Alastair Bland

Alastair Bland

Alastair Bland is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. He writes frequently of food, science, and the environment. He travels frequently — often by bicycle — and his journeys can be followed at his blog “Off the Road” (

Latest from Alastair Bland


Don’t steal fruit from your neighbor’s fig tree — clone it! Read more »


Just where and when humans first observed the chemical reaction between oil and potash is unknown. One legend says it was at “Mount Sapo” in ancient Rome, where a creek flowed over a deposit of wood ash and animal fats created by sacrificial fires for the gods. There’s evidence that... Read more »

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This winter, my dad and I took up the project of building a simple pedal-powered cell phone charger to mount on my bicycle. Cell phones are small potatoes in the big picture of energy consumption, but the apparatus we built could be a very practical concept for those on self-supported... Read more »