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Two of Your Earth Minutes

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"[...] the word 'human' only functions as that sort of adjective in bad science fiction."
Rose Lalonde in Homestuck

In Speculative Fiction, Aliens Speaking English or aliens speaking through Translator Microbes will sometimes be heard to use terrestrial measurements, but will for some reason feel the need to emphasise that they are your units of Earth measurements, and not theirs. This implies that the extraterrestrials have their own units of measurement, that by improbable coincidence share a name with the ones humans use, but are otherwise different. Of course, this is rather like someone from a country which uses imperial measurements visiting one that uses metric ones and using phrases like "20 of your kilometers" or "6 of your kilograms". It also spares the audience from clunky exposition where the alien explains that a floob is equal to 2.837 meters.

When two civilizations with different home-worlds (and thus different years, hours, and so on) interact, referring to "your" time units or "(planet name) time units" is entirely correct. It's the redundancy of using both "your" and the name of the planet which makes this an awkward phrasing.

Happens to some degree in real life, in situations such a Brit talking to an American about "two of your gallons" — but this is exactly because Britain and the US use the same word to mean different volumes. (1 Imperial gallon = 1.2 American gallons). Likewise, just as "minute" comes from the Latin for a small division, the aliens may have a time unit named after their word for a small division. But if not, there is little point specifying that it is an 'Earth Minute'... Unless it's mocking or derogatory, like most real-life uses of the trope in metric vs. imperial situations. "Your years" makes more sense as the duration of a planet's orbit around its sun would be different for each world.

See also Microts.


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  • An old advert for Smash (which was basically powdered potato starch) had robotic aliens laughing at humans for the time-consuming way they prepared mashed potatoes — including "they peel them with their metal knives" and "they boil them for twenty of their Earth minutes."

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Sgt. Frog manga has a weird, fourth-wall denting example in chapter 69, where Keroro tells Natsumi and Fuyuki "I shall only lecture you for about two of your Pokopenian pages!"
  • The rules for the Death Note inconsistently fall into this, since Ryuk wrote the rules in English specifically so humans could understand them. Presumably he calculated shinigami time spans into human measurements where appropriate as well.
  • In Dragon Ball Super's Universe Survival Saga, Whis has to convert a few Godly units of time measurement for the benefit of the Earth-based protagonists (and the audience), like telling them that the Tournament of Power's 100-takk time limit is roughly 48 Earth minutes.

    Comic Books 
  • In Nextwave, a representative of the Beyond Corporation summons Dread Rorkannu, Lord of the Dark Dim Dimension, to ask to rent out his minions, and offers him a hundred dollar bill as payment. Rorkannu holds the money triumphantly, saying "Yes! I have a hundred of the Earth dollars!"
  • A comic set in the Babylon 5 universe had a Minbari use the phrase "30 of your minutes" when addressing Jeffrey Sinclair.
  • Discussed in a Galaxy Quest comic, when a guide leading the crew across an alien planet says, "We will see the city within 30 boule." Alexander grouses that he doesn't understand why the Universal Translator can change any language to English, and yet leaves units of distance and time untranslated. Tommy replies, "At least he didn't say 'in 30 of your Earth miles', or something. Man, I hate that."

