223 stories

LKML: Linus Torvalds: Linux 4.19-rc4 released an apology and a maintainership note

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LKML: Linus Torvalds: Linux 4.19-rc4 released, an apology, and a maintainership note
I never expected to see this. Hopefully it’ll undercut the toxic attitude that technical skills can make up for bad behavior.
via Pinboard <a href="https://ift.tt/2xkCXGU" rel="nofollow">https://ift.tt/2xkCXGU</a> September 16, 2018 at 09:42PM

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7 days ago
I think Machiavelli had the right idea here. At one point he talked about how sometimes success was had by acting boldly and in other cases you could only succeed by being cautious. But that it was extremely difficult to change from boldness to caution based on which was the correct strategy. Instead, people tend to stick to one or the other based on their personality and their success or failure then depends on whether or not their personality matches the times.

In a similar way, I think that sometimes it is appropriate to be a bold truth-teller that calls out BS. And other times that same behavior verges into abusiveness and pointless vitriol and the appropriate action is to be diplomatic and smooth things over. But the choice people make is usually based more on their personality than on the situation. So it is very easy for a 'bold truth-teller' to verge into 'just a jerk' or even worse. While the diplomat can become facile or weaselly.

I wish more celebrities had the self-reflection to step back and look long and hard at the dividing line between abuse and 'blunt honesty'.
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Trump’s war on China ... and Apple. To what end?

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If production moves to US it will be robotic.
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10 days ago
There is no way they are interested in moving to the US because Trump is insisting on adding tariffs to any potential supply they have as well. In theory, you can wield a tariff as a mercantilist tool to shape your economy in beneficial ways. But in practice, Trump is doing surgery with a sledgehammer.

Even if he weren't a traitor, his policies are leading our country to ruin. It is funny how politicians who run on platforms of nationalism tend to turn those countries into shitholes.
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Burning Man: sympathy for the turnkey devil

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The most interesting thing about Burning Man, says me, is that it’s a testbed for a post-scarcity society. The irony of course is that such a testbed requires enormous amounts of money and resources, in a highly hostile and inaccessible environment. That’s how far you have to go to get away from the monetary / scarcity hierarchies of our world.

It’s a lot of other things, of course: the world’s biggest, craziest, and most spectacular party, a huge EDM festival, a massive outdoor art gallery (both ephemeral and permanent — museum curators go out there to inspect the work with an eye towards adding to their collections), an experimental community, a secular pagan ritual, a set & setting for psychedelics, a holiday / reunion with one’s friends, etcetera etcetera. Amusingly it is widely misunderstood as a hippie event, when its flamethrowers:guitars ratio is roughly 100:1 and its mottos include “Safety Third” and “Keep Burning Man Potentially Lethal.” It is also even, sometimes, very weirdly, misinterpreted as some kind of holiday-hackathon extension of Silicon Valley.

That last misunderstanding is instructive. The list of events this year included a so-called ‘VC/entrepreneur networking event and pitch session.’ I did not attend, but a close friend did, and reported “it was the ultimate Poe’s Law event … many people were genuinely crestfallen when they realized it was a joke.” It seems that the concept of a place that isn’t so much opposed to external social hierarchies as it is, much more interestingly, orthogonal to them — that’s a hard one for some people to to wrap their heads around.

It’s true that Burning Man is very influential in the Valley, as this excellent Stanford News piece discusses. It’s true that there is a lot of amazing technology out there — this year featured a glorious swarm/murmuration of 600(!) drones, paired twenty-foot Tesla coils, a whole panoply of robots, etc. But its makers go to show off what they have built to their community, not in the hopes of filthy lucre.

Don’t get me wrong. This experimental desert community very much has its own hierarchies, its own social capital, its own parasites, its own textbook full of unwritten rules, its own perfectly acceptable (indeed, proudly championed) logos. But the idea, at least, is: everyone works; everyone builds (if only a tent); everyone fights, and loses to, the dust; everyone amasses social capital by giving things and experiences rather than earning them; and everyone — whether riding atop a massive fire-breathing art car, or huddled in a mini-tent in the camp allotted to those bus riders who have nowhere else to go — is equally a participant, whether just helping and collaborating with those strangers in your immediate vicinity, or building some massive art/tech project for all to enjoy.

This orthogonality to external hierarchies, this competition to give rather than to take, is what makes it a fascinating de facto testbed for a post-scarcity society, among other forms of experimental community. And maybe that’s why those who come but don’t participate in any community at all are so deeply scorned, loathed, and despised.

