Sunday, May 30, 2010

Exploring patterns

If you enjoy geometrical patterns or colouring or even if you are contructing a tiling system for your kitchen or bathroom, you might want to look at this site from Altair Design. Teachers and parents might like to look too, to see some activities to get kids painlessly interested in geometry. Explore the site - it has a huge variety of patterns that you can colour online, a competition you can enter, and a gallery of the best examples done by other people. The middle button at the top gives you some history and context for the site.

I also recently stumbled on some nice tiling patterns based on Escher's drawings in the Alhambra (one of which is shown in the picture). If you go to the page via the link, click on the individual patterns and you'll open up some spectacular PDFs.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Symmetry is one element of beauty, and in the book I describe how a physicist attempted to locate all particles on a grid consisting of the most symmetrical object conceivable – and failed. Does this failure disprove the coinherence of beauty and truth? Hardly. For in fact a slight departure from symmetry can be even more beautiful. This is true at many levels. In the early moments of the big bang, if matter and antimatter had been exactly balanced the universe would have destroyed itself. I recently read of some research into the shape of the neutron, which at present appears perfectly symmetrical, having an electric charge (or more precisely “electric dipole moment”) of zero. Researchers hope to find some slight asymmetry in order to explain the excess of matter over antimatter which enables us to exist. Zero is the most symmetrical of numbers but not the most beautiful, and existence is always a departure from it. The pattern of human love has been described by Angelo Scola in terms of “asymmetrical reciprocity”. Thus a theologian might say that the tension of asymmetry runs right the way through creation, from top to bottom, as the mark of the Creator, and is only resolved by the Trinity in a way that eternally preserves difference within unity.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Twitter Tips ! : 7 Tips For Using Twitter For Your Business

When it comes to using any social media site, forum or any online community. There's a right and wrong way to do it.

Below are some tips to get you moving in the right direction, if you are thinking of using Twitter to get more exposure for your business or if you are already using Twitter for your business and are just looking for some refresher tips, then this post is for you too!

Tip 1:
Help out your fellow follower: One of the really great benefits of being part of the whole social networking movement, is you have the ability to help those in need. If you see a post that ask a question that you are knowledgeable about or know something that may help. Respond to it. When responding you can use the persons id in your response to let them know that you are replying to their message. You do this by using the @ symbol then their user name. By helping someone out whenever you can, you will start to establish trust with your followers. They will start to remember you and your brand and you can become an authority figure in your industry. Helping is a great way to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and others too! So contribute when you can.

Tip 2:
Update on a regular basis : Okay, this one is easier said than done and if anyone knows that having time to post updates on a daily basis is just sometimes not possible, I know oh to well. So what I recommend doing is to put aside a couple of minutes out of your day to drop by your Twitter account and post something informative. Now don't have a cow if everyday isn't possible. Take a deep breathe it's okay if you don't have the time. I would recommend posting at least three times a week. It's a great way for your followers to get to know more about you and your business. The more they get to know you the better your chances are in establishing a relationship with your followers and maybe gaining a customer and friend.

Tip 3.
Be informative and Professional : I'm quite sure we've all seen the Twitter post by some that we follow letting us know about their everyday events. From updates about what they just had for breakfast to what time they woke up. It's okay to let people know about personal things and I even encourage it. Your followers can get to know you on a personal level which is great , but I have something that's even better when speaking about getting exposure for your business! Be informative, you only have 140 characters that you can use, so keep it simple. Keep your followers informed about things that are going on in your industry, special deals you may be having or events that will be going on. I don't think they will mind hearing about something that is going to benefit them. Not to sure if knowing that you just had your teeth pulled is going to be something that they are going to look forward to knowing about. Then again, it depends on which industry you are in.

Tip 4.
Show some Retweet Love : If you see an update made by someone else that you think will be a benefit to others, Retweet it! What is a Retweet you ask, well a Retweet is when you take a post made by someone else and copy it into your updates with the following : RT @theusernamehere. It's actually even more easier than that, with a simple click, you can choose to retweet a post.
You can also add a Retweet button to your blog or website like I have here. You can get the code to add to your website at the following website : Tweetmeme

Tip 5.
Follow , Follow, Follow : So you've noticed that you have some new followers. Great! Now you must return the favor and follow them. WRONG! Just because someone follows you, it does not mean that you have to follow them back. Follow those that you have interest in. If you do, you'll just get annoyed quickly, if those you follow post a ton of advertisements and nothing that interest you and those that really interest you will be left behind quickly due to the large amount of updates you will be getting.

Tip 6.
Be Grateful : If you notices that someone took the time to Retweet one of your post or a blog post or your website. Thank them, it's the right thing to do. Although the Retweet may have been done out of pure like, people still like to be appreciated and maybe even caught off guard by your appreciation.

 Tip 7.
Don't over market your business : Last but definitely not least. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT over market your business on any social networking site. Advertising your business is great and to be expected by those that follow you, but there comes a point in Social Networking when enough is a way to get people to unfollow you. Post about specials you have going on, new products or services, freebies etc.. Just don't do it in excess. Post sales and specials here and there, around once or twice a week.  I would say 10 to 20% of your updates can be advertising related, others can be about other things going on in your industry or terrific resources or even a shout out to a fellow business owner. A little promotion for others goes a long way! 

