Machine language time code

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Machine language time code
Time code.jpg
InventorProbably the Galactic Entity
UsageSummoning the time sphere
First appearanceBender's Big Score
Current statusAt least one remaining photocopy

The machine language time code, or simply the time code, is a code appearing in a tattoo that was on Fry's butt, that causes release of the time sphere from the Galactic Entity (BBS).


The code appearing in the film is as follows.



As you can tell, it is mirrored over the first three columns over to the last three and inverted over the first three rows to the last three. If you remove the last three columns, you can see that the first three columns are actually just the numbers 1 to 6 in binary.

It is interesting to note that it has yet to be truly explained where the time code comes from or how it ended up on Fry's butt in the first place. The code was put on the frozen Fry's butt by Bender, using a flap of skin from Lars, but it only existed on Lars' butt because he is a paradox time copy of Fry. This is an example of the bootstrap paradox.

Additional Info

Hidden in a smelly mirror


  • Other examples of the bootstrap paradox include your future self travelling back in time and giving you something, Lars Fillmore, and Fry becoming his own grandfather.
  • The binary numerals were originally going to be part of a much more complex plot, but the idea was cut.
  • The first half of the first line of the code is binary for one, the second line is two, and so on to six.
  • The code was originally meant to be a set of winning lottery numbers but was changed for plot purposes. The writers remembered that the code had to be the same backwards as forwards, otherwise Fry would not have been able to read it from a mirror.
  • If the code is microscopically small, how could the mirror enlarge the numbers enough to be read by Fry? Answer, he used Amy's mirror, which I'm sure had a magnify setting, but wasn't told to us because it should be obvious.
  • The first half of each row adds up to 21, and since the code is the opposite in reverse, the second half also adds up to 21, giving the number 42, made famous as the ultimate answer in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • This also breaks most binary translators if decoded and encoded repeatedly.


See also