Skip to main content


The Guest Star - Preview

The story of the novella "The Guest Star" follows two students of the Great Library of Alexandria in their scientific search for knowledge at the end of the second century AD, portrayed from a slightly different perspective and beyond the commonly accepted clichés in Roman Empire history. The Guest Star is also a historical adventure in which ancient Roman and Chinese cultures intertwined at the start of the Silk Road, several years before the first major civil war erupted after the death of Emperor Commodus. The main character is based on the life of Herodian of Antioch, a Greek historian, author of a "History of the Roman Empire since the Death of Marcus Aurelius" in which he describes the reign of Commodus, the Year of the Five Emperors, the age of the Severan dynasty, and the Year of the Six Emperors. Herodian had no scholarly pretensions at all and wrote only about the events of his time or those he witnessed. His distance from Rome made him independent, unbia

Uranium Bike Tour

After the Second World War, another tide of the arms race slowly but surely began to develop in the world. With the first nuclear power plant built in Obninsk back in 1954, in the former Soviet Union, it became clear that atomic weapons and the nuclear industry overall would mark the second half of the twentieth century. Today, about 80 years after the first nuclear reactor ever built, "Chicago Pile-1", the current numbers for the commercial use of nuclear power indicate that 50 countries operate about 220 research reactors with as much more operating power plants in majority of these countries. The military numbers are expected to be even higher, and the fact is that nuclear submarines and ships can be equipped with multiple nuclear reactors on board. Some of the aircraft carriers can have up to eight of them.

Ten Big Questions for Artificial Intelligence

One day, I would love to have an artificial intelligence installed on my smartphone that could watch me and my wife playing ping-pong in the basement, to referee suspicious situations and count points so we don't have to. I wouldn't mind if it could occasionally throw in a witty comment during the game as well, for example, if I miss some easy point, it would be interesting to hear some scathing intrusion, like "Come on, I'm sure you can do that better!" or "Oh dear, why am I even rooting for you!". When that happens, I will know that the next breakthrough in the development of artificial intelligence has definitely happened. But, we are not there yet. Today, artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, and that's actually a good thing. It is a long ride and it needs time. I'm perfectly aware that the current stage of AI is more focused on handling real (and huge) amounts of internet data, both online and offline, than towards real human-li

Evolution of AI Algorithms

Without a doubt, at the very beginning, MPJ started as a public journal in mind but, it was always open to guest articles, provided they contained topics and stories compatible with the portal's themes and threads. There have been several guest authors in the past, with different topics that added extra quality to the site, but today I have the great pleasure to present one more guest writer who will, I am sure of it, give another dimension to the future of MPJ. Starting with this post, please meet ChatGPT (OpenAI's conversational application that deserves to be called a comprehensive AI entity). I am positive that this thread will have more AI articles and stories from various of sources in the future and even more collaboration articles between me and AIs. For starters, let's see what ChatGPT thinks of history and evolution of AI, illustrated with designs from another AI entity called Leonardo.Ai. Evolution of AI Algorithms: Unveiling Progress, Challenges, and Future Pro

Camera Obscura

Perhaps, it's a little weird for me to begin an article with a glimpse to a romantic movie, but I can't think of a cooler way to start today's topic. When I came up with the idea to write about "Camera Obscura", the first thought that came to my mind was a movie from 1997, called "Addicted to Love". Of all the movies in this genre only a few are on the top of my mind and this one, directed by Griffin Dunne with Matthew Broderick and Meg Ryan in lead roles is definitely the best one I remember. In short, Sam, an astronomer who, in an attempt to win back his girlfriend, turns his astronomical tools into specific spy equipment and by using his dark-chambered pinhole camera manages to observe what is happening in the building across the street in the real time. What he used to achieve this is a principle behind Camera Obscura - a method to project the light through a small hole and create an image on the opposite wall inside a dark room, tent, or box. Someth

Galilean Telescope

The knowledge and manufacture of lenses were known since the time of the old Greeks (the word optics came from the Greek word ὀπτικά, which means appearance) and later in the old ages with Egyptian scholar Alhazen who made important contributions to the study of optics in general. In Europe, the lenses arrived around 13th century and immediately triggered the invention of the first eyeglasses. However, one important discovery had to wait three centuries later in order to set off a wave of new discoveries in the field of astronomy. The invention was made by Hans Lippershey, the spectacle maker from the Dutch city of Middelburg in Netherlands, who in October 1608 tried to apply for a patent for a tool he described as an aid capable of "seeing faraway things as though nearby" . It consisted of a convex and concave lenses in a tube capable of magnifying objects three or four times. For strange reasons, the patent was rejected, but the new instrument immediately attracted attentio

