Big Jim Byrnes back in business. Jim Byrnes, Alan Bond’s former bankruptcy advisor, has admitted to destroying a solicitor’s office with a baseball bat, been convicted of assaulting a bikie and twice been banned by ASIC from managing corporations. But now he’s back in business — big time.

The colourful Sydney identity has been appointed a director of three companies since his five-year ban as a company director was lifted at the start of this month, The Sydney Morning Herald reports today. — Matthew Knott (read the full story here)

We need to mine its way to an education: top scientist. One of the country’s leading scientists has lamented the state of scientific knowledge, research and investment in Australia, saying that as a nation we’re set to be left behind by more innovative economies due to our lack of understanding of “even the most basic science”.

And Suzanne Cory, president of the Australian Academy of Science, believes we should do something about it: starting with the creation of a sovereign fund for Science, financed off the back of the mining boom. Speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Cory said the proceeds of mining should be returned to R&D given such fortunes would not have been seen without extensive geological surveys going all the way back to 1850. — The Power Index (read the full story here)

PM blows out the candles. Hip hip, hooray! It’s a big milestone for Julia Gillard today. No, she hasn’t managed a Lazarus-esque turnaround in the polls (they’re still dire reading). It’s the Prime Minister’s 50th birthday. And The Power Index is hoping she takes some time to have a bit of fun.

Alas it doesn’t look she’s going to take our advice. At last check it was all work and no play for Gillard this morning, as she spent the morning at the Quantin Binnah Community Centre in her Lalor electorate suburb of Werribee.

But it’s not all bad news. She’ll be happy to know the ABC’s political satire At Home With Julia has finally run its course.

The last episode aired last night, with the ABC confirming earlier this week that there are no immediate plans to continue the series.

And at least she can enjoy a decent meal at home (although no word if she’s staying at her brick-veneer Altona property). The PM’s expected to celebrate over dinner with partner Tim Mathieson, who has reportedly not given her the promised cavoodle puppy — at least not yet. — The Power Index (read the full story here)