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I'm hotter than anything else in the world;
I'm brighter than everything around me.
I'll burn you if you get too close,
But still, you know how to tame me.

Undesirable as I may be,
I'm vital to preserving life.
I'm not sure if you'll guess me right
After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

What am I?

Hint:

The answer is natural, not artificial.

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  • $\begingroup$ For those wondering, 'world' means 'earth' in the riddle. $\endgroup$ – cst1992 May 7 '16 at 7:52
  • $\begingroup$ Official answer posted: here $\endgroup$ – cst1992 May 7 '16 at 18:21
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To give an alternate answer to what everyone else is giving, I think it's

Lightning or electricity.

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

Lightning is 53,000 degrees Fahrenheit, even hotter than lava. Edit: Research suggests that it is actually five times hotter than the surface of the sun, too. Go figure.

I'm brighter than everything around me.

A flash of lightning is brighter than the darkness of the storm.

I'll burn you if you get too close,

Self-explanatory

But still, you know how to tame me.

We have tamed electricity, though to say we have tamed lightning is not exact science. Perhaps lightning rods?

Undesirable as I may be, I'm vital to preserving life.

"Undesirable" is an opinion, but truth be told, it would be a mortal consequence if lightning did not exist.

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

Everyone suspects fire or lava to be the hottest thing on Earth, but lightning is many times hotter. It just doesn't last long, so it's not considered as much.

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  • $\begingroup$ news.discovery.com/earth/is-lightning-hotter-than-the-sun.htm $\endgroup$ – manshu May 7 '16 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ that is indeed what i found in my research when i Google'd it. $\endgroup$ – Bulldogg6404 May 7 '16 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ I though of this, but couldn't come up with an explanation $\endgroup$ – Xylius May 7 '16 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ I feel that the taming line probably has a better explanation especially considering the bigger part of your answer uses lightning as the solution rather than electricity. But +1 for getting further than me on this idea. $\endgroup$ – Xylius May 7 '16 at 12:49
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    $\begingroup$ Agreed. I like @paste's answer, too. I figure it has to be one of our answers, and I'm curious which one was intended. $\endgroup$ – Bulldogg6404 May 7 '16 at 14:50
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You are

the sun.

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

Well, yes. Much hotter.

I'm brighter than everything around me.

The sun is brighter than all other stars. As seem from earth, at least.

I'll burn you if you get too close,

Think Icarus

But still, you know how to tame me.

Solar power

Undesirable as I may be,
I'm vital to preserving life.

Without the sun, it would be too cold on earth to sustain life.

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right
After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

...or maybe I'm completely wrong?!

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  • $\begingroup$ Tons of things in this universe are hotter than the Sun. $\endgroup$ – manshu May 7 '16 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, but non of them are on earth. $\endgroup$ – cpj May 7 '16 at 7:41
  • $\begingroup$ but the riddle is clearly asking for the hottest thing in the world O_o $\endgroup$ – manshu May 7 '16 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ My interpretation is "world" = "earth" and not "world" = "universe". $\endgroup$ – cpj May 7 '16 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ @cpj OK, but the sun isn't on the Earth either, so whether world=earth or universe, it still doesn't apply. $\endgroup$ – terdon May 7 '16 at 15:56
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Here's a guess: You could be

plasma

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;
I'm brighter than everything around me.
I'll burn you if you get too close,
But still, you know how to tame me.

Plasma is the hottest state of matter, and burns brightly (as in the sun or lightning), but we can control it for plasma TVs or neon signs.

Undesirable as I may be,
I'm vital to preserving life.

The plasma on the sun sustains life on earth.

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right
After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

When people think of the states of matter, they usually just consider solid, liquid and gas.

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  • $\begingroup$ Noooooooo! I was writing that up, but had to go away for some time. Curses. Ban this guy! For taming it, we also have magnetic bottles and other containers for when we generate it. $\endgroup$ – Reti43 May 7 '16 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ Also, the title is a hint itself: more efficient energy source. $\endgroup$ – Reti43 May 7 '16 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Reti43 plus it's just got a kind of futuristic connotation to it. $\endgroup$ – paste May 7 '16 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ You're close, but this is not the answer. $\endgroup$ – cst1992 May 7 '16 at 16:39
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the core and mantle

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

the hottest part of this planet

I'm brighter than everything around me.

much brighter than the crust

I'll burn you if you get too close,

eg: lava

But still, you know how to tame me.

geothermal energy

Undesirable as I may be,

volcanic eruptions

I'm vital to preserving life.

some places are heated by this - people would freeze, without the core the plane would collapse, also a carbon-neutral energy source.

