Paddles

We've reported before on the UK's Larry, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet, and his rival Palmerston at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and much has been made in the past about First Dogs in the US - remember the Obama's pet dog Bo? But they are, it seems, not the only nations where the animals of the leaders try to steal the limelight. Just this week, French President Emmanual Macron's dog Nemo caused an uproar when he urinated on a fireplace during a meeting at the Elysee Palace while in New Zealand, Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern's cat Paddles has also been making a splash (pun intended) on social media with a new Twitter account (@FirstCatofNZ) that's already garnered thousands of followers and attracted plenty of comments. Paddles (pronounced "Puddulls" in NZ-ish) has already made it clear she will be politically independent and is not "affurliated with the Labour Pawty". She apparently spent the week receiving calls from well-wishers like the US Ambassador to New Zealand's 'Diplo Dog' Gracie Brown.

Fancy going for a surf on a board made of recycled cigarette butts? Californian surfer Taylor Lane reportedly recently beat a field of more than 60 to win the third annual Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest in the US with a board he created out of 10,000 discarded butts he and a friend had found on beaches and other locations in Santa Cruz. Other boards in the contest, run by surfbrand Vissla and the Surfrider Foundation, included one made of potato sacks, one made of packaging that once held a flat-screen TV, and (this was an Australian entry), an old bathroom door. Last year's winner was made out of cardboard. 

Two notes written by Albert Einstein in which he spelt out his (short) philosophy on how to find happiness reportedly sold for $US1.8 million at a Jerusalem auction house this week. The Nobel Prize-winning physicist gave the notes to a courier while in Tokyo on a lecture tour in 1922 instead of a tip, telling him that if he was lucky, they might one day be valuable. Written in German on the stationery of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, the first note reads: "A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it." The second note simply reads: "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Correction: This article first reported the sale price as $US1.56 million for the two notes - that was just for one. The total has now been corrected.