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Icelandic App Aims to Prevent Accidental Incest

Before knocking boots, knock phones.

Three software engineers at the University of Iceland have designed an app to alert people if a casual encounter might in fact be casual incest.

By bumping their mobile devices together, the app lets users — and potential partners — instantly compare their lineage, showing the nearest common ancestors. If a close relative is detected, users are alerted via an alarm and text warning.

Due to its small population — just 320,000 people — and relative isolation, Icelanders have a higher risk of familial hookups. The country’s gene pool is somewhat self-contained. Most citizens can trace their ancestry to the island’s settlers from the 800s.

By requiring users to punch in their Icelandic social security numbers, the app utilizes genealogical information from a national database called, “Islendingabok,” which traces the ancestry of the country’s current inhabitants. The app won a University of Iceland contest celebrating the database’s 10-year anniversary.

[Source: Bloomberg Businessweek]

China Smacks Apple for Obscenity

China’s National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications ordered Apple to remove obscene content that was accessible via the company’s online app store.

Apple hasn’t been able to do anything right in China of late. In March, China’s state-run media blasted Apple for being arrogant and offering substandard post-sale service in China. The media assault prompted an unprecedented apology from Apple, which doesn’t want to get on the bad side of what is now its second-biggest market.

In its smut-removal campaign, Chinese authorities shut down 21 websites and ordered 175 to remove content. It is not clear from initial reports what Apple content ruffled China’s feathers, but it does look like Apple’s China headache will linger for a bit.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Microsoft, Foxconn Ink Patent Deal

Thanks to a deal confirmed Wednesday, Microsoft will collect a royalty for every Foxconn-built device that runs Google operating systems Android or Chrome OS.

Foxconn’s parent company, Hon Hai, licensed unspecified Microsoft patents for TV, tablets and smartphones that are built by Foxconn and that run on Google’s Linux-derived software.

Terms of the deal haven’t been divulged, but Microsoft said that an array of patents were licensed.

Foxconn — which has garnered publicity for allegations ofworker abuse, as well as factory riots and suicides — builds iPads, iPhones, Amazon Kindles and PlayStation 3s, among other products.

In 2011, Microsoft brought legal action against Barnes & Noble and Foxconn for Foxconn-built, Android-powered Nook and Nook Color e-reading devices.

[Source: The Register]

Nokia Sales Tumble

The bad was more bad than the good was good.

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia experienced a first-quarter plunge in sales of its basic phones, which was enough to spook investors despite stronger-than-expected Lumia smartphone sales.

Even though it sold 5.6 million Lumia handsets, up from 4.4 million the previous quarter, Nokia’s overall phone volume dropped 30 percent from the previous quarter. Net sales fell 20 percent, to 5.9 billion euros, from a year earlier.

[Source: Reuters]

David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author ofThe Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out hisECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

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