I'm Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.
And the Oscars Voters Are …
Four years ago, The Times painstakingly tracked down the thousands of members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and found that Oscar voters were 94% white and 77% male. Our latest study shows progress, but not much: They are now 91% white and 76% male. Will efforts to double the number of women and minority members by 2020 succeed? The academy's president says yes, but her predecessor says it's "impossible." Take a deeper dive on who decides who will win.
Terror, Technology and the Law
There's no doubt the front lines of war on terror now run through Silicon Valley. Islamic State is threatening the leaders of Twitter and Facebook, after the companies increased efforts to block the group's propaganda amid White House complaints. Meanwhile, though Apple has assisted the government in terrorism investigations before, it is locked in a battle with the FBI over an encrypted phone. Here's why Apple says the 1st and 5th Amendments are on its side.
Super Tuesday Scramble
"Can somebody attack me, please?" Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio duked it out in a lively debate (brawl?), but that line from Ben Carson was the quote of the night. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are looking to the South Carolina Democratic Primary to provide some clarity ahead of Super Tuesday. Both candidates are wooing black and Latino voters, but with different approaches: Clinton focusing squarely on race, Sanders more on class and income.
A Big Disagreement Over Tiny Houses
Elvis Summers built tiny houses for homeless people in South Los Angeles. He placed them within encampments on overpasses along the 110 Freeway. "These people are beaten down so hard, you give them any opportunity to be normal, it lifts them up," he said. One problem: City officials say the structures pose serious health and safety risks, and they've begun seizing them.
How Baseball's New Slide Rule Adds Up
Call it the Utley Rule. Major League Baseball will ban runners sliding into second base from kicking, shoving or throwing their bodies into an oncoming infielder. It comes, coincidentally enough, four months after the Dodgers' Chase Utley collided with New York Mets star Rubén Tejada, breaking Tejada's leg. It's also the second time in two years the league has changed a rule to protect its players. Smart business decision or taking the life out of the game?
-- Scientists say the Porter Ranch gas leak doubled methane emissions for the entire L.A. Basin.
-- The Expo Line extension to Santa Monica will open May 20. The last time rail service connected downtown L.A. and the Westside was the 1950s.
-- Clean water versus the sucker fish: The drought creates a bizarre dilemma.
-- The tricky task of designing two downtown L.A. parks to best serve the city.
-- Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Trump: "I'm not going to pay for that ... wall."
-- A deadly workplace shooting at a turf care products manufacturer in Kansas.
-- The U.S. gets China's support for new U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
-- Move over, New York. Beijing is the world's new billionaire capital.
-- Here's what would happen if we didn't have leap years.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- All eyes (except for those boycotting) will be on Oscars host Chris Rock. What will he say?
-- Our awards columnist's fearless Oscar predictions.
-- Amid the diversity furor, Oscar sponsors are anxiously waiting to see audiences' response.
-- #Wincing: Twenty-three awkward Oscar moments.
-- Mary McNamara: The "black-ish" episode on police brutality is an emotional ballet. Bring on the Emmys.
-- Remember ski jumper Eddie the Eagle at the 1988 Winter Olympics? His story is told in a new movie.
-- While it defies U.S. government, Apple abides by China's orders and reaps big rewards.
-- SeaWorld workers posed as animal activists to spy on opponents, its CEO acknowledges.
-- David Lazarus: Government may soon begin putting an end to forced arbitration clauses.
-- Alfred E. Mann, a pioneering investor and philanthropist whose companies have developed breakthrough medical devices, has died.
-- Sam Farmer on the top quarterbacks at the NFL combine.
-- A waiter sues Manny Pacquiao and CBS for a piece of the Floyd Mayweather fight purse.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Inside the notorious prison that once held Nelson Mandela. (CNN)
-- Who goofed? Twelves stories of accidental scientific breakthroughs. (NPR)
-- The mystery of "Jeopardy!'s" recent ban on Canadian players. (CBC)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Every year, they buzz on in: Bees and their keepers come from as far away as Florida and New Jersey for the planet's largest "managed pollination" event. The goal: to ultimately produce almonds. But no farmer wants to wrangle bees, so that's why "the whores of agriculture," as one beekeeper puts it, are called in. Columnist Robin Abcarian went up to Kern County, donned a bee suit and saw how little almonds are made.