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>> No. 27703 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 9:23 pm
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Ok so this might be a long one, not sure yet...

(Before I go any further I'll make it clear that this could just as easily be a mental health question as a technology one. I really don't know anymore and this is basically the last time I'm going to ask before I throw myself on the mercy of the NHS. I don't think I'm wrong but I wouldn't, would I?)

Let's say there's a massively successful tech company whose name begins with G (From hereon "Big G"). Let's say Big G also owns a successful video-sharing platform. I spend a lot of time on this video sharing platform just listening to music and watching clips of TV programmes from back in the day. Occasionally, while using this service, I will be reminded of a show I loved so much that I use a completely unrelated internet-based service to download the entirety of it, it doesn't matter what the show is but let's just pretend for the sake of argument it's Friends.

I NEVER use Big G's services on my computer and I NEVER torrent on my phone. As far as Big G can tell I probably don't even have a computer. I'm not more or less likely to discuss Friends on chat/messenger platforms on my phone than I am for shows I'm not actually ever going to download (let's say it's Everybody Loves Raymond) but still might watch clips of on Big G's video platform.

Furthermore I always use a vpn on my computer and I don't ever bother with one on my phone. Further, furthermore, I'm a Linux user on the desktop. Not because I especially care about free software and/or privacy, I just genuinely find it a better, friendlier-to-the-user OS than the various alternatives. I don't run Linux on my phone because I have a life and stuff and just use an OS made by Big G (technically it's still Linux but not really). I have NEVER(!!!!!!) logged in to anything related to Big G on my actual computers.

Big G can probably tell there are more devices on my network than I ever actually use their services with but they shouldn't(?) be able to tell what those devices are. It might be a a Raspberry Pi with an external drive stuffed with pirated shows but it could just as easily be a phone used by another resident who doesn't use Big G's email service for all they know.

And yet... whatever show I've just torrented. The next day Big G will start recommending me clips of it. Any show. It's literally like they're watching me.

How do they do this?
5 posts omitted. Last 50 posts shown. Expand all images.
>> No. 27709 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 9:39 pm
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>>27708
Except I use a VPN so...
>> No. 27710 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 9:43 pm
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Last week I searched for rugs on my work computer and my girlfriend started getting adverts for them on her phone. They know everything.
>> No. 27711 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 9:43 pm
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>>27707
This an excellent point.
>> No. 27712 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 9:43 pm
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>>27707
This an excellent point.
>> No. 27713 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 9:52 pm
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>>27706
Cookies aren't everything. Any code hosted on a website can collect data and return it to anywhere else. All that blocking cookies does is stop them from storing any data on your PC.

VPNs are overrated too, there's a lot of griping in the IT security industry recently about VPNs being misadvertised as a magic bullet which will make you completely anonymous, but in reality hiding your IP is only part of the equation.
>> No. 27715 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 10:13 pm
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It's algorithms and shit innit mate.

I've had many a stoned paranoid discussion about how the computers are watching us and that, and we basically came to the conclusion that it's not what they know that gives you away, but rather what they don't. They can put 2 and 2 together from scraps of information here and there; they don't need you to use their services on a particular computer, they just need to know what traffic is going in and out of a certain IP range and they've basically get everything they need to know.

See also Facebook having ghost profiles for people who don't have an account. They can build up an awful lot about you by cross-referencing what they know about all your mates and family, and then pinning all the spare mystery person info on you. And they're not wrong, because it is you, isn't it? It's like one of those charcoal rubbing things.
>> No. 27716 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 11:01 pm
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Oh I don't know, for all the talk of Big Algorithm it gets more stuff wrong than right even when the data collection is very explicit. Hence why you can never find that fucking song on HerTrombone (don't even get me started on when it shows related artists) and why Rainforest's product recommendations are comically wrong - it assumes I have young children and also that I would be interested in women's clothing for example.

So yeah, too good for it's own good and I reckon it will be it's own undoing as the simulacrum approaches reality-level.

>>27705
Well done for letting Big G find us. I'm for one am disappointed that we don't have word filters for these.
>> No. 27717 Anonymous
3rd January 2021
Sunday 11:45 pm
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>>27716

You underestimate the Machiavellian way these technologies are deployed. When you search for something it's obviously wooly and imprecise, because they want you stumbling onto other things you might spend money on along the way. For them, it's laser precise.

Also it's generally not as omniscient as you think it is from its ability to recommend you sitcoms. It's pretty scary yes, but there's a lot of confirmation bias going on. You notice all the times you were talking about a McBurger and hey presto, Mark Zuckerberg shot you a tailor made advert because he'd been listening through your microphone; but you never take any notice when it's recommanding you random shite like conservatory extensions or custom T-shirt printing.
>> No. 27723 Anonymous
4th January 2021
Monday 8:43 pm
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>>27715

This was all in the Snowden leaks.