I refer of course to the infamous “turnkey camps” of (often very) wealthy people who pay money to have their hexayurts erected, their food provided, their experience guided and curated — to be spectators at the spectacle, basically. To exist differently from everyone else at the event. To bring their hierarchical upper-tier existence from the outside world to the playa; to infect our testbed with boring old capitalism.

It’s true that rich people, especially from the Valley, have been coming to Burning Man and enjoying expensive luxuries there for a very long time. In 2001, Larry and Sergey chose Eric Schmidt as Google’s CEO in part because he was the only candidate who had been to Burning Man. Mark Zuckerberg once choppered in and spent an afternoon giving away grilled cheese sandwiches. Elon Musk dismissed the TV show “Silicon Valley” because it didn’t reflect the side of the Valley he saw at Burning Man. But they still made that happen themselves. It’s only been over the last few years that the experience has — allegedly — been for sale as a package deal.

This makes people very angry. Mostly, I think, because they are afraid. Capitalism is basically the Borg; it infects and subsumes everything it touches. Burning Man will become just another big party festival, is the fear, no longer an experimental community, much less a post-scarcity testbed.

And yet. I happened to spend Saturday night surrounded by a bunch of very clean, very wealthy people from a turnkey camp. There were old men in civilian shorts; young men in completely spotless, glittering, top-end multi-thousand-dollar burnerwear; a woman in a don’t-look-at-me-I’m-totally-not-a-celebrity custom full-face golden mask. They acted as a classic tour group, except instead of following a flag, their lead sherpa held a ten-foot length of quarter-inch rebar topped with a blinking LED heart.

And what I felt most, after I got over my initial resentment, was how sorry I was for them. I had solo camped in dusty squalor in the aforementioned bus camp … and I had clearly had a far more interesting and enjoyable time. Granted, I’m (relatively speaking) a crusty veteran of the event, but I suspect I would have had I been a virgin, too. And I think, as they looked around at the seventy thousand souls around them, many of whom were also very wealthy and could have purchased the turnkey experience, but instead chose to pour in an enormous amount of effort and experimentation, to construct colossal and/or intricate machines and/or monumental works of art, because they expected the rewards to be great — I think those much-loathed tourists knew this too.

So never mind their invasion. I expect Burning Man to remain remarkably resistant to capitalism’s Borg, and therefore an interesting experimental proving ground — for cultures, communities, and technologies — for the foreseeable future. (As well as a completely ridiculous party populated by completely ridiculous people, which is also very much one of its faces.) I don’t expect the turnkey tourists to convert. They’re too committed to their own hierarchies. But I do think we live in a very interesting time of technology-enabled cultural and community experimentation, and, as silly and over-the-top as Burning Man can seem and be, those experiments there are genuinely valuable.

