Large technology companies in particular like Microsoft and Autodesk are pushing Congress to up the number of H-1B visas available each year

The U.S. government announced this week that work permits in the H-1B visa program are almost entirely depleted for 2013.

According to the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), 55,600 standard H-1B visas have already been issued out of 65,000 for the next fiscal year. In addition, 18,700 H-1B visas for graduates of advanced degree programs were issued in the U.S. out of 20,000. These numbers were posted as of June 1, and USCIS started accepting applications on April 1.

This is a significant increase, considering it took until November to use up all of last year's work permits. It is believed that this is a sign of better economic times, and U.S. companies are pushing for an expansion of the H-1B program.

Large technology companies in particular like Microsoft and Autodesk are pushing Congress to up the number of H-1B visas available each year. This would allow them and other companies in the U.S. to import workers with skills in technology and finance.

According to a study from Partnership for A New American Economy, which is an industry lobby group, the U.S. will have a shortage of 224,000 tech workers by 2018 if more visas are not made available.

The phrase "A quarter past three" went out of style with the advent of the digital clock. We no longer have to estimate time due to the limitations of the analog clock, as such we say exactly what we mean, if we mean 3:10, 3:15, or 3:20 we just say it. Have you ever heard someone say "A sixth past three." or "A third past three."? then why do you insist that the new generation be required to understand your archaic and inaccurate way of communicating time?

While I agree it is important to teach kids the multiplication tables, this is not the 1970s where calculators are expensive with limited functionality, calculators are everywhere. You can find them on your computer, your phone, your tablet, you can buy them for $5 in most stores, or get which can do more them your advanced calculus teacher. So yes, I think it is important to teach kids to memorize the basic 0-10 multiplication tables, but they will probably never use it. Instead they will depend on the higher accuracy and faster calculator.

quote: The phrase "A quarter past three" went out of style with the advent of the digital clock. We no longer have to estimate time due to the limitations of the analog clock, as such we say exactly what we mean, if we mean 3:10, 3:15, or 3:20 we just say it.

The phrase "a quarter past three" is actually conveying two pieces of information. A time and a range. If you want to meet at exactly 3:15, you say 3:15. If you want to meet at about 3:15, you say a quarter past three. That specifies a timeframe of about 3:10-3:20 for most people. It's basically a short way of saying, "3:15, give or take x minutes".

This is a big problem I see in younger people, probably because of the reason you cited - the advent of digital clocks. One of the engineers at a previous job was tasked with making sure a ship we were building stayed within the design weight. He had a huge spreadsheet with the weight of every layer of fiberglass, every can of epoxy, every piece of equipment, every nut and bolt. I was actually impressed with how thorough he had been. But he had no error margins. He could tell you exactly how much he thought the ship weighed, but he had absolutely no clue how accurate his total was. Was it off by a few grams? A few kg? A few tons? No idea. We couldn't make an accurate prediction of how fast the ship would go when selecting an engine. We had to wait until it was actually in the water with engines installed.

quote: While I agree it is important to teach kids the multiplication tables, this is not the 1970s where calculators are expensive with limited functionality, calculators are everywhere. You can find them on your computer, your phone, your tablet, you can buy them for $5 in most stores, or get which can do more them your advanced calculus teacher. So yes, I think it is important to teach kids to memorize the basic 0-10 multiplication tables, but they will probably never use it.

Learning the multiplication table isn't about being able to give quick answers to multiplication questions or exact change in a store. It's about gaining insight into numbers and proportions. If you have the table memorized, you know intuitively whether 4 groups of 8 is bigger or smaller than 5 groups of 6. Estimation becomes more accurate, and everyone uses estimates even if they hated math. It's why when someone makes a post about powering something with solar panels, I can usually tell at a glance whether he's in the right ballpark or seriously off, before I do any exact calculations.

quote: It's why when someone makes a post about powering something with solar panels, I can usually tell at a glance whether he's in the right ballpark or seriously off, before I do any exact calculations.

Yes! A thousand times yes. Back in college some times peers would think I was some sort of math savant, being able to glance at their work and point out the huge problems immediately. No, in fact I'm pretty bad and don't enjoy math at all, but I bothered to understand it, so it's not hard to have a feel for where an equation should be going or where a final answer should be before working out the math. That's, apparently, not an easy thing for kids to do any more, and I have to believe it seriously would crimp their productivity at any math or engineering related job, where they have more errors to go back and correct later because they're too ignorant to catch them on the fly versus better educated peers.