There's an automated system where GPS location data is used to track a persons movements in relation to the movements of their network of peers. If behaviour changes from the predicted model, this flags up the individual for enhanced surveillance.

Is Privacy Badger and Ghostery still enough to keep the Surveillance Capital people away or do I need to up my game GCHQlad?
>> No. 27724 Anonymous
4th January 2021
Monday 9:15 pm
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OP here. When I wrote this I deliberately used fake examples of television I enjoy, literally shows I have always despised and would rather die than watch. Today on my way back from work I was watching some music videos on the bus and Big G started recommending clips of Everybody Loves Raymond. I do occasionally browse here on mobile but explicitly made a point not to today just because I suspected something like this might happen. Also I have never actually posted here from my phone.

>>27715
>See also Facebook having ghost profiles for people who don't have an account. They can build up an awful lot about you by cross-referencing what they know about all your mates and family, and then pinning all the spare mystery person info on you. And they're not wrong, because it is you, isn't it? It's like one of those charcoal rubbing things.

This is so scary but it explains everything. Makes me think why they don't catch all the real bad guys though. If basically no information at all can tell them what TV shows I like and dislike, not just that I like watching TV but specifically which programmes, then why can't they catch every single paedo and daft militant wog?

>>27717
>You underestimate the Machiavellian way these technologies are deployed. When you search for something it's obviously wooly and imprecise, because they want you stumbling onto other things you might spend money on along the way. For them, it's laser precise.

I'm starting to think that's not the real reason. It's to make us not panic too much about what they can really tell. It's like when you pretend to barely remember the name of a lass your mate likes that you really like as well so he doesn't think twice about inviting you to tag along to her birthday or whatever. All smoke and mirrors.

>>27723
>Is Privacy Badger and Ghostery still enough to keep the Surveillance Capital people away or do I need to up my game GCHQlad?

Never trusted these. Browser extensions are like, the best way ever to spy on a person, and if you know you're targeting people who are obviously trying not to be spied upon then it ups the chances of catching something interesting. If you're super-paranoid there are ways to block scripts and even images without needing any third-party extensions (unless you use one of Big G's browsers in which you kind of deserve to be spied on).
>> No. 27725 Anonymous
4th January 2021
Monday 10:09 pm
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This reads a bit like paranoia and schizophrenia.
>> No. 27726 Anonymous
4th January 2021
Monday 10:25 pm
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>>27725
Open to the possibility but someone would have to tell me "Hello, I think you are paranoid and schizophrenic and should see a doctor because..." and then actually finish the sentence instead of just leaving it.
>> No. 27727 Anonymous
4th January 2021
Monday 10:30 pm
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Is your VPN definitely configured correctly?
>> No. 27728 Anonymous
4th January 2021
Monday 11:23 pm
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>>27726
Well, I'm not really a doctor, but I do know that people who report gang-stalking, etc, exhibit some sort of psychosis.
>> No. 27729 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 5:16 am
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At a guess, because of trackers.

Try installing this, and try seeing what it flags for your torrent website. Decentraleyes "protects you against tracking through "free", centralized, content delivery. It prevents a lot of requests from reaching networks like Google Hosted Libraries".


https://addons.mozilla.org/en-GB/firefox/addon/decentraleyes/?utm_source=addons.mozilla.org&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=featured

Also stop using Chrome if you do, use Firefox and follow the instructions on how to properly set it up here - https://www.privacytools.io/browsers/#addons

That site in general is useful also.
>> No. 27730 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 12:41 pm
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> It's literally like they're watching me.

That's because they are.
>> No. 27731 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 12:48 pm
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This infograph might give a cursory overview on what might be infered from data collections. Say if Google has name, gender and location data they could likely infer you're part of XYZ demographic according to their other data, which would indicate % likelyhoods of offer grouping and all that jazz.
It must be immensly powerful and interesting to understand and have access to this kind of data.

There's an array of privacy tracking and anti-fingerprinting sites - i think accessable through hackthissite.org (but maybe elsewhere, i forget where i found them). The interesting part about the anti-fingerprinting thing is the difference between anonymity and 'blending into the cowd' - the aim isn't to make your system inpenetrable, but unrecognisable - meaning it looks common. Hide a tree in the forest and all that.
>> No. 27732 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 12:52 pm
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>>27726

I don't think you are schizophrenic or anything. You are paranoid, I mean, but quite justifiably so considering how invasive all today's information tracking and so on actually is.

