Boy, you wish your high school shop class was as cool as Local Motors in Chandler. It's a space where auto enthusiasts, fabricators, engineers, and designers come to create vehicles conducive to the local environment. The Rally Fighter is the flagship vehicle of Local Motors, designed by Song Ho Kim, who won Local Motors' open competition. It's built for the American Southwest, and as intense as it looks, it's perfectly okay to take it out on Interstate 10. While Local Motors has an international online community of engineers and designers called The Forge, the coolest thing about this space is that you can (for the right price) build a Rally Fighter for yourself. From scratch. In six days. Even if you don't know how an engine works or why it's a called a monkey wrench, Local Motors will pair you up with a member of their team and you can drive this bad-ass car home in about a week. Learn more about it www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bestof2012.

Plasmids are the key to genetic engineering. You can't just take a string of genetic code, throw it into a pot of DNA, give it a shake and expect a cure for cancer to fall out. Plasmids are tiny loops of genetic material that scientists use to courier desired genes into the heart of a cell, its DNA. Pretty much all genetic engineering depends on plasmids, and keeping track of them can be a hassle. In the past, scientists who wanted to use plasmids had to more or less build them from scratch, which can be a slow and time-consuming process.

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