So get your tweets together , make a list about what you want to discuss and what you think will be of benefit to your followers and get to Tweet, Tweet, Tweeting away!

See you on the Twitter side.

Carla Phillips

Monday, May 17, 2010

6 Tips on How to Increase Your Blog Traffic

I know that I have been away for a while and haven't been posting that much this month and I truly apologize for not providing you with your weekly SEO fix, but rest assure that there will definitely be some great tips, and resources to come.

To start off the tips, I have decided to do a blog tip about getting traffic to your blog.

I got a question from one of our members at the Network Circle about driving traffic to a blog and I thought that this would be a great topic to blog about.

The great thing about blogs is that when you are a frequent poster, the search engines fall in love with you and will reward you by listing your blog post in their top search engine result pages.

Search engines love fresh content and blog posting is a great way to give them what they want.

Here are a few quick tips that I have used for my blog and other's to get some traffic to your blog:

1. Post, Post, Blog Away: The key to your blog success is to post and post frequently. When you are posting on your blog each week. Visitors will see that you are dedicated to providing your readers with up to date content as well as the search engines and you will find that your blog post are being pinged or indexed right away. I would recommend posting at least 1 to 2 a week.

2. Be informative: Make sure you are providing your readers with market related information. This can be how to's , or how not too's, tips, specials, reviews etc.. If your readers see that your blog is a benefit to their daily lives, they will come back to your blog and even follow it!

3.  Post contest or Giveaways: A great way to generate traffic to your blog is sponsoring a contest or hosting a contest directly on your blog. The best contest are those that give away a bunch of items from numerous companies. The growing trend is to post your contest on Facebook, which has a promotions app now available I think there are some rules that you have to follow in order to post contest there, but you can always team up with other blog owners to help you promote the contest and contact store owners or niche specific sites or stores to see if they would like to donate a prize in exchange for some free publicity. Who can turn down that! We have some amazing blog owners her that can help you out. Just visit our blog section.

4. Have a newsletter sign up box on your blog. There's nothing better than being able to keep in touch with your fans! So why not take advantage of those that love you and have them sign up for newsletters so you can keep them informed of any events, important information in your industry etc.

If you dont have an email campaign company yet, you can check out a list of them here:

5. Submit your blog to blog directories: Another great way to get traffic to your site if I haven't mentioned it yet, is to submit your site to blog directories.

Submit your blog to these sites below then after that you can ping your blog by using It's very easy, you just enter in your blog url, name of your blog and RSS feed url if you have one and click submit and your blog post will be updated in some popular blog directories.

Blog Daisy


Blog Wise

Blog Catalog








Blog Street


We Blog Alot

Globe of Blogs




Ice Rocket

6. Last Tip but definitely not least: Market, Link Build, Market.
Make sure you are getting your blog the exposure it needs. Add your site to as many niche related directories. Top 100 sites have become a great traffic generator, so I would suggest adding your site to as many of them as possible. Team up with other blog owners and see if you can get listed on their blog rolls. If you do, then your latest blog post will show up on their blog for their readers to see. Take some of your blog post and revise them a bit and create a Squidoo lens, once you create your lens, share it with your facebook fans, twitter followers etc. Include a link to your blog in your lens.

Make your blog post into articles and submit them to popular article directory sites like or This is a great way to generate traffic and backlinks to your blog.

Submit your blog to blog directories and Digg and Stumble upon. These social bookmarking sites can generate a lot of traffic for you.

The more you get your name out there the more you will start to see an increase in traffic and readers for your blog.

Just remember to always be consistent. Keep your logos the same, so you can start creating brand recognition and stay in the spotlight without being annoying. Meaning, keep your blog name out there by constantly posting on your Twitter account, Facebook account, blog etc. Remember that humans are forgetful unless you keep your name out in the open. If someone is constantly seeing your blog name, they will start to look for your post and want to know what the fuss is all about.

If you own a blog and have been successful , make sure to chime in below about what has worked for you as well.

Carla Phillips

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Two Cultures

The phrase was made famous by C.P. Snow’s Rede Lecture of 1959, in Cambridge, England, which was viciously attacked by the critic F.R. Leavis in 1962 and later, more moderately, by Lionel Trilling in America, generating a major controversy in academic circles concerning the relationship of arts and sciences. (See C.P. Snow, The Two Cultures, with an Introduction by Stefan Collini, Cambridge University Press, 1998.) The controversy recalled a famous exchange in the 1880s between T.H. Huxley and Matthew Arnold. Snow, like Huxley before him, took the side of the scientists against the men of letters. Not being able to describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics, he thought, was equivalent to confessing that one had not read a work by Shakespeare. His critics argued that the contrast drawn between the two cultures was crude and misleading, that his celebration of consumerism and the industrial revolution showed him to be a rabid philistine, and so forth.

