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hydra, in zoology
hydra (hīˈdrə), common name for freshwater organisms in the phylum Cnidaria, which includes jellyfish, sea anemones, and corals. Hydras are widely distributed in lakes, ponds, and sluggish streams. They are small, cylindrical, solitary organisms, the largest reaching about 1 in. (2.5 cm) in length. They attach themselves temporarily to water plants or submerged objects, using an adhesive pedal disk at the anal end. The simple body consists of an outer layer of epidermis, a middle noncellular layer of mesoglea, and an inner layer of gastrodermis lining the simple gastrovascular cavity, where the final stages of food digestion occur. A whorl of tentacles surrounds the mouth. Hydras feed on small plankton organisms, especially microcrustaceans, stunning them with stinging cells (nematocysts) in the tentacles. Hydras reproduce asexually by budding and sexually by means of gonadal cells formed on the sides of the body. The green hydra, Chlorhydra viridissima, contains green algae living symbiotically in its gastrodermal cells. The gray and brown hydras belong to the genus Pelmatohydra. Several species of hydra also occur in American waters. Hydras are classified in the phylum Cnidaria, class Hydrazoa.
Hydra, in astronomy
Hydra, in astronomy, southern constellation lying S of Corvus, Crater, Virgo, Leo, and Cancer. It is a long, slender, winding constellation traditionally depicted as a snake and known also as the Water Monster or Sea Serpent. The only bright star in the constellation is Alphard (Alpha Hydrae); it is a double star, but the two components can be detected only with a telescope. Hydra reaches its highest point in the evening sky in the spring.
Hydra, in Greek mythology
Hydra, in Greek mythology, many-headed water serpent; offspring of Typhon and Echidna. When one of its heads was cut off, two new heads appeared. The second labor of Hercules was to kill the monster. He did so by burning the neck after cutting off each head.
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Hydra(hÿ -dră) (Sea Serpent; Monster) The most extensive constellation in the sky, straggling between Leo in the northern hemisphere and Centaurus in the south. Its stars are rather faint apart from the solitary 2nd-magnitude Alphard. It contains several types of variable stars, the just-visible open cluster M48 (NGC 2548), the globular cluster M68 (NGC 4590), the bluish planetary nebula NGC 3242, and the spiral galaxy M83 (NGC 5236). Abbrev.: Hya; genitive form: Hydrae; approx. position: RA 8h to 15h, dec +7° to –35°; area: 1303 sq deg.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
“Cut off a limb and two more shall take its place!” This boast is perhaps the most emblematic of Marvel Comics' Hydra, a subversive organization of truly global scope. Named after the durable, many-headed beast that challenged Hercules in Greek mythology, Hydra has risen from apparent defeat several times since its founding in 1944 by Nazi Baron von Strucker, who used extraterrestrial Gnobian technology to create a high-tech infrastructure for worldwide fascist revolution. Patterned on the Nazi hierarchy—Hydra operatives greet one another with shouts of “Hail Hydra!”—Hydra quickly became a militant cult of world conquest. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby during the height of the 1960s spy craze, when James Bond, Flint, John Steed and Emma Peel, the men from U.N.C.L.E, and even Maxwell Smart gained huge audiences, Hydra quickly became Marvel's embodiment of justifiable cold-war paranoia. During his indoctrination into S.H.I.E.L.D. (Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division), Colonel Nick Fury learns that “our enemies are the most deadly, dangerous fanatics the world has ever known! They call themselves Hydra—and their sole objective is the complete and unchallenged mastery of the world!” Indeed, a S.H.I.E.L.D. raid on a Hydra outpost, mentioned during the group's debut (Strange Tales vol. 1 #135, 1965), yielded a large globe of Earth caught in the grip of a multi-tentacled creature capped with the green-hooded, red-goggled head of a Hydra operative. Though based primarily on the remote Pacific Ocean locale known as Hydra island, Hydra maintains a worldwide network of agents and safehouses. Hydra's tactics include assassination, high-tech sabotage, and nuclear- and biologicalweapons blackmail. Thanks to its covert subsidiary A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), Hydra has long enjoyed a seemingly inexhaustible supply of cutting- edge vehicles, killer androids, and other weapons; devices such as the Betatron Bomb, the Death Spore Bomb, the Overkill Horn, and the Satan Claw number among Hydra's most notable near-successes. Hydra's early leadership structure is strictly hierarchical, with the operative known as the Supreme Hydra (sometimes addressed as “the Master” or “the Imperial Hydra”) chairing a central ruling committee, which in turn oversees the division chiefs who command Hydra's green-garbed rank-and-file operatives. The Supreme Hydra is treated almost as a divine figure, and maintains discipline with harsh efficiency; no matter how loyal a Hydra agent may profess to be, failure is