Matthew McGuire

Matthew McGuire



  • A tip to the miner. If the outputs are less than the inputs the miner will take the difference as fees.

  • Just being pedantic. It's a bit like saying that a wallet is a special type of cryptographic key management system. For some people a wallet is a physical object. For others something digital comes to mind first.

  • Permissioned DLTs are an interesting solution that may fit the use-case I have in mind. They are completely different from public, permissionless blockchains - different use-case, different technology, different everything.

  • I am sceptical about the use-case for a permissioned DLT network. Feels like we have a solution looking for a problem here. The consensus protocols of blockchains are very inefficient and if there is enough trust to form a consortium then there are no-doubt better ways of solving the problem at hand. The parties can more easily set up a separate legal...

  • I don't know how the privacy protection of Zcash or Monero works, therefore I don't really trust it. With Zcash, if my z-address is shielded from publication scrutiny, how can I be prevented for double spending?

  • Good point. Records in append-only data store are immutable and global states don't exist. Blocks, once minted and added to the block-chain are immutable.

  • Decentralised databases introduce the Byzantine Fault problem (centralised ones don't suffer this in the same way). With Bitcoin, the solution is Proof of Work (Mining) which consumes substance amounts of energy. Even though cryptocurrencies make no material contribution to the world economy, this solution already consumes close to 1% of global energy...

  • Reminds me of stored procedures and triggers in SQL databases. Dangerous things - hard to reason about and maintain.

  • I don't think there are any examples of decentralised ledgers from the past so its problems are yet to be discovered. The most glaring problem / benefit is complete transparency - every transaction is visible on the public blockchain. Even the most honest participants with nothing to hide will hesitate at this.

  • In a business context, each entity in a supply chain keeps their own ledger and if any dispute or discrepancy arises then each party will present their own record of account. The reconciliation process can be complicated but gets sorted out in the end. I don't think this will change - each entity will want its own 'centralised' version of the truth.

  • Would any of this apply to old fashioned paper ledgers - the sort Ebenezer Scrooge swore by?

  • Hi, I'm Matt. My background is long and winding - applied maths, civil engineers, software developer (trading, finance, banking), consulting and business etc etc. I've been following the Bitcoin story since its inception but am only now exploring developing with blockchain.

  • "A ledger is a special type of database" is an odd statement and doesn't make sense. "Ledger" is an ancient word, with its modern meaning as a book of accounts dating back to the 16th Century. On the other hand, the OED cites a 1962 report by the System Development Corporation of California as the first to use the term "data-base".

  • The natural world provides us an an example. Many species are highly specialised to a particular niche and are vulnerable to ecosystem disruptions, other species are generalists. Life is resilient through its diversity and ability to adapt. There are extinctions and even mass extinctions but life continues and it evolves.

  • The response to supply chain disruptions might be self-sufficiency, sourcing things locally or in a diversity of suppliers. These responses come at a cost and competitive markets will drive companies back to a strategy of optimising around cost efficiency.

  • FDI outflows are the value of direct investment made by the residents of the economy to external economies. Does this mean that in 2018, US repatriated more capital from foreign countries than it invested?

  • Infectious diseases does feature as a risk in the 2020 report. It has a high impact but moderately low likelihood. This seems fair. Climate and weapons of mass destruction are still the biggest impact. Climate change is certain and WMD has now become much more likely.

  • The definition is of Economic globalisation. But Globalisation means more -
    it is the process by which the world is becoming increasingly interconnected as a result of massively increased trade and cultural exchange.

  • Urban areas have high levels of noise pollution which may challenge the sensitivity of any sound recording equipment. For a similar reason, species that rely on sound for communication will suffer because they can not communicate over the background noise. This might leave some species more exposed to predators, or unable to find a mate.

  • Páramo ecosystems in the Colombian Andes Mountains. Some years ago I had the privilege of visiting this unique ecosystems hosting over 3,000 plant species. Superpáramo at the highest elevations has many localised unique ecosystems. These areas are the least disturbed by humans and contains the most endemic species.

    Climate change as well as increased human...

  • The turtle dove is the UK's fastest declining bird species. It breeds in in south and east England and the lowlands of Wales, and winters in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is found on grassland, moorland, on farmland and urban gardens.

    Turtle doves only eat seeds, mostly weed seeds. Intensified farming across Europe has decimated the habitat and food sources of...

  • Damaged ecosystems can suffer from overpopulation of a small number of species, often due to the disappearance of a keystone species. An example of this is from the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, resulting in a trophic cascade through the entire ecosystem.


  • The use of sound and bioacoustics as a monitoring method is still at an early stage but is very promising. Acoustics and soundscapes are now being used , not just for vocalising marine mammals, but for much more - the sheer number and frequency of the odd sounds indicates whats going on in the ecosystem

    An example is this project that is restoring coral...