Do you partake of the devil's lettuce, perchance?
>> No. 27733 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 1:10 pm
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>>27729
Same poster as >>27731; my concern with changing the settings mentioned in the second link is it identifies the computer user as 'security conscious' (whether capable or not). It reminds me of the saying 'jewels attract the thief'. It surely makes users look like they've something to hide, therefore painting themselves as targets.
So what's the tradeoff? Either be watched and behave as a human does, or attempt to cover your tracks and attract suspicion? People are generally werey of strangers in public, expecially if they're creaping around.
Maybe i'm just too thick to get through the meta.
>> No. 27734 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 1:32 pm
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>>27733

Turn on all the tracking, but confuse the shit out of the algorithms by opening hundreds of tabs of random weirdness.

https://www.trackthis.link/
>> No. 27735 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 1:39 pm
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>>27734

You can use the noisily app to do the same thing but slowly over time rather than trying to load a hundred tabs simultaneously.
>> No. 27736 Anonymous
5th January 2021
Tuesday 11:46 pm
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>>27703
First off, if you suspect it might be a mental issue go see a therapist if you can. It's no different from seeing a GP for a weird pain that's not going away, worst case they'll tell you it's nothing if you'rea younglad this might sound preposterous, but if you're old enough for the old finger up your bum for a prostate check you should know this). Doing so on the NHS in a timely fashion is going to be a challenge, unfortunately, thanks to massive backlogs.

Could you expand on what you mean by this:
> The next day Big G will start recommending me clips of it.

Where does it recommend it? On the streaming platform's side bar? Autocomplete in searches?
>> No. 27737 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 12:20 am
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Google now makes far better use of current context and linking that to related content than they used to. If you pay attention to autocomplete after only a couple of letters you'll see that it suggests things related to the very thing you've just been doing. We're all familiar with "people who bought this item also bought" on Amazon, but not everyone might realise how well Google/YouTube now does that transparently but for web & video activity/search.

>Occasionally, while using this service, I will be reminded of a show I loved so much

What exactly does that mean, and how likely is it that other people would have been reminded in the same circumstance?

Talking about Google in code is bonkers though.
>> No. 27738 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 12:59 pm
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>>27737

Time for my 'creepy Google story'. Fairly sure I've posted it before but oh well.

Some years back I lived in rural Gloucestershire and became known as the local 'computer bloke'. Never obtain this reputation if you live in a small community, needless to say. A local enterprise wanted me to sort out building a computer for them and I obliged, since that's how villages work. On a tangent, the more time I spent in a village the more I became convinced that this is how humans ought to be living if they want to be happy, but that's for another thread.

They'd given me keys despite barely knowing me (again, village) so at about 10 at night I strolled over and got into their office which happened to be on the second floor in a former church building now devoid of any other inhabitants. It's late at night in the countryside, which means absolute silence punctuated by the occasional owl. I fiddled things together and set Windows installing itself, leaving me with half an hour or so with bugger all to do. Except the Times crossword. One clue had been bothering me since I'd deduced the answer was a breed of dog, and a type of spaniel at that, but it clearly wasn't one I knew. A few letters in the first word set me thinking and I mused out loud 'Is it springer spaniel? Is there such thing as a springer spaniel?' and I whipped out my phone.

I typed in 'spr' and guess what it autocompleted to. I should point out that I don't own a dog and nothing in my ordinary internet usage would lead Google to suggest this. It was eerie for a second, as I realised I wasn't alone on the top floor of this empty, silent countryside building with the pitch black outside. Google's giant servers, floating off the coast of Iceland or wherever they were, had been listening to my phone the whole time and were in there with me. In a strange way it was almost comforting - you're never really alone now, long as you have a phone.
>> No. 27739 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 1:05 pm
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>>27738

There aren't all that many words beginning with "spr". Maybe half a dozen commonly used ones. Based on nothing more than the fact that a small handful of other people may have searched for "springer spaniel" that day than on an average day for the exact same reason as you did, that would be reason enough for the algorithm to figure there's a good chance that's what you're looking for and bump that to the top of the few "spr" words.
>> No. 27740 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 1:18 pm
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>>27739
It's entirely possible, though the number of people googling answers for the Times crossword is unlikely to be significant. I'd have guessed 'sprain' would be top as people look for ways of treating them, or speeding up their own recovery.

In any case I prefer my own story. Enough people have already demonstrated that changing their conversation topic to something unusual leads to targeted ads that have nothing to do with their day-to-day lives.
>> No. 27741 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 6:09 pm
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>>27740
Lots of people might have stories like that, but have any actually been able to demonstrate it happens in a controlled way? I doubt it.
>> No. 27742 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 6:37 pm
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>>27741

What people don't really understand is a) the precision of Google's IP localisation and b) the power of correlation.

