Every slip makes the sack more likely. That saying about when you’re not, you’re not, certainly applies to the Opposition Leader. Tony Abbott certainly looks to me like he’s on the skids with his gratuitous insult to his Liberal colleague Ken Wyatt being the latest example of foot-in-mouth. And if you’d like a second opinion have a look at Bruce Hawker’s comments — especially the note about the big challenge for Labor being whether it can do an effective demolition job on anyone but Abbott.

Pity most aren’t Australian. Sales of new motor vehicles keep reaching new heights and the Australian motor industry keeps shrinking. That’s the sad truth as the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases figures for October showing the trend measure at a record high.

Memories of Mrs Zercho’s. It will bring back memories  for the journalistic old-timers — like being the only 16-year-old boy learning shorthand and typing at Mrs Zercho’s Hobart school for budding secretaries. London’s Evening Standard and Independent newspapers are to “go back to the future” and take on school-leaver apprentices next year as part of a new scheme run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Keeping your head: scientific research with a purpose. Spanish scientists report a significant scientific breakthrough — they have isolated the specific gene in yeast responsible for a beer’s head and they say this discovery can lead to stronger, longer lasting, more aesthetically pleasing foam.

Cloning and Characterization of the Beer Foaming Gene CFG1from Saccharomyces pastorianus is behind the paywall in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Technology but Tom Villa, the chair of microbiology at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, says something called the Carlsbergensis foaming gene, or CFG1, is responsible for the white stuff at the top of a beer glass. Villa and his colleagues write that the gene resides in the yeasts used to ferment beer and it produces a protein that binds to the drink’s CO2 bubbles, preventing them from escaping from the glass too quickly.

“The bubbles from the CO2 have to stay as long as possible,” Villa said. “The longer they stay, the better the beer, as you know.” Now that it is known exactly which gene is responsible for beer foam, Villa says it’s possible to manipulate that gene to create beer with foam that lasts longer — potentially for hours and hours.

Surely a Nobel Prize cannot be far away.

Co-operate or die. The Singapore government has made a change to its death penalty legislation that will spare drug couriers from the hangman’s noose provided they offer “substantive assistance” that leads to the disruption of drug trafficking activities. Not that Singapore has gone soft. From The Straits Times — no link available because of a paywall:

Battle of the s-xes continues. From the BBC: Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara has sacked his government in a row over a new marriage law which would make wives joint heads of the household. Ouattara’s party supported the changes but the members of the ruling coalition were opposed.

A quote for the day. From the just-published report Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System from The National Academies of the US:

News and views noted along the way.