  • Habitat loss is the single biggest threat to pollinators.

    Many pollinator species are habitat-specific which makes them very sensitive to damage or fragmentation of their habitat.

  • The exercise illustrates the interdependence very well. The loss of species accelerates as the coral damage spreads. The coral ecosystem is quite resilient but I can not say how resistant it is to change and how quickly damage shows.

  • So, in the example ecological network about, the most important species are tree and grass. They have arrows going out, but none going into them.

  • Diversity leads to resilience. The greater the number of links, and the more higgledy-piggledy the pattern is, the greater the resilience. I'm not so sure about resistance though - my hunch is the simpler the network, the greater is its resistance.

  • Climate change is the most difficult to address because it is global and needs massively collective action.

  • I like the description of an ecosystem as a type of local optimum / basin of attraction; makes sense of the terms resistance and resilience.

  • I am not qualified to comment on whether seabirds are able to adapt their behaviours to deal with large wind farms. I'm very pleased to see this work going into determining if they can and figuring out engineering mitigations. It is also heartening to see that wind farm operators are prepared to act on these findings.

  • Economic incentives drive much of human behaviour in the modern world, so economic thinking is necessary if we are to preserve a natural world. We need an economic paradigm that recognises that we are part of nature and its complex web of interdependencies, not separate from it. The drive and motivation for doing this though is because it is the good thing to...

  • The Enhancement of the Quality of Life: positive use of ICT in Indigenous communities.

    Honesty: Brian is dishonest in not acknowledging Anna's contribution.

    Professional Development: Anna, supported by Brian undertakes additional tertiary study.

  • Professionalism: the competence or skill expected of a professional.
    This is very general as a value.

  • Would it be better for strict regulation to be introduced to govern the behaviours of computer professionals, rather than leaving it to an arbitrary ethical code?

  • Rachael has commitments to a) full time work b) university course c) husband/home life. Urgent issues arise demanding her attention at the same time. Rachel is not honest with her employer about this, and hides her lack of attentiveness to her work commitment. Prioritising her husband would seem to be the right decision and she should have considered telling...

  • Yes, I guess it is an issue with the name @YahayaAluke. "Ethical Hacking" is a click-bait of a title for what is really a straight forward cyber security activity. Its like calling a building security guard or consultant an "Ethical Burglar".

  • Does GDPR have a bearing on the legalities of these scenarios in the EU?

  • Mark Zuckerberg: “Move fast and break things.”

  • Digital exclusion of the less tech savvy members of society. More and more businesses and even government organisations are targeting digital natives. Sometimes this is for cost reductions reasons and the pandemic has accelerated to trend. This leaves the rest of society out.

  • This study is orientated around project delivery and the problems identified are true of many engineering domains. The ethics of computing is much broader and more important than this.

    The agile manifesto ask us to prioritise "people over process." Software and IT projects suffer these problems for several reasons. The Mythical Man Month was published in...

  • Profession: a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. -- OED

    Computing is a fast moving field and is continuing to evolve at pace. Any computing professional standards will have to be kept generic, something like the Hippocratic Oath. Certifications and codes associated with established professions...

  • There is an knowledge and information asymmetry between the professional and the user. The professional should not abuse their position.

  • What if the person launched the DoS as a joke, it would have certainly shut down the website, but was stopped at the last minute?

  • Computing and technology is complicated and seems like magic to most people. But people are increasingly digital dependent. That means most people are dependent on computing professionals and this could easily be taken advantage of.

  • Without knowing more about Rachel's employer and client its hard to answer this. The maximum utility / happiness depends on who is affected by Rachel failing to do her job.

  • All businesses are corporate machines in which employees and components. Employers treat the employees as a means to an end, and while they make allowance for employees as people with their own lives, they do not treat employees as ends-in-themselves. Employees in return use their employer as a means of earning an income. This is understood by both sides as...

  • There is a lot of misguided discussion and confused thinking about the 'Skynet moment'. We are nowhere near being on the brink of creating a digital sentience - a self aware computer. It might happen one day but thats a long way off. There are still lots of ethical issues to be thrashed out in the mean time. These are around human behaviours in relation to...

  • My first instinct is that I am a "traditionalist" for the most part but I do think computing technology is creating new opportunities for old fashioned misdemeanours, and new vectors through which criminals can exploit their victims.

  • Taking the lead of Economics, perhaps the term "normative IT" is more appropriate than "ethical IT". Because of the way technology is impacting society and behaviours we are asking questions about what our tech-enabled world should be like.

  • I like the acknowledgement that moral values derive from core non-moral values that typically rest on rational self-interest.

  • "Laws tend to follow ethics" so well reasoned and tested ethics also enables long term adoption of technology. In the absence of a well thought through ethical framework, there may come a point when there is a public and regulatory backlash against tech-driven change.