The Prequel to the Prequel’s Prequel

Hmmm, I think I got that title wrong. I wanted to write something catchy but obviously language puzzles are not really my thing. In case of Star Wars storytelling backwards in time, this triple 'prequels' looks fine, but again if I put all the main Jedi characters of various ages in chronological order, i.e. something like this:  Gella > Avar > Anakin > Luke > Rey , then it does look like that I missed one more word 'prequel' in it. Or.. well.. if we consider Rey's story to be the only sequel to the first prequel's main story in this thread, which started with "A New Hope", the very first movie of the franchise that initiated it all... then I could be correct after all.. Right? Oh, darn it, let it be... So, let's explore the latest prequel in the galaxy far, far away and long time ago, minus 150 years. Minus 150 years means, 150 solar cycles of the Coruscant, capital of the Republic, an entire planet evolved into one giant city, befo

The Only Martians

Up there, within our own Solar system (and beyond) everything is in motion. There is no space object that is standing still. Ever since the big bang. Even the black holes that are capturing things into singularity point are moving across the universe along with their own neighborhood. The same is with Earth and its first neighbor Mars. They are both orbiting the Sun in their own time schedule - Earth needs full year to complete the cycle, while Mars in its own distant orbit needs 322 more days to do it. While both, Earth and Mars travel around the Sun, sometimes they got closer to each other by the approximate 55 million kilometers (while the farthest distance between the two is about 400 million kilometers).

Saronic Islands with Rackpeople

I have no sailor material in me. At all. I don't mean qualified skills that are fascinating and easily acquired through study and experience. I mean literally and physically, my body is simply not built for the navy. I realized that when I entered those 4D/5D theaters for the first (and the last) time, about dozens of years ago. I remember anxiously waiting for that sophisticated motion ride system built into movie theater seats to come to my city, and when it finally arrived, I was among the first in the tickets line... And I was first to get out of the small theater with a terrible motion sickness thundering throughout my entire body. I should have guessed what was going to happen after seeing the title of the short film had the word "rollercoaster" in it. I fully recovered more than 24 hours later. After that, I never stepped into any movie theater with more than 3D label on its front gate. Sometimes even in those I check if the chair is fixed solid. To be honest, I kn

Global Changemakers

More and more I found myself troubled by following worldwide news on daily basis. It's not that I have lack of free time to filter them all out. More, it is that recently I started feeling certain reluctance reading the headlines filled with conflicts, wars and civil fights, religious and cultural animosities, political and all the other disgusting affairs, political elections full of poorly casted actors, stories that you have to use superb power to read them between the lines, worldwide armed conflicts and warfare in foreign countries that I have not the slightest clue what initiated them all and why, mediocre journalism and sensationalism in the worst meaning of the word, etc... The list is endless and believe me I'm not even referring to all those black chronicle stories with unappropriated articles where i.e. somebody killed his parents with an ax or mass murder of cinema crowd by a lunatic in batman suit or worse. Or in today's case and what inspired me to revive this

Why I Prefer Chess Bots

Or to be precise, the title should be 'Why I prefer chess bots to human players'. In short, at least with me, is that playing bots is pure fun and learning, while playing against humans is usually nothing more than a competition that always comes with various feelings that are not always related to the game per se. It's not that there are no emotions involved when playing computer algorithms, it's more in the fact that it is much easier to punch the table when the blunder comes out of nowhere if there's a screen across the board than an actual person and it's even easier to hit the 'play again' button without any regrets or remorse. Don't get me wrong here, I enjoy playing humans immensely but the chess is something that occupies me on daily basis and for that the only opponent ready at any given time is artificial intelligence especially all those colorful characters from within portal. To be honest, I've only been playing against

Interview With a Teenager

There are many periods in one person's life. To me, they all seem distinct from each other. Referring to those farthest in the past, in my mind, it was almost like they didn't really happen to me. Some of the choices I made before, from this perspective, looked like some other person made them on my behalf. Especially in the first couple of decades. But that's the point of growing up and all the changes that happen from early youth to adulthood. Later, we are left with tons of memories that we look back on most of the times with a smile on our faces, sometimes with a little sadness or shame and once in a while with a confused look as if it happened at all. But, one thing is certain, everything that happened, exactly how it happened, defines us as we are today. Viktor, testing the drums before 'Some like it hot', theatrical play Of them all, no single period in life compares to the one called teenage years. I remember those years. Vividly. If I could choose just