It doesn't matter, I'm in NE Ohio which gets even less sun, during hurricane Sandy my 15W cell still produced enough to power lights and recharge my cellphone. For a fridge you might need to oversize the array by 400%, but that's still only a kw array, not too expensive.
Yes, yes it is. When it costs more to buy the ebook than it does to buy a 500 page printed document you know something is fundamentally wrong.
It's coming, the July 2012 EU Court of Justice of the European Union ruling around the right to sell used digital assets will ensure it does (at least for people with EU country accounts).
No we shouldn't be pissed off, the government is NOT a company, there are often goals well beyond making money (something the government can't really do anyways since they control the monetary supply so them making money is really just a contraction of credit elsewhere in the system) these include promoting domestic manufacturing, advancing the state of the art, pushing a technology over the early adopter price curve, etc.
If you want to be self sufficient a 15W solar cell and an emergency jump start pack for a car are sufficient to power a sleep mask for a week, I know because our scout master has sleep apnea and that's what he uses for summer camp.
Gardy Loo was the term in Scotland, from the French garde à l'eau! or look out for the water.
Meh, I use my stored fuel in my push mower, riding mower, chainsaw, snow blower, and weed whip, never had a problem.
I run my sump, fridge, and blower for the furnace off a large UPS, this makes sure my basement doesn't flood, my food doesn't rot, and my pipes don't freeze. Most people do the same thing with a small generator but the UPS is silent and since it was a castoff from work it was free =)
E10 does not go bad "in a matter of weeks", I've got cans that have been sitting around for two years that are just fine, all you need is a properly sealed DOT approved can and you're fine. I live in an area that's had E5 for as long as I've been driving and when I was in school my car wasn't driven for over 6 months and it wasn't a problem despite the fact that it wasn't properly sealed due to the way that gas caps work.
I've got a few 5 gallon jugs in the basement for emergency water, plus the gallon jugs of RO water for the fish tank, and when a bad storm is coming I fill up the tub with water that I can use to flush the toilet. I've only lost water once for an extended period (great NE blackout) but that once was enough to make sure I don't take it for granted.
I've got a 5kva 220V UPS that used to power our DR datacenter before it got big enough to need a hard tied UPS. Running my fridge, sump, blower for the furnace, and a few lamps it'll run almost a week unless the sump is going nonstop. It's way bigger than I would have bought new but since all it took was a little bit of physical labor to haul out of the datacenter and then out of the car and downstair it's great.
Heats not really a concern as far as flamability, even a 25A 208V circuit pulling 120% of rated load doesn't get over 110F (don't ask how I know this). The only way you're going to introduce enough heat energy to cause something to burn (especially furniture which is doused in flame-retardant chemicals thanks to smokers) is to short something out, so your comments about making sure that chords are protected is spot on.
I was kinda thinking the same thing, why not ship this second one off to the naval museum in D.C. so people on the east coast can access one without flying 3,000+ miles?
Datacenters accounted for 1.3% of all electricity used worldwide in 2010, I imagine it's higher today, so reducing their power usage by say 40% is a big deal, almost as big as the similar reduction in the 5-6% of total electricity used for residential lighting we got by switching to LED/CFL.
The patent filing date was in 1992, but it's still predated by the internet.