  • standards that are "universally binding" is a very high bar indeed.

  • IT amplifies people power to act and give us choices we didn't have to make before. The power of individuals and organisations, to do both harm and good is increasing. Bringing ethical thinking to computing is urgent and important.

  • All data collected should belong to the farmer, land owner or be public domain.

  • I consider myself a custodian from environmental, and sustainable livelihood/way of life perspectives. From what I've understood so far, precision farming is more appropriate for large arable growers. For me, on land better suited to pasture and grazing for the large part and modest amounts of crop I don't think its worth the investment needed.

  • Picking up on Simon's point about taking less fertile land out of production - and allowing it to go back to nature - does this not mean the biggest benefit of precision farm-tech is in the identification of non-productive land? If this is the case, then does it not imply the technology will be of most use for a relatively short period of time? As a farmer I...

  • There is common good to be had from sharing data but also the opportunity for exploitation and misuse.

    Positive uses of data collected is for the continuous improvement of products, services, advice and public policy. Negative uses of data is for manipulative communication, marketing and pricing of existing products and services.

    That blockchain...

  • Scope 3 includes non-electricity-heat-steam inputs as well as outputs - it is the whole supply chain. So, scope 2 could easily be an energy sub-category of scope 3.

  • Why would I make a big capital investment today into technology that could become out-dated or be available much more cheaply in just a few years?

  • Are there soil sampling techniques available to measure soil depth and carbon sequestered?

  • Can yield mapping be used to introduce genetic diversity in the crops being sowed? Large scale monocultures have received a lot of criticism and sowing different varieties in patches of soil that suit that variety would be an interesting approach.

  • Matthew McGuire made a comment

    This is a really good listen: "Episode 34: Has modern farming failed?". Thanks!

  • European farmers share only a small fraction of the profit in the food value chain. These low margins and other incentives pressure them to be capital intensive and become technology dependent. This all promotes larger and larger farms with fewer and fewer people earning their living off the land.

  • I'm looking forward to this course. I'm both a farmer and a software engineer. My specific interest is in beef farming but have a general interest in how technology can be agriculture and food systems.

  • I like the rigorous approach to the subject. I still haven't internalised the Multiplication and Division Principals, and tend to go back to first principles in the exercises. I'll need to review the MP DP sections again .

  • When the national lottery is drawn, each numbered ball is taken from the tumbler and not replaced. If there are 6 balls in the tumbler to begin with and all 6 balls are drawn there are 6! = 6x5x4x3x2x1 = 720 number of outcomes (a very small lottery).

    Sampling without replacement is a common scenario in combinatorics which is why factorial makes several...

  • I really like this approach of letting your customer know what the actual emissions associated with the product or service they are buying from you. This could add a real competitive edge when bidding for work in a large project as well. It might prompt the client to ask for similar figures from your competitor before making a purchasing decision.

  • Is it possible to change the base year and reset things sometime in the future? A 90% reduction in absolute terms makes it impossible for any fast growing company to ever get there and advantages incumbents. Its an incentive for 'scale ups' to postpone any kind of emissions reporting as long as they can.

  • Inspired by MSQ's as a great example, I've been scouting the internet for good infographic templates to present the dashboard. I struggled to find good ones but here are some I found interesting.

    Related to the NHS's drive to Net Zero:

    This graphic doesn't have numbers but...

  • Are there any tools or online services to turn these numbers into appealing infographics? I realise its technically not that hard but a good visual design really makes a difference.

  • Personally, I find the air miles equivalent misleading. If air travel is the large majority of company emissions, then fair enough. Otherwise, its demonising the airline industry which is an easy swipe. It implies the average MSQ employee made 2 or 3 fewer return flights to European cities such as London-Madrid. Is that the case?

    I'm guessing its a way...

  • A random thought on thinking about this. Only emissions associated with operating the building are being captured here. Am I right in saying embodied carbon in office buildings are being ignored?

  • Intensity based values are emissions per unit of economic output. So in a people based business, it makes sense to use a per employee measure as the firm is selling people-time. More generally though would it make sense to convert the tracker to calculate emissions relative to revenue?

  • Are there any outsourced services for SME like there are for HR? Services that take care of ESG accounting in general?

  • Is there are equivalent to location-based and market-based emissions for scope 2? It seems inconsistent you not to be able take their own offsetting into account to produce both figures.

  • Regretfully, it would seem that reducing travel emissions inevitably means reducing travel as well, especially when air travel is involved. Travelling to a shared place of work or to a client's office, city, culture has real benefits and losing this threatens the quality of work-life, and also risks thinning out the fabric of organisational culture and client...

  • A market-based approach "might feel like a bit of a cheat, but doing this puts demand in the right place."