In the case of >>27738, Google can very easily track your location through your phone. If you're carrying a phone, you might as well be logged in to Google on every computer you sit down at, because it's trivial to connect the two.

People like to think that they're unique, but even weirdos tend to follow some kind of weirdo herd. Machine learning is astonishingly good at finding patterns in noisy data, even if those patterns aren't legible to human observers. These algorithms can pick up behavioural hints that we're oblivious to and use them to make very accurate predictions about who we are and what we do.

We know that your phone isn't actually listening to you, because it would absolutely hose your battery and leave obvious footprints in your data traffic. The creepy part is that your phone doesn't need to listen to you, because it can infer massive amounts of information from the data that you give it.

Check this out and prepare to be perturbed:

https://myactivity.google.com/
>> No. 27743 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 7:03 pm
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>>27742
> We know that your phone isn't actually listening to you, because it would absolutely hose your battery and leave obvious footprints in your data traffic.

This actually happened with an early version of Siri on iOS. It was found pretty quickly because users noticed that their batteries were draining and their data was getting rinsed. I don't think the official reason for the "mysterious behaviour" was ever publicly disclosed but there it is.

> In the case of >>27738, Google can very easily track your location through your phone. If you're carrying a phone, you might as well be logged in to Google on every computer you sit down at, because it's trivial to connect the two.

This is depressingly true. Even if I didn't use the same gmail account on my phone as on my laptop I'm sat here typing away on one while the other sits right next to me. It's quite disconcerting to think about. I can't wait to start getting ads for tranny escorts in my social media feeds. .

> Check this out and prepare to be perturbed:

Also depressing. Confirms that everything I do on every app on my phone is observed by Google and saved to my main google account history. I've now turned everything off and set it to auto-delete anything older than three months but I'm sure that's merely cosmetic and things are getting saved anyway.

Total whinge for being unable to escape "The Botnet" unless I fuck my phone into a canal. You know it's a funny old world when you start wondering if an iPhone is the lesser of two evils.
>> No. 27744 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 8:27 pm
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>>27743

>when you start wondering if an iPhone is the lesser of two evils

In terms of privacy, it unquestionably is.

I also assume if you're this worried about privacy, you would be capable and/or willing to either root your current android phone and install something entirely non-google, or look into opensource or Linux phones.

I'm just at the point where if google want to watch me wank that's fine, as long as I can view my tabs and bookmarks and documents on whatever device I pick up immediately.
>> No. 27745 Anonymous
6th January 2021
Wednesday 11:13 pm
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>>27744
> I also assume if you're this worried about privacy, you would be capable and/or willing to either root your current android phone and install something entirely non-google, or look into opensource or Linux phones.

It's a bit of a bugger to be honest. Throwing a non-stock image onto an Android phone would potentially stop Google grabbing all the usage data for every app I use but unless I "de-google" myself completely (which means leaving gmail behind) then it's pretty much all for naught. Unfortunately I'm pretty much entrenched into gmail at the moment (whoever thought it was a good idea for your email address to be your main login attribute on the vast majority of websites has a special place in hell waiting for them, that's for sure).

I've been toying with the idea of deploying NextCloud on a digital ocean droplet and slowly migrating my calendar / notes / personal shared files onto that instead of using google drive. If I combined that with a de-googled Android image and only used my primary gmail and associated accounts in a separate sandboxed browser instance I could probably mitigate most of the privacy issues. Of course then the bugger is that I'd lose any apps that I've bought in the play store over the years, but I suppose I could always get a tablet for that kind of thing.

Sage for utterly uninteresting personal blog bollocks.
>> No. 27746 Anonymous
9th January 2021
Saturday 5:01 pm
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>>27740
>It's entirely possible, though the number of people googling answers for the Times crossword is unlikely to be significant.
That's just wrong. Millions of people in Britain do a crossword every day. It's specifically recommended by doctors as a way of staving off dementia and similar.

Also, if you think Google aren't motivated enough to bump a national newspapers' crosswords answers each day in their search results then I suspect you're underestimating their degree of motivation. Which search engine are you going to use, the one that gives you the crosswords answers easily, or the one that takes a bit of digging? Old people are the least suspicious of any age group when it comes to advertising, which makes them the most attractive catch. Anything that can bring and keep them on your service is going to be an obvious win. I'm not saying that I know they do this, but I'd be more surprised if they didn't, honestly.
>> No. 27747 Anonymous
9th January 2021
Saturday 5:09 pm
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>>27746

>if you think Google aren't motivated enough to bump a national newspapers' crosswords answers each day

It's not a question of motivation - those search suggestions are the product of an AI algorithm that is autonomously trying to predict what people will search for. Google can manually hide certain words or phrases from the suggestions, they can tweak the underlying parameters of the algorithm, but they don't really understand how it works or why it produces certain suggestions.

