iFive: Groupon’s Funding, Paul Allen Sues Apple, Oldest Human in Israel?, California’s Sun Power, Billy the Kid’s Pardon

2011 is here in just a few days, but there’s still some innovating to be done in 2010–so on to today’s early tech news:

1. Groupon is about to pull off a different kind of financial coup to the deals it offers its clients: It’s been authorized to raise over $950 million in equity financing–the biggest deal of its kind since Pixar in 1995. That values the firm at around $7 billion, which gives us a flavor of exactly how big a market the online coupons business has become–and very quickly, indeed.


2. Billionaire Paul Allen (Microsoft’s co-founder) has refiled his patent suit against Apple, this time citing the specific patent violations, the lack of which had his earlier suit thrown out of court. It’s all about tricks used in iTunes and other Mac software that Allen claims abuse patents granted a decade ago to his now-defunct research firm. Rampant patent trolling of the worst kind? That’s some of the scuttlebutt online over this.

3. Israeli archaeologists have found what they claim to be the earliest human remains ever found–an example of homo sapiens from about 400,000 years ago. The find centers around teeth discovered in a cave near Tel Aviv that suggest human occupation over 200,000 years, ending about 200,000 years ago. It’s potentially a huge discovery, since it challenges the notion that we as a species originated in east Africa.

4. Californian authorities believe their “big push” to get the solar power industry seriously underway is now over–compared to the glut of solar projects they approved in 2010, the Californian Energy Commission has just two projects under review. With some of these earlier projects already in construction, the future of the Sunshine State’s energy policy really does look like it’ll be involving lots of sun.

5. Inside a couple of days Billy the Kid (yes, really–the famous outlaw) may get an official pardon. A website and email address set up by New Mexico governor Bill Richardson to gather public opinion has found that many more folks approve of a pardon than oppose one for his 1878 killing of sheriff William Brady. If it happens, it’ll conclude a promise of a pardon made to Billy in 1879, which he never got. First Jim Morrison and now this–who could be next?

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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