When Snow and Leavis were writing, the English education system forced children to choose between the humanities and the sciences as early as the age of fourteen. As Stefan Collini points out in his
Introduction to the book, if it is hard to speak of one simple dividing line between art and science any more, the underlying problem has not gone away. The fragmentation of the disciplines has continued, and we have lost a sense of how of these each fits into the larger cultural whole. This problem afflicts even liberal arts colleges in the United States, and connects with deeper problems that need a spiritual and not just a bureaucratic response. In an article in The New Atlantis called "Human Dignity and Higher Education", Peter Augustine Lawlor writes:

It is no secret that most of our colleges that give lip service to “liberal education” do not deliver it, and what they do teach exaggerates — not moderates — the undignified confusion of our time. They certainly do not give students the impression that there is much — if any — moral or humanistic content (as opposed to method, like critical thinking or analytical reasoning) that they need to know. And so they do not give students the impression that their education is about who they are or what they are supposed to do. Moreover, the permissive and indulgent atmosphere of our colleges extends adolescence far more than it serves as a bridge between childhood and adulthood. Our colleges inculcate habits that are positively antagonistic to the formation of moral virtue, and they often undermine the good habits and confident beliefs that students sometimes bring with them to college in the first place.
 Lawlor praises some of the smaller liberal arts colleges in the US for offering a real education, but he points out that secular institutions tend to be victims of the culture around them - all the more important, then, when choosing a college, to go for one that is explicitly religious in its foundation and ethos (one like Thomas More College, perhaps, shown in the picture). Luigi Giussani's book The Risk of Education: Discovering Our Ultimate Destiny (Crossroad, 2001, reviewed here by Joel Garver) makes a refreshing read on this subject. "Never before," he writes, "has society... had so many tyrannical tools to invade our consciousness. Today, more than ever, society is the sovereign educator or perhaps more correctly, mis-educator. In this climate, the educational crisis appears first as a lack of awareness in which teachers the,selves become unknowing promoters of society's flaws." Giussani goes on (p. 74):

It also appears in a lifeless approach to teaching, in which teachers lack the energy to wage war against a pervasive negativity, choosing traditional, formalistic positions instead of renewing the eternal redeeming Word in the face of the new struggle.
Does a religious commitment belie the term "liberal" by contricting academic freedom? Not necessarily. It all depends on the spirit and the people involved. Faith should be an act that deepens our freedom to love, not one that inculcates fear and suspicion. For Giussani, education is a calling that appeals to all the dimensions of the human spirit, and that is why love is always the key. "To love is first of all a way of conceiving oneself as 'sharing one's life', thus as being ontologically linked to everything" (p. 79). God, the origin of being, is precisely this sharing of life - the ultimate and inexhaustible meaning of life, the world, and history.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Alhambra

In their early period of rapid expansion the Arabs took over the Middle East, acquiring and preserving much of the ancient learning. They also developed it, picking up in many ways the intellectual torch of the Greeks. There was a brief shining moment some centuries later when Europe was able peacefully to absorb the knowledge of the then vastly superior Islamic civilization, through translations made in Toledo and the efforts of adventurers like Adelard of Bath. This transmission, as much or more than the redicovery of ancient learning in Italy, lay the foundations of the Renaissance and the rise of modern science. The story is told by historian Bettany Hughes in her accessible TV history documentary about the Moors in Spain - part of a larger series of excellent history programmes. Readers may like to see this clip about the Alhambra Palace in Granada, one of the wonders of the world, in the second half of which she talks about the legacy of Pythagoras and the geometrical principles that made possible this stunning architectural achievement.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Essence of Beauty

Traditionally, truth, goodness and beauty are properties of all being, of everything that exists, in one degree or another. Truth is being as known - the correspondence and coherence of the idea and the reality. Goodness is being as willed - acting in accordance with the fullness of that which is. What, then, is beauty? Beauty is being as enjoyed, as rejoiced in – that which, when seen, pleases. This is why Etienne Gilson can say that man is a creature “who knows other beings as true, who loves them as good, and who enjoys them as beautiful” (The Unity of Philosophical Experience, p. 255).

The association of beauty with joy is important to reflect upon. What is this joy that beauty gives? It is surely the feeling we get of liberation. “For the experiences which should be produced by that which is really beautiful are wonder, and sweet amazement, and desire, and a pleasant fluttering of the wings of the soul” (Plotinus, Ennead 1:6). Beauty liberates or expands us beyond the boundaries of the self.

At the level of eros, we recognize that there are two main ways to expand the self by uniting it with a desired beauty. The feminine way is to receive the beautiful into ourselves. The masculine way is to project or inject the self into the beautiful. At the spiritual level we do both, and both ways are rooted in God, who both receives himself and gives himself in the three Persons.

In order to recognize something as beautiful, there has already to be some connection with it, some element of recognition, as well as an inclination to affirm if not unite ourselves with it. In that sense, beauty cannot be separated from truth and goodness, and from the faculties of knowledge and will. There is something in us by which we judge the beautiful to be such, and this means that we have the essence of beauty already within ourselves, even though it is also beyond us.

Image: Stars in the Water, by Rosie Caldecott