    Fan Fiction 
  • Inverted in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, as Nebular says that Earth's rotation around the Sun takes one year, or seven of their loomres.
  • The Next Frontier plays with the trope a couple of ways:
    • Jeb is heard remarking that some vitally-needed technical data to let the Kerbals and their new neighbours exchange scientific and cultural data in a medium other than paper will take "two local days". Except that they're not actually local days, but Earth That Was days.
    • Prior to making First Contact, when the Kerbals and their starship were loitering on the edge of the system listening to local TV and radio broadcasts, it's noted that working out how long two of the local minutes (or in practice, one local day) is in Kerbal time units would be an important clue as to which planet the locals originate from: Currently they're not too sure because their first clue that they'd found intelligent life was evidence of extensive terraforming. Eventually they realise that it doesn't correspond to the rotational period of any planet in the system, because they've found someone's Lost Colony.
  • In What Tomorrow Brings, Mertil explains that each planet has its own unit of time called "hours"; one Andalite hour equals 47 Earth minutes.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space:
    • An alien refers to "a can of your gasoline." Apparently, gasoline exists nowhere else, or he's digging at the quality of Earth gasoline... or maybe he's just poorly written.
    • That same alien also refers to technology grasped "aeons of your years ago".
    • The humans even get in on it, asking the aliens why they want to contact "our Earth governments".
  • Spoofed in Amazon Women on the Moon. The Queen of the eponymous moon-dwellers boasts that her civilization has existed for millions of "Gamma-Spans", and hastily exposits that a Gamma-Span is "roughly equivalent to one of your Earth years." Though the Moon is the one place in the universe which is guaranteed to have the same average duration of "years" as Earth.
  • The Kryptonian Jor-El mentions Earth years multiple times during the reading of his Video Will to Clark Kent (Kal-El) (due to Kal-El having travelled at FTL speeds.)
    By now you will have reached your eighteenth year, as it is measured on Earth. By that reckoning, I will have been dead many thousands of your years.
    By the time we return to the confines of your galaxy, twelve of your years will have passed.
  • Men in Black
    • The Arquillian message displays a timer labeled "Earth Time Remaining", counting down the hour. This is a justified example, as the hour time limit was added by the MIB's translators after being inferred from Arquillian SOP — one warning shot, then the target gets a "galactic standard week" to comply or be destroyed.
      J: A galactic standard week? How the hell long is that?
      K: One hour.
    • At another point in the movie, Agent J returns to headquarters and is puzzled why the same staff members are still active, despite it being very late at night. He half-sarcastically asks Zed if anyone ever gets any sleep there, to which Zed explains that they actually operate on Centaurian Time, which has a standard 37-hour day. He assures that J will get used to it after a few months — either that, or have a psychotic breakdown.
  • The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
    • The original movie overlaps with Suspiciously Specific Denial:
      Kro-Bar: Aliens? Us? Is this one of your Earth jokes?
      Fleming: See? See?
      Lattis: You should not have said "Earth jokes." Don't you see how that gave us away?
    • The sequel, The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, spoofs this trope in a more conventional way:
      Chinfa, Queen of the Cantaloupe People: For many many days of your days, we have existed here in seclusion, away from your so-called non-cantaloupe, civilized ways.
  • An American adaptation of the James Bond novel Casino Royale for the show Climax! swaps the nationalities of James Bond and Felix Leiter, with "Jimmy" Bond being American, and Felix Leiter British. This leads to the bizarre instance of Bond, the quintessential British secret agent converting francs to GBP for Leiter, and telling him how much the amount would be in "your British pounds."
  • This Island Earth has Exeter refer to Mozart as "your composer" as he and his guests is listening to one of his songs. Cal doesn't realize something is wrong at all when he corrects him by saying "'Our' composer? He belongs to the world." When mentioned in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Tom Servo retorts "I'm not an alien!"
  • Flight of the Navigator. While David is having his memories scanned, he is asked how long it took his ship to reach the planet Phaelon. The computer screen prints out the answer: 2.2 solar (Earth) hours.
  • Battle Beyond the Stars. Sador promises to return in "seven risings of your red giant" sun to the planet Akir to plunder its harvest for his army. Of course that does equal an arbitrary measurement of time we humans call a week.
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. The aliens tell Dr. Marvin that they will give him "two of your lunar days or 56 days Earth time" to set up a meeting between them and Earth's leaders. To the aliens, one lunar day is the time it takes the Moon to orbit around the Earth, or about 28 days.

