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 reduce it to its top-left corner of 3x3 bits, you can see that the first three columns are actually just the numbers zero, three, and five in binary. The first three rows are the numbers one, two, and three in binary, with the last three rows being four, five, and six 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.

The binary is not divisible by 8 and therefore appears undecodable.

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 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.
  • 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.
  • Also, in the programming "language" L33T, the code looks like Bender.
  • Translated from binary the code means "1 I", a possible reference to Leela.


See also