    I think it is a complete cheat and distracts from reducing total energy consumption. But I agree its benefit is it sends the right signals to the market. Something doesn't seem right about electricity from 'green' energy providers being cheaper. I...

  • The fact that Bulb and many other UK energy providers have gone into administration is of deep concern. I'm assuming this is a direct consequence of the staggering increase in natural gas prices over the past few months. It highlights that these companies trade in the same old fossil fuels as other providers. Bulb claims to be a "Green gas and electricity...

  • Depends on what we mean by growth and how it is measured. Growth in population combined with fossil fuelled consumption is a huge problem. But MSQ is growing is headcount - its number of workers. They are creating high value jobs and therefore creating opportunities for people currently in lower value jobs. This seems to me an unqualified good. It is...

  • Intensity based targets are more useful. When I buy a good from company X, I care about the CO2e per unit, not the total emissions of company X. If company Y is much bigger than X and has higher absolute emissions, but sells the same good at half the CO2e per unit I'd rather buy from company Y.

  • As a professional services company, MSQ client demands will have a big impact on your ability to meet your targets - travel & hotel in particular. For example, remote client meetings might have proven to be effective in the medium term but without continuous high touch/face to face client meetings you might well end up losing business.

  • Agreed - a long term pledge on its own is a PR stunt, or self-deception and so harmful.

  • Would I not be better off using ecologi or carbon footprint for my offsetting and then investing in DAC tech companies and technologies?

  • Thanks

  • Carbon offsetting is a good because it directs much needed funds toward projects that are climate positive.

    However, carbon neutrality should be seen as an obligation, like paying taxes. Selling indulgences is how George Monbiot puts it, or doing penance for carbon sins.

    I would like to see companies forced to state their emissions as tons of CO2e...

  • So to be clear, WCC projects do qualify for formal accreditation for carbon neutrality?

  • Every good thing is open to corruption and there is definitely an opportunity for profit making at the expense of the vulnerable/ Especially when it comes to tree planting or land-intensive projects so we should exercise due diligence when choosing our offsetting projects.

  • This is the danger of investing in direct air carbon capture. It can be used as an excuse for carrying on burning fossil fuels. Its already too late for that. Fossil fuel executives need to be incentivised to wind down their operations and put themselves out of business.

  • I've heard Dr David King argue that its already too late nature based solutions alone. Greenhouse gases are already high enough to cause severe damage. The Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge University Engineering is advocating we target reducing from current 500ppm down to 350ppm by 2100 and engineering solutions are going to have to be part of that.

  • Offsetting is a good in that in directs finance to projects that have a positive impact on climate. Greenwashing is bad because it undermines the motivation to reduce emissions. In fact, offsetting allows sinners to feel like they are saints.

    Is this a problem with the way companies can make claims about carbon neutrality? Should they be forced to...

  • The location of an office building must impact its commute-transport related emissions. Its might be one of several factors, but it must surely be a major factor. It would be good to know this when deciding on an office location for my business. Do these kind of statistics exist - average commute times and typical transport modes for a given location?

  • Are there cases of eager companies collecting individual employee level data on home-working or commute journeys?

  • Should you consider the travel etc of your audiences as well?

  • For those of us in office jobs and working for 'knowledge economy' companies this is a remarkably straightforward exercise. I can see how easy it is to get to carbon neutrality. This makes me worry that this can easily become an exercise self-greenwashing and complacency.

  • I work with a consultancy and spend most of my time working in shared offices, or in client offices when not working from home. The only control I have is when choosing my co-working space, or choosing my clients. For me, scope 3 is the more meaningful measure. The carbon impact of the whole value chain is what matters. Let's say I am doing work with and...

  • The "Country Specific Settings" tab shows Norway as leading the pack in CO2e emissions, followed by France. Norway is mostly hydropower and France nuclear, both of which have their environmental concerns. China and developing countries are biggest offenders, where I think coal remains the fuel of choice. The UK is pretty good, relative to the pack but way...

  • The material in this course is really good. Its clear, its pitched at a good level for my understanding, its up to date, and its aware of greenwashing vs effective CO2e control.

    I was surprised to see that course is led by a marketing agency. This is brilliant to see as marketing folks bring joined up thinking and are well placed to incorporate the...

  • Is the Net Zero standard from the Science Based Targets Initiative generally accepted by governments and companies?

  • Searching for "Net Zero definition" on Google comes back with statements like this one "the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere."

    In the definition above does "absolute emissions" exclude removal of GHCs from the atmosphere? My reading is that it does, and so its a very high bar indeed.

  • It also seems to me that this is a complicated matter. Will home working encourage and promote high CO2e lifestyles? Eg living in larger suburban houses, car dependency, less sharing of resources. And away from dense urban living and ideas like the "15 minute city".