Every time you use Google search, you're training that algorithm. If you pick one of the suggestions, you're telling the algorithm that it guessed correctly.
>> No. 27764 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 11:18 am
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I just tried it, and springer spaniel is one of the top results. I don't have any dogs, I've not searched about dogs recently, I haven't done any crosswords about dogs... so I don't see what's so creepy about it to be honest.
>> No. 27765 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 1:28 pm
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>>27764
my personal observation is that Elon Musk has definitely negotiated with google to suppress searches about his hair transplants
>> No. 27766 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 1:53 pm
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>>27765

I think Bezos has the right idea, your hair situation does not matter if you are a billionaire. Just shave it and wear a gilet. This is basically what every C-level person I've ever met looks like, and sometimes with a beard if they're modern. Having hair just means you're either too young or too calm to really lead a business, and shaving it off just proves you're capable of difficult decisions.

I would never invest in a company helmed by a man with good hair, or a woman that doesn't look like she's sucking a lemon, for that matter.
>> No. 27768 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 2:13 pm
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>>27766

I've long held that men with good hair are basically a 5th column in British Society
>> No. 27769 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 3:39 pm
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>>27766
There's a certain swagger about still wearing a name badge when everyone in a hundred mile radius already knows who you are.
>> No. 27770 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 4:27 pm
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>>27766
>> No. 27771 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 5:17 pm
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>>27770

I know, and it does not change my point. Elon is a bald man pretending he's not - this explains why he's successful but his businesses are still volatile. His internal need to be liked is conflicting with the deep core of his bald businessman. That's why he goes and smokes a joint on a podcast and so on.

I'm not saying that his companies will fail, just that if he didn't have hairplugs they'd be doing even better.

Another case study is Bill Gates - he still has hair, but it's fucking shit. Branson had good hair back in the late 90s when all his ventures tanked awfully - only now that it looks like a chinese chain smoker's wig has his portfolio balanced.
>> No. 27772 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 5:44 pm
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>>27771

Gabe Newell.
>> No. 27773 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 5:48 pm
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>>27772
Remember Richochet? No one else does either.
>> No. 27774 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 5:49 pm
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>>27765
I don't think it's specific to Elon, I think Google has just across the whole board tried to set up their algorithm to try and limit any sort of negative suggestions around people in general.
You can type in "Why is my...." and google will always give you loads of predicted searches, but if you type in any remotely noteworthy person and it will just give you some very vague and broad suggestions like "why is ______ famous?"
>> No. 27775 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 9:14 pm
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>>27773
What? Fuck off, I play Ricochet every now and then.

Although last time I tried there were no-one but bots playing, which was sad.
>> No. 27776 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 9:28 pm
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>>27766

I'm sure I read some research once saying that CEOs were less likely to be bald than the general population. Maybe Silicon Valley has changed things, like their penchant for hoodies making suits look stale and conformist.
>> No. 27777 Anonymous
5th February 2021
Friday 9:43 pm
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>>27776

There's a claim that only 25 percent of fortune 500 CEOs are bald. There's also research to suggest that bald men are perceived as more commanding or suitable for leadership, but perception is arguably not that important if you've already proved your ability as most C suites have.
>> No. 27778 Anonymous
6th February 2021
Saturday 9:46 am
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Something about high-testosterone males being more likely to lose their hair early, high-testosterone also driving men to be more competitive/ruthless so likely to rise to the top quicker.
>> No. 27779 Anonymous
6th February 2021
Saturday 10:00 am
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>>27778
I read that it's a myth that high testosterone is linked to baldness. Yes testosterone is the trigger, but it's genetics that make you at risk for hair loss, no matter if your testosterone is high or average.
>> No. 27780 Anonymous
6th February 2021
Saturday 10:41 am
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>>27779

That's the most recent science I've heard too.

I have never bought into the bald men having more confidence, it's more that confident men are more likely to make the decision to shave their head rather than cling on. This idea is supported by a quick google of the various baldness related forums that exist mostly so men can post pictures of their bald spots and say "WHAT SHOULD I DO?!".

I feel bad for anyone who is that stressed or depressed about such a common trait in men.
>> No. 27781 Anonymous
6th February 2021
Saturday 11:50 am
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>>27780
It would make sense in that people like Trump and Musk are the other extreme, they're highly confident but they're also narcissists.

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