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19 days ago
When I see articles like this (or talk to people who went to burning man), I am always skeptical of the idea of burning man as a template for a different kind of society. Especially after reading recent reports about the vast amount of volunteer and badly-paid labor that goes into preparing the site and cleaning up afterwards. It makes me think of it as a cruise ship in the desert. Do 'cruisers' get a special glimpse into a post-scarcity society? Or is it just a vacation? Adding drugs and dust and a little bit of 'roughing it' camping doesn't transmute it into something greater. And it seems like the cruise ship model is becoming ever more embedded into the festival.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with burning man. I have enjoyed the couple of times I've been on a cruise ship myself. But I question whether or not it should be considered anything more than 'a fun vacation I took in the desert where I camped out'.
19 days ago
I think we're much better off figuring out how to live in a society where scarcity abounds. I don't generally like to throw the word privilege around as an insult, but that's what Burning Man is to me. It's a gigantic festival of privilege. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it bothers me when attendees like the author of this article don't recognize that.
19 days ago
Any argument that compares something to the borg is invalid.
18 days ago
That counterargument is like the borg. It assimilates so many other arguments... :)
16 days ago
There are _lots_ of things wrong with Burning Man, and burner culture in general, but the cruise ship thing is by and large a weird and fairly terrible analogy for the experience of a burn.
14 days ago
brennen, the specific idea about burning man that I was attempting to refute was about it being a template for a new kind of society. My basic argument is that rich people setting aside a small portion of their wealth throughout the year and then spending some portion of that accumulated wealth on a trip and everything they need to survive, relax, and have fun on that trip is best characterized as a 'vacation' rather than a template for a new society. And in this regard, burning man and a cruise are very similar. The details of the experience differ quite a bit. Is this a clearer statement of my analogy? If so, is it flawed in some way that I cannot see as somebody who has never attended burning man?
14 days ago
I think you're right that what happens in a festival setting is almost definitionally not a template for a functioning society, exactly because it happens in the space created by dumping resources into a bounded timeframe where normal socioeconomic constraints are absent or deferred. Festival time is like the experience of a major holiday as a child in a family that can afford to celebrate: Outside the normal bounds of school/work, heavy on gifts and ritual intensity. Societies need that kind of time to function, but that time can't encompass everything. On the other hand, for all of the billionaire art patrons and turnkey camps and whatnot, the burners I know devote a pretty staggering amount of their own time and energy to making a thing happen collaboratively. Above and beyond the ridiculous party shit, my experience of burns is long on building art, teaching skills, feeding people, and communally enduring a miserable physical environment. And then all the parts that are much more akin to a funeral or a church service than they are to anything straightforwardly recreational. It's not a template for a better world, but in fact it contains a lot of impulses and motions that could better the world, in amidst the absurdities and contradictions. So I guess the cruise analogy just feels kind of... Trivializing? Aesthetically off? (Though I'm sure people have lots of personally meaningful experiences on cruise ships and all.) I guess: You're not quite wrong, but it misses a lot. And far be it from me to suggest that more people come to Burning Man - the damn thing is undoubtedly far too big, and a minor annual environmental disaster to boot - but I guess if you really want to know what the thing is about, think about attending a regional or something.
14 days ago
Thanks for your thoughtful response. Thinking of it like a ritual like a funeral or church service (or wedding) might be the best way to split the middle between my (admittedly flippant) comparison to a cruise ship and the overwrought better society that I was deliberately pushing back against. A wedding or a funeral aren't some grand new vision for society. But neither are they trivial or meaningless. While my own creation efforts are not tied to a particular event like burning man, I can appreciate those who do find collective meaning in it. It is the evangelical fervor that has rubbed me the wrong way when I've discussed burning man with attendees.
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At First, Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther Could've Had a British Accent

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It’s crazy to look back and try and imagine T’Challa with a British accent now.
Photo: Marvel Studios

On a list of very bad potential ideas that Civil War and Black Panther avoided with the lightning reflexes of the the Black Panther himself, this one would’ve been near the top.

Speaking recently on the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast—in the wake of news that Marvel is pushing for Black Panther’s wild critical and commercial success earlier this year to earn the film a place in the Oscar’s Best Picture category—Chadwick Boseman discussed the timely story of Black Panther, as well as his process of developing his take on T’Challa after being cast in Captain America: Civil War.


Not only did this involve rigorous physical training for Boseman, but work with a dialect coach to develop what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s take on a Wakandan language (in actuality, Wakanda’s language is the Nguni Bantu language Xhosa, used primarily in South Africa). But according to the actor, at first there was a disagreement between himself and Marvel over whether or not the King of Wakanda should speak with an African accent at all, with initial options for either a British accent, or for Boseman to use his usual American one, on the table:

They felt that it was maybe too much for an audience to take. They felt like, would people understand it through a whole movie, and if we do it now, we’re stuck with it. I felt the exact opposite—like, if I speak with a British accent, what’s gonna happen when I go home?

... It felt to me like a deal-breaker. And having gone through situations like that before, where I was willing to stand up for [what I wanted], I was like ‘Well, here we go again.’ For them, I don’t think it was that deep. I think... it was an opinion, they weren’t like ‘we’re gonna fire you,’ but I was like, ‘No, this is such an important factor that if we lose this right now, what else are we gonna throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?’

It’s almost baffling to think of now, with the hindsight of just how well Black Panther’s Afro-futurist take on the cultural diaspora of the continent was received. But given that Wakanda is known as a nation unconquered, untainted by the still lingering effects of centuries of European colonialism on the African subcontinent, the idea of having its King potentially speak with the accent of the most infamous of Africa’s colonizers—even with the half-hearted excuse that T’Challa studied abroad as a young man—is... well, an obviously very bad idea. And knowing there was a potential for it to have not gone this way, it makes revisiting Boseman’s passionate reasoning for T’Challa’s accent in the run up to Black Panther’s release in an interview with CNET all the more powerful, knowing that there was an initial disagreement over it:

If it’s supposed to not have been conquered—which means that advancement has happened without colonialism tainting it, poisoning the well of it, without stopping it or disrupting it—then there’s no way he would speak with a European accent.