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

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Are you:

Fire?

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

Combining @arulkumar and @Jasen's answers, lava, is the hottest substance on earth especially when it is within the mantle, in its magma form, which is sometimes known as liquid fire.

I'm brighter than everything around me

Discounting the sun, fire is the brightest natural light source on Earth

I'll burn you if you get too close,:

Well, I'm sure we all t-know that

But still, you know how to tame me,

Think Neanderthals and cooking food and everything else that we made because we knew how to control fire

Undesirable as I may be,

Not sure about the undesirable part but I guess in everyday life.. You don't exactly want a fire raging about anywhere..

I'm vital to preserving life.

We'd all either be frozen or have salmonella without fire

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right

Not sure

After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

Well, judging by the responses of some other users, I guess it really isn't the first thing that comes to mind

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  • $\begingroup$ You might want to rethink your answer to the first line. $\endgroup$ – cst1992 May 7 '16 at 8:10
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My Prediction is

Lava

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

It can produces the temperature greater than 1000 °C

I'm brighter than everything around me.

The lava flow is brighter than its surroundings

I'll burn you if you get too close,
But still, you know how to tame me.

The lava can burn anything, no idea for tame

Undesirable as I may be,
I'm vital to preserving life.

No one desire for the lava. no idea for vital

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right
After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

No idea

Moreover the hint is "The answer is natural, not artificial"

Lava

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't think you need a link to what lava is. :P $\endgroup$ – Riker May 7 '16 at 15:32
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Not an entirely serious answer.

Is it

A redneck's mum?

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

Mhmmmm

I'm brighter than everything around me.

That's not saying much

I'll burn you if you get too close,

With that ciggy hanging out of her mouth

But still, you know how to tame me.

With gifts of raccoon fur

Undesirable as I may be,

Not to other rednecks!

I'm vital to preserving life.

That is a mother's job

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

Not only the child's mother, but also their sister, cousin and great auntie

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0
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Congratulations to Bulldogg6404 for the correct answer.

Here's the official answer:

I'm hotter than anything else in the world;

Lightning is estimated to be pretty hot - over 30,000 Kelvin temperature. Even the surface of the Sun, which is otherwise the hottest, is only around 6000 Kelvin.

I'm brighter than everything around me.

I didn't find any data on the luminosity of lightning in lumens, so it's a possibility the sun beats it. However, it's always either night time or cloudy weather in a lightning storm, so it's the brightest thing among everything around it.

I'll burn you if you get too close,

Lightning strikes are quite deadly, and cause severe burns and ruptured blood vessels. There are people who have survived it, but those are rare, and you certainly can't escape unscathed.

But still, you know how to tame me.

Lightning conductors, and generally electricity. Man had to depend on coal and fire till the Industrial Age, but with the advent of electricity, we've learned to utilize the power to our advantage.

Undesirable as I may be,

This one was a catch. Lightning itself is undesirable(in the form of thunderstrikes) and so is electricity if not controlled or handled safely. In case of the most obvious answer(the Sun) this one doesn't make sense.

I'm vital to preserving life.

This refers to the role of electric signals in bodily reactions.

I'm not sure if you'll guess me right
After all, I'm not who most think I must be.

Most people think I'm talking about the Sun.

About the title,

I'm talking about electricity being the way forward, with global warming increasingly being a problem, we'll have to shift everything to electric, such as transportation, comfort(heat and cold). Solar also fits, as it's the only sustainable way of generating electricity.

The hint:

I provided this to discourage people from comparing it to man made entities, such as fission reaction which is orders of magnitude hotter than even lightning.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cyanide kills by binding to the cytochrome c oxidase protein and blocking oxygen. You're thinking of neurotoxins like tetrodotoxin. $\endgroup$ – f'' May 7 '16 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ The bright red color comes from oxygen remaining in the blood because it can't be used. $\endgroup$ – f'' May 7 '16 at 18:01
  • $\begingroup$ @f'' Okay, I'll remove that. $\endgroup$ – cst1992 May 7 '16 at 18:06

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