So the point of the super-long bus ride yesterday was to make my niece's activities at the State Science Fair today. Walking through the exhibits, one is struck by the realization that there are a lot of smart kids here, and that some of them are doing projects well above the average for most college students. Are they abnormal? Or could everyone do what they have done, given the opportunity. I tend to lean towards the latter, but that raises deep questions about why this outcome isn't the one we see. Certainly this opportunity was not available to me (or I was unaware of it) when I was in school.

The evening begins with a banquet featuring the usual array of speakers in a room flanked by booths set up by the science departments of local and state universities. There's something ironic about this: a kid's presence at this event implies that they could, are are on their way to being able to, get into better schools than these, and one hopes that both they and these recruiters know it.

The Science Fair has some overarching awards, but also a myriad array of smaller awards sponsered by companies and organizations. Aliet ends up taking home certificates and gift certificates for Outstanding Use of the Metric System and Outstanding Engineering Project.

The next morning, Dad, Chris, and I wake early for more driving. Well, and to go fishing.

But, even after a whole day of fishing, we haven't caught very much. Meanwhile, out in the river, others are having better luck.

The next day, Mom, Dad, and I drive back to Minneapolis completing an eight-day 2,961-mile round-trip for me. Whew!

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