If I did that, I would be conveying a white supremacist idea of what being educated is and what being royal or presidential is. Because it’s not just about him running around fighting. He’s the ruler of a nation. And if he’s the ruler of a nation, he has to speak to his people. He has to galvanize his people. And there’s no way I could speak to my people, who have never been conquered by Europeans, with a European voice.

Thankfully, this is an idea that never came to pass. Because Boseman’s right—if it had, what else could’ve Black Panther lost?

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20 days ago
This is interesting because it shows how perceptions vary across time and also how they vary across subcultures. I can totally see why the executives (who are likely older) would think of a British accent. Because in the US it has historically meant 'civilized'. Even the villains with British accents represented 'civilized villains' rather than 'barbaric villains'. The Star Wars universe shows this connotation perfectly. And so having somebody have a British accent can be a cinematic shorthand to make people just assume somebody or some group is 'civilized' or 'advanced'.

Of course people outside of Europe and people whose ancestors were ruled by the British see a whole other set of connotations in that accent. And even in the US and Europe today, more nuanced ideas about history are replacing the earlier self-justifying narratives that older people were taught in school. It makes me wonder where equilibrium will assert itself in our culture. Because of course the truth is somewhere between 'bringing enlightened civilization to the world' and 'colonialism turned an edenic world into hell'.
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On Liking Stuff (or not)

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So, back when Ancillary Justice was essentially sweeping that year’s SF awards, there was some talk from certain quarters about it not really being all that, people only claimed to like it because Politics and SJWs and PC points and Affirmative Action and nobody was really reading the book and if they were they didn’t really enjoy it, they just claimed they did so they could seem cool and woke.

My feelings were so hurt that I wept bitter, miserable tears every time I drove to the bank with my royalty checks. I mean, those people must be right, it’s totally typical for non-fans who don’t actually like a book to write fanfic or draw fan art, totally boringly normal for students to choose to write papers about a book that just isn’t really very good or interesting, and for professors to use that boringly not-very-good book in their courses, and for that book to continue to sell steadily five years after it came out. I totally did not laugh out loud whenever I came across such assertions, because they were absolutely not ridiculous Sour Grape Vineyards tended by folks who, for the most part, hadn’t even read the book.

Now I am sorry–but not surprised–to see some folks making similar assertions about N.K. Jemisin’s historic (and entirely deserved) Hugo Threepeat. Most of them haven’t read the books in question.

But some of them have. Some of them have indeed read the books and not understood why so many people are so excited by them.

Now, Nora doesn’t need me to defend her, and she doesn’t need lessons from me about the best way to dry a tear-soaked award-dusting cloth, or the best brands of chocolate ice cream to fortify yourself for that arduous trip to the bank. Actually, she could probably give me some pointers.

But I have some thoughts about the idea that, because you (generic you) didn’t like a work, that must mean folks who say they did like it are Lying Liars Who Lie to Look Cool.

So, in order to believe this, one has to believe that A) one’s own taste is infallible and objective and thus universally shared and B) people who openly don’t share your taste are characterless sheep who will do anything to seem cool.

But the fact is, one doesn’t like or dislike things without context. We are all of us judging things from our own point of view, not some disembodied perfectly objective nowhere. It’s really easy to assume that our context is The Context–to not even see that there’s a context at all, it’s just How Things Are. But you are always seeing things from the perspective of your experiences, your biases, your expectations of how things work. Those may not match other people’s.

Of course, if you’re in a certain category–if you’re a guy, if you’re White, if you’re straight, if you’re cis–our society is set up to make that invisible, to encourage you in the assumption that the way you see things is objective and right, and not just a product of that very society. Nearly all of the readily available entertainment is catering to you, nearly all of it accepts and reinforces the status quo. If you’ve never questioned that, it can seem utterly baffling that people can claim to enjoy things that you see no value in. You’ll maybe think it makes sense to assume that such people are only pretending to like those things, or only like them for reasons you consider unworthy. It might not ever occur to you that some folks are just reading from a different context–sometimes slightly different, sometimes radically different, but even a small difference can be enough to make a work seem strange or bafflingly flat.

