A legend has it that the idea of infinity crossed minds of ancient mathematicians in Alexandria, Egypt, when they tried to count
the number of grains of sand in a desert. Thousands years later, Darrell Mann is still trying to count "grains" in other "deserts".
Last year he announced a project of
"systematically analyzing and codifying patents for contradictions,
trends of evolution, inventive standards and knowledge/effects content,
__starting from the present day and working back in numerical order,
patent-by-patent back to the time when systematic analysis previously stopped__" [1].
Recently, he described another project of extending the contradiction matrix [2]. In his opinion,
Altshuller matrix is not good because does not embrace all possible parameters of technical systems that can be improved. The objective of the project is to
incorparate all parameters, to create sub-matrices, etc.

It is hard to believe that he is not familiar with the concept of infinity per se. But what is apparent from his articles is that he is not familiar with the concept of practical infinity. The number of grains in a desert is finite. However, ancient mathematicians decided that it is practically infinite.

Similarly, the number of patents granted since "systematic analysis previously stopped" (i.e. since the 1970s) is finite. The same is true for the number of parameters of techical systems. However, both numbers are practically infinite. For some reason, the concept of practical infinity was not taught to Darrell Mann ! May be because he did not study at a good school. (In another article, he complains that "the really good schools have only a limited number of openings for entering students. So the students who are accepted to universities like Harvard, Yale or Cambridge become part of that elite group whose futures seem to be etched in gold, while everyone else struggles through the average education system and the subsequent competition for a job that will at least pay the rent" [3].)

Well, if the shortcomings of the average education system in England is the root cause of his strange projects (rather than some as yet undiscovered syndrom), we would advice him to fill the gaps in his education by reading aphorisms by Kozma Prutkov [4]. The most relevant are these:

- Nobody will embrace the unembraceable;
- If you have a fountain, shut it up. Let even a fountain have a rest.
- And once again: nobody will embrace the unembraceable!
- Everyone is astonished in Arkansas

At so big Darrell Mann's hat !

R E F E R E N C E S:

- Darrell Mann, "Assessing The Accuracy Of The Contradiction Matrix For Recent Mechanical Inventions", The TRIZ-journal, February 2002.
- Darrell Mann and Simon DeWulf, "Updating the Contradiction Matrix", CREAX web site, April 2003 articles (http://www.creax.com/articles/default_thismonth.asp?left=april03&link=2003/articles_april/trizcon2003_matrix_fina_dlm.html)
- Darrell Mann, "Abundance Theory versus Scarcity Theory", CREAX web site, April 2003 articles (http://www.creax.com/articles/default_thismonth.asp?left=april03&link=2003/articles_april/abundance_theory.html)
- Kozma Prutkov, "Fruits of Reflection (1853-1854)", (in Russian) (see the English translation, for example, at http://www.geocities.com/uniart/mix/kp.htm)