punishable by summary execution, though operatives may redeem themselves by overcoming their would-be replacements in mortal combat. In the words of one of Hydra's hooded Masters, “No member of Hydra lives to fail a second time!” During its early decades, only males could join Hydra, though exceptions were made later for brainwashed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Laura Brown, daughter of Imperial Hydra Arnold Brown, Madame Hydra (aka Viper), and even Jessica Drew (the original Spider-Woman), who briefly trained with Hydra but dropped out when she proved unable to assassinate Nick Fury. Like the SPECTRE agents from the James Bond milieu, early Hydra operatives addressed each other using code numbers rather than names, and even remained masked in each other's presence. During its decades of cyclic defeats and comebacks, Hydra's kudzu-like limbs have endured pruning at the hands of many heroes, including Captain Simon Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders, the Avengers, the Black Widow, G. W. Bridge, Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, the second Madame Masque, Magneto, the Punisher, the Samurai Squad, Silver Sable, Spider-Man, Jessica Drew (formerly Spider-Woman), the Thunderiders (aka Team America), the Wild Pack, Wolverine, and Professor Charles Xavier. Hydra's power declines sharply following the apparent incineration of Strucker and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s sinking of Hydra Island; Hydra's surviving remnants subsequently remain active—even managing to strike back at S.H.I.E.L.D. hard enough to kill off an entire graduating class of cadets—but are weakened by a series of turf wars involving such villains as the Grim Reaper, Madame Hydra, the Red Skull, and even the gangsters known as Silvermane, the Kingpin, and his son Richard Fisk (aka the Schemer). S.H.I.E.L.D. later takes down most of these factions, while subsidiary groups such as A.I.M. and the Secret Empire (the latter of which had made strong inroads into the U.S. government) become autonomous entities, operating independently of Hydra. Another worldwide Hydra organization has emerged, though it is doubtful that the late Baron Strucker would recognize much about it other than the traditional green-hooded uniforms. Though still committed to world domination, Hydra has adopted a more corporate style, offering its operatives attractive salaries and generous medical benefits. In the twenty-first century, women now hold influential positions within the organization, agents no longer conceal their names from their colleagues, and Strucker's Hitlerian “leader cult” is no more. The identity of the Supreme Hydra remains a closely guarded secret, however, and failure remains a capital crime. The current postmodern, boardroom version of Hydra has made little progress toward its goal of world domination, though the free market for terror appears to be profitable enough to support not only Hydra but also competing spin-off groups such as A.I.M., Fenris, and Hydra's breakaway Pearl Sect (youthful “Strucker purists” who debuted in 1995). With Hydra's glory days clearly behind it, it might one day find itself vulnerable to a hostile takeover by Strucker himself, who has refused to remain dead.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
Any species of Hydra or related genera, consisting of a simple, tubular body with a mouth at one end surrounded by tentacles, and a foot at the other end for attachment.
A large constellation of the Southern Hemisphere, right ascension 10 hours, declination 20° south. Also known as Water Monster.
A common genus of cnidarians in the suborder Anthomedusae.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
nine-headed serpent beheaded by Heracles. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 489]
seven-headed water snake; ravaged Lerna, near Argos. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Hall, 149]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
any solitary freshwater hydroid coelenterate of the genus Hydra, in which the body is a slender polyp with tentacles around the mouth
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
HYDRA(1) A secure Web server from Sentinel Systems, formerly Bodacion Technologies, Barrington, IL (www.bodacion.com). Sentinel is a wholly owned company of the Centuria Corporation, www.centuria.us.
HYDRA is a virus-proof, hacker-proof PowerPC-based system that uses a proprietary operating system kernel for running Java servlets and JSPs. Applications programmed in the company's own Genesis language can be compiled on Windows and Unix workstations and then uploaded. As an extra step in foiling hackers who insert bogus packets into the data stream, HYDRA includes software that generates extremely random numbers called "Bodacions." Applications can use Bodacions to generate numbers such as account numbers, session IDs and TCP sequence numbers.
(2) (Hydra) The code name for Windows Terminal Server. See Windows Terminal Server.
(3) (HYbrid Document Reproduction Apparatus) A printer, photocopier, scanner and fax built into one machine.
(4) (Hydra) A device that converts analog signals to ISDN Basic Rate Interface (BRI).
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