Islendiga-App ("App of Icelanders") is an incest prevention app which carries the tagline "bump in the app before you bump in bed," letting users look up their genealogical connection by simply tapping their phones together.

But before you start thinking that Iceland is anti-interfamily dating, check out these excerpted quotes from app developer Arnar Freyr Aðalsteinsson in his interview with the Daily Beast:

"This feature enables users to find out how two people are related by bumping two phones together and instantly seeing how those two are related.

"A small, but much talked about feature is the loosely translated 'Incest Prevention Alarm' that users can enable through the options menu, which notifies the user if the person he's bumping with is too closely related."

Wait, "how" not "if"? "Too closely related" rather than just "related"?

Turns out that, while dating your sister is off the table, Icelanders can find a potential gray area in the realm of cousins and twice-removed relatives.

Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version to reflect that Iceland's population is around 320,000.

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Katie Johnson
Contact: Katie Johnson