  • The Trope Namer is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which the commander of the Vogon Constructor Fleet ship addresses everyone on Earth to tell them that the planet's destruction will occur in "slightly less than two of your Earth minutes." Shortly thereafter, he gripes about the planet's claim not to have been aware of said impending destruction, complaining that the plans had been "on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years." It's well in character for the Vogons, given their super-bureaucratic nature, to work out an alien planet's common units of time and use them to dispassionately inform the local population of how long they have before they're all unceremoniously killed.
  • Ax, the Animorphs' resident alien, always gives time intervals in "your minutes" — no matter how many times the others tell him not to do so.
    • In later books he develops a sense of fun about it.
      Ax: We have twenty-six of your minutes left.
      Marco: We're on Earth, Ax. They're everyone's minutes.
      Ax: [quite deliberately] We now have twenty-five of your minutes.
    • Another example:
      "...fifteen of your miles."
      "You don't have to say 'your miles'. They're everybody's miles."
      "What about the countries that use kilometers? See? I am learning!"
    • A later conversation shows that he's deliberately invoking this.
      Ax: We have seventeen minutes left.
      Marco: (after a pause) Seventeen minutes?
      Ax: (correcting himself) Seventeen of your Earth minutes.
    • One bizarre example from before Ms. Applegate got her act together has Andalites making reference to "twelve Earth minutes" despite no humans being anywhere nearby. In later books Andalites simply use "minutes" or "feet" in a way that suggests a Translation Convention (especially as at least one of them doesn't even know Earth exists).
    • The Ellimist, a mysterious Reality Warper, once did the "your minutes" thing. Wisely, Marco didn't say a word about it that time.
  • In Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novels, such Earth-derived time units are concisely referred to as "t-years" or the like. Presumably the "t" stands for Terra, and years on Hivehome would be "h-years".
  • "T-years" terminology is used in Honor Harrington as well. In this case, the author included an appendix in one of the books explaining the different calendars in use. It's used thoroughly enough to be distracting sometimes, especially since the capital planet of most of the protagonists is only a half hour per day off of Earth time and has roughly the same years and months, yet the terminology will be stuck to even in emotional speeches or casual conversation.
  • In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Past comments that Old Fezziwig has spent "a few pounds of your mortal money."
  • In Wintersmith the Wintersmith makes itself a human body, goes into an inn, and orders dinner. It then triumphantly declares "I have eaten the human sausages", and the waitress informs him that they're pork, thank you very much.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Have Space Suit – Will Travel. While Kip and Peewee are representing the human race in a Humanity on Trial scene, the computer system trying them says that it hasn't made a mistake in "...more than a million of your years."
  • In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, the Race will usually reference years as their years, which are roughly half as long as Earth years. However, it gets a little strange when they keep giving both versions to characters who should know about the conversion.
  • The Xandri Corelel novel Tone of Voice contains two examples.
    • One of the Voices says, "We have talked it over for many of what you call hours."
    • Later, another character mentions being "ten Savarin years" older than another.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • An alien claiming jurisdiction over a planet the station orbits, Epsilon III, says he will give Sinclair "ten of your hours to stand aside." The alien was reading from a phonetic script produced in a hurry; unlike the other aliens, he didn't actually know English at all.
    • In "The Geometry of Shadows", the Drazi are undergoing their regular change in government — which involves, rather than ballot boxes, fistfighting. Ivanova, trying to keep peace on the station, decides to lock one of the two groups up for the rest of the "cycle", after which it will all be over — only to be told that a cycle doesn't mean a week as she assumed, but a whole Drazi year — which is 1.2 Earth years.
  • Battlestar Galactica
    • Battlestar Galactica (1978):
      • Lampshaded in "Greetings from Earth" when the Terran colonist asks, "Wait just a minute, what's a 'centon'?"
      • Likewise, in "Experiment in Terra", when Starbuck tells a different colonist he'll be back in a "centar":
        Brenda: Whatever that is, I hope it's less than an hour.
    • The re-imagined series Battlestar Galactica (2003) generally uses what the audience would consider standard measurements: they've mentioned that a "day" has 24 hours in it, 365 days a year. It's not clear if this is some sort of universal fleet time that the Twelve Colonies agreed upon as an average of their local times or if it is based on Caprica-time. One exception is that their unit of distance is an "SU" (Solar Unit) instead of an "AU" (Astronomical Unit) — which in real life is based on the distance between Earth and the sun. Seeing as they're from twelve different planets in a double binary star cluster, using an "AU" wouldn't make much sense.
  • In a sketch on A Bit of Fry and Laurie, a shopkeeper tells a customer "That will be twenty of your Earth pounds". In another sketch, a gameshow contestant is informed that he has "thirty Earth seconds" to answer.
  • Blake's 7: Justified when the Human Aliens are implied to be the descendants of colonists from Earth.
    Pella: There's a switch. When the door is closed, every forty-eight hours Dorian must say a code word to reset the timing.
