Thursday, June 21, 2007
Dung- Nab it!
We're talking a lot these days about alternate fuels-- ethanol for instance. But there is another natural resource that has long been used for fuel in the ANE, including at Haran where this picture was taken. Those little spherical objects in the picture. Well, that's dung. More specifically its probably some combination of donkey, cow, and/or camel dung. Nomads and the poor use it for fuel. They burn it to cook on, to keep warm, etc. In ancient times they likely used it for roasting sacrifices for whole burnt offerings to one deity or another. No wonder we hear in the OT from time to time that a sacrifice produced "an odor that was not pleasing to the Lord", or to quote another Hebrew phrase "and it stank in the Lord's nostrils".
It looks to me like we have a long way to go before we exhaust all the fuel possibilities produced naturally here in the U.S. Forget 'clean' coal, it's about as clean as the 'clean' dung you are looking at above. I can just hear the nomads in Haran now complaining about their fuel options. One of them says "You know this fire doesn't burn worth....." You fill in the blanks :)