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10 Times Jesus and Mary Have Appeared in Nature

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NASA

You may not know the word "pareidolia," but you definitely know what it is — it's the thing that makes you think you see identifiable objects in otherwise random patterns.

In other words, that rubber duck you saw in the clouds yesterday? The pirate captain I’m convinced is in the swirl of pattern in my shower tile? Jesus in a tree stump? All pareidolia—though you might have a hard time convincing some people that the savior’s appearance in a rotten log is anything but a sign from above. Pareidolia or miracle? We’ll let you be the judge of these 10 examples.

1. Jesus after a Colombian rockslide

The Telegraph

In March, a landslide cleared the side of a hill in the Putumayo province of Colombia—and some people think it left more than just dirt and rubble in its wake. If you want to witness the miracle in person, be prepared to pay: Some locals are charging visitors to see it.

2 Jesus in a tree stump in Belfast

What started out as regular maintenance at Belfast City Cemetery became a religious experience when the cemetery grounds crew noticed this dark pattern in the stump of a tree they had cut down.

3. Jesus in the Cone Nebula

NASA

Some people believe they see Jesus in this shot of the Cone Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA, on the other hand, describes it as "resembling a nightmarish beast rearing its head from the crimson sea." Not seeing it, either? Here you go.

4. Jesus in a rock in Ghana

In 2004, thousands of people flocked to a Catholic church in Ghana to gaze upon an image embedded in the pattern of the marble inside a grotto on the grounds. In fact, so many believers showed up to pray at or be healed by the image of Jesus that officials feared a stampede and called in police to control the situation.

5. Mary in a pebble in New Zealand

Kirk Hargreaves // The Press

In 2007, New Zealander Lisa-Marie Corlet sold this pebble emblazoned with the image of Mary for $50,000. Unfortunately, the online bid was a hoax, and Corlet was forced to relist it. "I won't take less than $50,000 for it," she said. "If someone is willing to pay $28,000 for a piece of toast, I'm sure someone out there would pay at least that for rock."

6. Mary in a tree

MyFoxNY

A resident of Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., discovered this image of the Virgin Mary in 2012—across the street from a church, no less. "I could kind of see the resemblance," one eyewitness said.

7. Mary on a tree

KCCI

For a depiction that's a little bit bigger, head to Polk City, Iowa, where a six-foot-tall Mary adorns a tree near a bridge.

8. Mary in a bush

In 1953, three Catholic school girls from Philadelphia were on their way home from class when they saw a vision of Mary coming from a bush in a nearby park. Their claim was enough to bring 70,000 people to the site, many claiming they felt the bush had healing powers. Some even smelled roses emanating from the plant. (It wasn't a rose bush.)

9. Mary on the face of a cliff

BBC.com

Known as "Madonna of the rock," this image began to take shape in the cliffs near Casaletto Spartano in Italy last year when a piece of rock broke away during a landslide.

10. Mary in a splatter of bird poop

It's not quite as elegant as the other examples on the list, but it's definitely nature. In 2009, a family in Texas noticed that a certain splatter on the windshield of the family truck looked a lot like the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We'll let you be the judge.

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5 Subtle Cues That Can Tell You About Your Date's Financial Personality
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iStock

Being financially compatible with your partner is important, especially as a relationship grows. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn about your partner’s financial personality in a relationship’s early stages without seeing their bank statement or sitting them down for “the money talk.”

Are they a spender or a saver? Are they cautious with money? These habits can be learned through basic observations or casual questions that don’t feel intrusive. Here are some subtle things that can tell you about your date’s financial personality.

1. HOW THEY ANSWER BASIC MONEY QUESTIONS.

Casual conversations about finance-related topics can be very revealing. Does your date know if their employer matches their 401(k) plan contributions? Do you find their answers to any financial questions a bit vague—even the straightforward ones like “What are the rewards like on your credit card?” This could mean that your partner is a little fuzzy on some of the details of their financial situation.

As your connection grows, money talks are only natural. If your date expresses uncertainty about their monthly budget, it may be an indicator that they are still working on the best way to manage their finances or don’t keep close tabs on their spending habits.