    Vila: Is that forty-eight hours Standard Time?
    Pella: Earth Standard Time. This planet is very like Earth, I think. That is why the Seska came here.
  • In the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Flight of the War Witch", a Draconian reports tracking a Terran starfighter which is traveling "at a fraction of their light speed." Their light speed? Terrans have their own light speed?
  • Spoofed in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Xander twists his and Willow's infidelity to their significant others to be their fault — Buffy comments "Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Chase" has the Daleks referring to time in "Earth minutes", even when they are talking among themselves and there are no humans present.
    • In "The Daleks' Master Plan", Mavic Chen tells the council of Daleks and delegates that it has taken "fifty Earth years" to acquire the taranium for the core of the time destructor.
    • In "The Tomb of the Cybermen", when Victoria asks the Doctor how old he is, he replies "Well, if we count in Earth terms, I suppose I must be about 400... yes, about 450 years old".
    • "The War Games" has The Security Chief asks the Chief Scientist (both members of an alien race) whether they have taken humans from later than "the Earth year 1917".
    • Inverted in "The Time Monster". The serial featured a rather phallic device (seriously, it must be seen to be believed) for detecting the Master's TARDIS which was calibrated in feet and miles... only they were Venusian feet and miles.
    • In "Planet of the Spiders", Arak (a human inhabitant of Metebelis III) tells the Doctor (a Time Lord from Gallifrey) that his ancestors were human colonists who crashed on Metebelis III "433 Earth years ago".
    • In "The Creature from the Pit", Erato tells the Doctor to hold the beam for "five of your seconds" — even though the Doctor is no more from Earth than it is.
    • In "The Leisure Hive", Romana refers to "relative Earth date 2250" when talking to the Doctor, to explain why two Time Lords are talking to each other in Earth years.
    • Adric tells Nyssa what year it is "in the time scale you call Anno Domini", i.e. Earth years, even though Nyssa is no more from Earth than he is. To be fair, Tegan, who is from Earth, is also present.
      Adric: The year is 2526 in the time scale you call Anno Domini.
    • In "Attack of the Cybermen", the Doctor informs Peri that they are in "the year that you would calculate as 1985".
    • In "A Fix with Sontarans", the Sontaran leader tells Gareth that "in the year you would call 2001" he will lead the Earth defence against a Sontaran invasion.
    • In "Terror of the Vervoids", the Doctor informs the Time Lords in the courtroom that the events he is showing him via the Matrix take place "in the Earth year 2986".
    • In "Time and the Rani", the Doctor tells Mel that strange matter was discovered "in your Earth year 1984".
  • In the Lost in Space episode "Hunter's Moon", Professor Robinson is told that the hunt he will be forced to be a part of will last sixty Earth minutes.
  • The Outer Limits (1963):
    • In "Nightmare", one of the POW's arms is completely shattered. While the Ebonite interrogator is talking to two United Earth officers, he says that the POW will not regain the use of his arm "for a year or more in your measure" (i.e., Earth time).
    • In "Second Chance", the alien tells a retired physicist that an asteroid is going to hit his home planet of Empyria. When the physicist asks him when the collision will occur, the alien says "In your time scale, 82 years".
  • Played for laughs in the Red Dwarf episode "Emohawk: Polymorph II":
    Kryten: They're giving us five hanaka to decide.
    Rimmer: How long's a hanaka?
    Kryten: Curiously enough, the same as one Earth minute.
    The Cat: Five hanaka? That only gives us twenty-eight hours!
  • She Spies, episode 11: "He was supposed to be here three of your American days ago."
  • The Imperial Master in Star Fleet informs his subordinates that they have two Earth months to complete their mission, despite the fact that there's no reason to use their enemy's time system when talking to each other...
  • Referenced repeatedly in Stargate SG-1, usually by aliens.
    • Nicely averted in "Secrets", set exactly one Abydonian year after "Children of the Gods"; the length of time Kasuf agreed to keep the Abydos Stargate buried for, only uncovering it again so Daniel and Sha're could hopefully return on that date.
    • Shows up fairly frequently in the early seasons. For example, in "The Tok'ra: Part 1":
      Daniel: [referring to Selmak's dying host Saroosh] How old is she?
      Yosuf: She will be 203 of your years in a few of your days.
    • In the original movie, Abydos is suggested to have a day/night cycle half again as long as Earth's when Daniel says "the gate is guarded 36 hours a day."
    • When one Ba'al says (via hologram) that Gen. O'Neill has one day to turn over a prisoner, O'Neill replies, "Is that one Earth day, or...?" before the Ba'al rolls his eyes and shuts off his end of the hologram.
    • Referenced again in "Beachhead" when Col. Mitchell gives a Prior "thirty of our 'Earth minutes'" to shut down an active Stargate, prompting the following exchange:
      Daniel: "Earth minutes"?
      Mitchell: Yeah, I Always Wanted to Say That.