Now, I’m sure that there are people somewhere at some time who have in fact claimed to like a thing they didn’t, just for cool points. People will on occasion do all kinds of ill-advised or bananapants things. But enough of them to show up on every SF award shortlist that year? Enough to vote for a historic, record-breaking three Hugos in a row? Really?

Stop and think about what you’re saying when you say this. Stop and think about who you’re not saying it about.

You might not have the context to see what a writer is doing. When you don’t have the context, so much is invisible. You can only see patterns that match what you already know.*

Of course, you’re not a helpless victim of your context–you can change it, by reading other things and listening to various conversations. Maybe you don’t want to do that work, which, ok? But maybe a lot of other folks have indeed been doing that, and their context, the position they’re reading stories from, has shifted over the last several years. It’s a thing that can happen.

Stop and think–you’ve gotten as far as “everyone must be kind of like me” and stepped over into “therefore they can’t really like what they say they like because I don’t like those things.” Try on “therefore they must really mean it when they say they like something, because I mean it when I say it.” It’s funny, isn’t it, that so many folks step into the one and not the other. Maybe ask yourself why that is.

This also applies to “pretentious” writing. “That writer is only trying to look smart! Readers who say they like it are only trying to look smarter that me, a genuine,honest person, who only likes down-to-earth plain solid storytelling.” Friend, your claims to be a better and more honest person because of your distaste for “pretentious” writing is pretension itself, and says far more about you than the work you criticize this way. You are exactly the sort of snob you decry, and you have just announced this to the world.

Like or don’t like. No worries. It’s not a contest, there’s no moral value attached to liking or not liking a thing. Hell, there are highly-regarded things I dislike, or don’t see the appeal of! There are things I love that lots of other folks don’t like at all. That’s life.

And sure, if you want to, talk about why you do or don’t like a thing. That’s super interesting, and thoughtful criticism is good for art.

But think twice before you sneer at what other folks like, think three times before you declare that no one could really like a thing so it must be political correctness, or pretension, or whatever. Consider the possibility that whatever it is is just not your thing. Consider the possibility that it might be all right if not everything is aimed at you. Consider that you might not actually be the center of the universe, and your opinions and tastes might not be the product of your utterly rational objective view of the world. Consider the possibility that a given work might not have been written just for you, but for a bunch of other people who’ve been waiting for it, maybe for a long time, and that might just possibly be okay.

*Kind of like the way some folks insist my Ancillary trilogy is obviously strongly influenced by Iain Banks (who I’d read very little of, and that after AJ was already under way) and very few critics bring up the influence of C.J. Cherryh (definitely there, deliberate, and there are several explicit hat tips to her work in the text). Those folks have read Banks, but they haven’t read Cherryh. They see something that isn’t there, and don’t see what is there, because they don’t have the same reading history I do. It’s interesting to me how many folks assume I must have the same reading history as they do. It’s interesting to me how sure they are of their conclusions.

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28 days ago
We aren't satisfied with being right. We also want to feel obviously right. So right that the people who disagree must be evil, stupid, crazy, or all three.

When something that we don't get turns out to be wildly popular, it is most comfortable to laugh it off or make negative claims about those who subscribe. But it is more useful to think very hard about what it brings to the table that you don't get. And to try to understand the perspective of those who find it delightful. As in so many things, comfort and truth pull us in different directions.
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28 days ago
It always amazes me that people find it so hard to understand that they might not be the intended audience for a given piece of fiction.