2. WHAT THEY’RE WATCHING AND READING.

If you notice your partner is always watching business news channels, thumbing through newspapers, or checking share prices on their phone, they are clearly keeping abreast of what’s going on in the financial world. Ideally, this would lead to a well-informed financial personality that gives way to smart investments and overall monetary responsibility.

If you see that your date has an interest in national and global finances, ask them questions about what they’ve learned. The answers will tell you what type of financial mindset to expect from you partner moving forward. You might also learn something new about the world of finance and business!

3. WHERE THEY GET THEIR FOOD.

You may be able to learn a lot about someone’s financial personality just by asking what they usually do for dinner. If your date dines out a lot, it could be an indication that they are willing to spend money on experiences. On the other hand, if they’re eating most of their meals at home or prepping meals for the entire week to cut their food budget, they might be more of a saver.

4. WHETHER THEY’RE VOICING MONEY CONCERNS.

Money is a source of stress for most people, so it’s important to observe if financial anxiety plays a prominent role in your date’s day-to-day life. There are a number of common financial worries we all share—rising insurance rates, unexpected car repairs, rent increases—but there are also more specific and individualized concerns. Listen to how your date talks about money and pick up on whether their stress is grounded in worries we all have or if they have a more specific reason for concern.

In both instances, it’s important to be supportive and helpful where you can. If your partner is feeling nervous about money, they’ll likely be much more cautious about what they’re spending, which can be a good thing. But it can also stop them from making necessary purchases or looking into investments that might actually benefit them in the future. As a partner, you can help out by minimizing their expenses for things like nights out and gifts in favor of less expensive outings or homemade gifts to leave more of their budget available for necessities.

5. HOW THEY HANDLE THE BILL.

Does your date actually look at how much they’re spending before handing their credit card to the waiter or bartender at the end of the night? It’s a subtle sign, but someone who looks over a bill is likely much more observant about what they spend than someone who just blindly hands cards or cash over once they get the tab.

Knowing what you spend every month—even on smaller purchases like drinks or dinner—is key when you’re staying on a budget. It’s that awareness that allows people to adjust their monthly budget and calculate what their new balance will be once the waiter hands over the check. Someone who knows exactly what they’re spending on the small purchases is probably keeping a close eye on the bigger picture as well.

REMEMBER THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TALKING.

While these subtle cues can be helpful signposts when you’re trying to get an idea of your date’s financial personality, none are perfect indicators that will be accurate every time. Our financial personalities are rarely cut and dry—most of us probably display some behaviors that would paint us as savers while also showing habits that exclaim “spender!” By relying too heavily on any one indicator, we might not get an accurate impression of our date.

Instead, as you get to know a new partner, the best way to learn about their financial personality is by having a straightforward and honest talk with them. You’ll learn more by listening and asking questions than you ever could by observing small behaviors.

Whatever your financial personality is, it pays to keep an eye on your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and checking it won't impact your score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Check yours in seconds. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.

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Where Do Birds Get Their Songs?
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iStock

Birds display some of the most impressive vocal abilities in the animal kingdom. They can be heard across great distances, mimic human speech, and even sing using distinct dialects and syntax. The most complex songs take some practice to learn, but as TED-Ed explains, the urge to sing is woven into songbirds' DNA.

Like humans, baby birds learn to communicate from their parents. Adult zebra finches will even speak in the equivalent of "baby talk" when teaching chicks their songs. After hearing the same expressions repeated so many times and trying them out firsthand, the offspring are able to use the same songs as adults.

But nurture isn't the only factor driving this behavior. Even when they grow up without any parents teaching them how to vocalize, birds will start singing on their own. These innate songs are less refined than the ones that are taught, but when they're passed down through multiple generations and shaped over time, they start to sound similar to the learned songs sung by other members of their species.

This suggests that the drive to sing as well as the specific structures of the songs themselves have been ingrained in the animals' genetic code by evolution. You can watch the full story from TED-Ed below, then head over here for a sample of the diverse songs produced by birds.

[h/t TED-Ed]

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