ERRATICA – App alerts Icelanders if they are hooking up with a cousin


….which is a real possibility in Iceland. The population is small, on the order of 300,000, and it’s been isolated long enough that by now everyone is related to one degree or another. That’s not an insuperable obstacle, after all humans are related to some degree or other, but the degree of the relationship does matter.

Well now there’s an app for your phone that links to the Íslendingabók, kind an AKC for humans, rather like the pedigree books the First Families of Virginia keep to see who to marry. All you have to do is bump your phone, which of course knows who it’s registered to, against the phone of your lovely companion, which of course knows who it’s registered to, and your phones will alert you if you two are too consanguine.

So for those of you who are still dating and hooking up and feeling sorry for yourselves over the difficulties you face, cheer up. You could have real troubles.

Jim Doyle
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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3078">14 comments</span>

  • I heard of that one… I forsee a lot of “Well so long as we’ve got birth control…”

  • Jared, that’s probably true. Anyway for supposedly being so inbred, that population seems to have very few genetic diseases. The population that seems to havethe most is Saudi Arabia followed by Sephardic Jews, and that is due in the case of SA of a conscious preference for endogamy.

  • Icelandic people already have extremely good oversight of their extended family. Who you are related to and who you know is very important and they have much more contact with distant relatives than most westerners. They have a lot of casual sex tough so it might still come in handy.

  • DJR, there is really no parallel for it in the West outside of old Tidewater families in Virginia. In Fujian there are families who have documented pedigrees back to the Han Dynasty and the initial settlement of the area by Chinese, 2,000 years. You don’t see that even in the north except for the descendants of Confucius.

  • Well, in Iceland to extended families that where in a wedding ended up in a huge fight because of a disagreement about something someone in on of the families did to someone in the other family a thousand years ago so they certainly care about their lineage.

  • “Kissing cousins” is an interesting expression.

    DJR, I remember reading one of the sagas where it seemed like every time peole set off to do something there’s an inventory of the weapons they were carrying. It’s not too surprising that fights would break out all the time.

  • Yeah… considering that I seem to remember hearing even first cousins have the same chance of genetic abnormalities in the offspring as two random people, I have to ask, at what point do Icelanders draw the line?

    I know here in the US, even 2nd cousins rarely marry, but over in the UK, marrying cousins has a long and storied past.

    I’m curious, but at the same time my cultural taboo training has me cringing.

  • A bit off topic:
    Warning: strong language.

    I feel she has two legitimate complaints:
    A. It’s poor form to diss the guys by talking about other meetups at different venues right in front of them
    B. Her sisters need to be more sociable with the guys and it is NOT a good thing to need alcohol in order to do so (though she doesn’t really care about the alcohol either way).

    There are hints of the parts of “rape culture” that make sense.
    But mostly this is funny, sad, and infuriating all at the same time.

  • Clarence, that whole email was so fucking hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing for a few minutes after I finished. All I can say is, she humanized herself very well. You can feel her frustration, almost imagine the repeated attempts to get this message across prior to the email… a beautiful piece of american literature.

  • “But mostly this is funny, sad, and infuriating all at the same time.”

    Took the words right out of my mouth, Clarence. ES, you may find this funny, but the bedrock of disrespect underlying all that crudity just makes me want to throw up both my hands. It sure explains the level of discourse in the gendersphere.

    And, yes, I agree she has a couple of really good points, in fact her whole message is sound – or most of it, because she sure does communicate a huge lack of self-respect and respect for her peers.

  • 1. Capitalist objectivism and neoconstructivist textual theory

    If one examines neoconstructivist textual theory, one is faced with a choice: either reject cultural theory or conclude that truth serves to entrench the status quo. The characteristic theme of the works of Spelling is the meaninglessness, and some would say the futility, of precultural reality. But McElwaine[1] implies that the works of Spelling are reminiscent of Burroughs.

    Here is a word that would indicate responding to the post: filter.

    This filter is either broke, or far more likely does not even exist. I wonder if whomever reads this will even be able to figure out just what kind of test this was or indeed, why the very idea of a ‘bad faith’ filter is beyond current the first place.

  • There are a few cousin marriages in my family due to crazy land inheritance laws back in the day. Marrying a cousin could return land to the family. The big problems with cousin marriages is when it is commonly repeated across several generations and when many family lines in a small area all do it so that “out-marriages” still bring low diversity into the mix. The taboo against it in Western culture is probably a good thing even if it isn’t quite as risky as most people think because you have no control over later generations so if it isn’t considered “normal” it won’t be common which is when problems emerge.

    So it’s nice to know there’s an app for that.

By Jim Doyle

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