Also, re the footnote, I must go and check out C.J. Cherryh
27 days ago
C. J. Cherryh has some really good books in the pantheon of sci-fi classics. Including the Hugo Awards to prove it. The other thing that's useful about that footnote is that sci-fi has always been known as a dialogue between authors, and everything's strongly influenced by so many other things. In the early history of the genre that was often celebrated ("I love how you used this idea and took it a new direction." "I like what you had to say about this other author's worldbuilding idea." "Did you borrow that thing from other author? It's so cool" "Did you read other author's response to your response in their followup". Even: "I know you didn't get this thing from the other author, but it is cool how you both arrived at the same spot.") The dumb thing is seeing people today use that for gatekeeping ("You can't write an FTL novel until you've read this exhaustive reading list" or "Everything to be said about cryonics has already been said" or as simple, but damaging, as "Stop stealing ideas" as a useless critique). It is a stark contrast in what you see in today's Hugo coverage alone versus what you find in old classic Hugo discussions (some of the very early Hugo winners weren't even good books outside of the conversation they were a part of in that dialog zeitgeist). It's possible that the genre is too big now to celebrate as easily that weird idea that books can be naturally in conversation with each other, even accidentally, rather than use that as gatekeeping to distrust books that are "conversing wrong" (miss "required" reading lists or alternatively have new perspectives that are unwelcome because the old traditions are set in stone now/outside perspectives are less interesting now). It's a shame if that's the case, but maybe we can hope to rekindle that original spirit of the genre. Bringing things full circle, my personal discovery of C. J. Cherryh was in the early days of the internet when I was a high schooler posting sci-fi short stories to a predecessor to what we'd now call a "blog" and then called a "zine". I was doing some random internet searches and discovered one of the made up words in some of my stories was also a setting of C. J. Cherryh's, which lead to me reading some of her books. For whatever reason, in hindsight perhaps we'd call it Impostor Syndrome now, I wrote an email to her to apologize for using the same name in some of my stories, not expecting a reply back. C. J. Cherryh sent back a nice email that basically said that that's alright, somewhat common, and a part of how the genre works. Sometimes it leads you to interesting directions like reading interesting new-to-you authors because you both happened to pick the same random made up word for some stories.

Most Millennials are not on track when it comes to saving for retirement

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Most Millennials are not on track when it comes to saving for retirement.

That's no surprise. After paying bills, rent and making student loan payments, there's often not much leftover each month for young people, many of whom entered the workforce at a time of stagnant wages and high unemployment.

But a new report shows just how far off track they might be. About 66% of people between the ages of 21 and 32 have absolutely nothing saved for retirement, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security. The report is based on Census data collected in 2014.

"I see in practice that a lot of us are putting retirement down the goal priority list, in favor of paying off student debt or buying homes," said Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and author of The Millennial Money Fix.

Waiting to save could significantly delay retirement. You'll be missing out on valuable years of compounding returns.

Related: Millennials may look financially healthy, but...

Many people aren't overspending or living a frivolous lifestyle, yet still can't afford to put money toward all their competing priorities.

For those people, Boneparth finds "nothing wrong" with not saving for retirement as long as they're honest with themselves about what their financial goals are.

"I know it will delay your ability to achieve financial independence," he said. "But how are you going to tell someone who has a child that saving in a 401(k) is more important than their immediate needs?"

Most experts don't expect Millennials to be living the same kind of lifestyle in retirement as their grandparents. They may have to work longer to supplement their savings.

Related: What Millennials really want at work

But not all 83 million Millennials are behind.

About one-third are saving for retirement. Most have less than $20,000 but some have much more. The average account balance is $67,891, according to the report.

If they are saving, it's likely their employer offers a retirement plan, like a 401(k). More than 94% of Millennials who are eligible for a workplace retirement plan are saving. That's about the same participation rate as older generations.

But Millennial workers in particular often find they don't meet the eligibility requirements for a 401(k) even if their employer offers one. Sometimes they don't work enough hours, or employers require them to work for a certain amount of time before they qualify.

About 25% of Millennials said they were not eligible to participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan because of their part-time status.

Loosening these eligibility qualifications would increase the number of Millennials saving for retirement, the report said.

Of course, people can save for retirement without an employer sponsored plan. Most people are eligible for Traditional or Roth IRAs, which also offer tax benefits for retirement savings.

Are you a Millennial struggling to save for retirement? Share your story here

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41 days ago
There are two odd things about this. First, if you have student loans then it is obviously smart to pay them down before you save for retirement. So that is like being surprised that somebody in the desert is drinking water now instead of waiting until they get to a river.

Second, this article tells does not give us enough information to determine if Millenials are 'behind' or not 'saving for retirement'. There are lots of statistics about what people aged 21-32 are doing now (never mind that this is not actually what millenial means). But there is nothing comparing them to previous cohorts. If you give me an article about any particular cohort, tell me the data that makes that cohort special. Otherwise you can't distinguish between cohort effects and lifecycle effects. I could write a similar article complaining that fewer people aged 21-32 are married than people aged 33-45. Or I could boast that people aged 21-32 are currently enrolled in college much more than people 33-45. But neither of those is surprising since the average person doesn't get married until their late twenties and most people have graduated from college (or dropped out or never went) by their thirties. To get at a real trend, you have to compare cohorts.
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