  • A background element used quite extensively in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which casual viewers might not even pick up on. The Bajorans asked the Federation to establish a Starfleet presence on Deep Space Nine (to help them run it and discourage the Cardassians from returning), but it is not a full "Starfleet military base" in the sense that it is not legally considered Starfleet territory. This comes up in several episodes but specifically in the premiere, Odo directly explained to Quark that he can still run his casino tables on the station because it is subject to Bajoran law, not Federation law. A quirk of this is that the space station actually runs on Bajoran time, not standard Starfleet time. They do still record their logs using the Stardate system, but a Bajoran "day" consists of 26 hours, not 24 hours. They might call this something else in the Bajoran language or divide it up into different increments, but whatever translation matrix they're using renders an "hour" as an Earth hour, but their "day" is based on Bajor's rotational period, which contains 26 of those. This is actually a pervasive background principle throughout the entire series: apart from someone saying "you have 26 hours to vacate this area", the times that events are scheduled are based on a 26-hour day, i.e. someone will be invited to dinner at "18:00 hours" despite this being an unusual time to have dinner in a 24-hour day cycle.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In "Peak Performance", a Ferengi attack vessel happens upon a Federation wargames exercise. Ferengi DaiMon Bractor misinterprets the situation, believing that the Enterprise's inferior sparring partner, USS Hathaway, must hold some secret value. He offers to let the Enterprise go unharmed if Picard will agree to hand over the Hathaway to him. He punctuates the demand with, "You have ten of your minutes".
    • Humans don't use the Gregorian Calendar anymore, but have switched to the "Stardate" system. Apart from being an interplanetary system of time, it also seems to take into account the relativistic effects of measuring time on planets separated by light-years. In "The Neutral Zone", three humans who had been cryogenically frozen in the 20th century are thawed out. When they ask what year it was, Data states that it is "the year two thousand three hundred and sixty-four, by your calendar" (he says it out in long-form because he's unfamiliar with it). This was the first time that a solid date had actually been given for any events in Star Trek, so fans were finally able to date other events by working backwards from the fact that Next Generation Season 1 is set in 2364. The general principle is that one TV season equals one year, so Deep Space Nine ended in 2375, and Voyager in 2377.
    • Alien units of measurement have been mentioned in the background throughout the franchise. Specifically, the TNG/DS9 spinoffs established that the Klingons use a unit of distance measurement called a "kellicam", used in similar scales as kilometers (a starship may be "5,000 kellicams away from us", but like kilometers it isn't useful for interplanetary distances). The Klingon calendar is based on the "Year of Kahless" system, dating from the birth of the Empire's founder. Kahless died around 822 A.D. by the Gregorian calendar, but in 2373, Worf mentions that it is the "Year of Kahless 999" — meaning that a single Klingon "year" seems to be roughly twice as long as an Earth year.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • Balok from "The Corbomite Maneuver" is a member of the First Federation, but after scanning the Enterprise's records, he knows how long Earth minutes are.
      Balok: We therefore grant you ten Earth time periods known as "minutes" to make preparations.
    • In "Who Mourns for Adonais", Apollo tells Captain Kirk how long ago his people lived on Earth:
      Apollo: We knew your Earth well, five thousand of your years ago.
    • This exchange from "Journey to Babel", when Ambassador Sarek reminds Dr. McCoy that Vulcan has years of different length than the Earth:
      McCoy: Isn't it a little unusual for a Vulcan to retire at your age? After all, you're only a hundred and two.
      Sarek: One hundred two point four three seven precisely, Doctor, measured in your years.
    • Gary Seven from "Assignment: Earth" is an agent from an alien planet who is on a mission on Earth. While talking with someone he thinks is a fellow agent, he refers to "Earth days", as opposed to days on the alien planet.
    • In "The Enterprise Incident", the second-in-command of a Romulan ship gives the Enterpise an ultimatum, thoughtfully translated into Earth time units so they can understand him.
      Sub-commander Tal: We give you one of your hours. If you do not surrender your ship at the end of that time, your destruction is certain.
    • Commissioner Bele from "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" comes from the planet Cheron, but he's familiar with Earth time units.
      Commissioner Bele: For fifty thousand of your terrestrial years, I have been pursuing Lokai through the galaxy.
    • In "The Cloud Minders", the leader of the planet Ardana notes that its hours are not the same length as Earth hours.
      High Adviser Plasus: I've been here nearly an hour of your Earth time.
    • A strange example comes from "The Savage Curtain": the Excalbian recreation of Abraham Lincoln asks if they still measure time in minutes, to which Kirk responds that they "can convert to it".
    • "The Gamesters of Triskelion" has a rare distance variant. After the Providers teleport Captain Kirk into their underground facility to face them, they tell him "We are one thousand of your meters beneath the surface" of the planet Triskelion.
    • A very rare double variation (distance and human-to-human) occurs in "The Galileo Seven". When Captain Kirk orders Lieutenant Sulu to have the shuttle Columbus open its course by 2 degrees, Sulu says that the shuttle will "be overlooking more than a dozen terrestrial miles on each search loop."
    • Many episodes have characters use the word "solar" before a time unit to indicate that the Earth unit is being referred to. This doesn't entirely make sense, as other planets in the Sol system (e.g., Mars) have days and years of significantly different lengths.
      • In "Amok Time", Starfleet Command tells Captain Kirk that "Inauguration ceremonies, Altair Six, have been advanced seven solar days."
      • In "The Doomsday Machine", Spock says "Warp drive and deflectors will be out for a solar day." and "At least one solar day."
      • In "I, Mudd", the android Norman says "We shall continue on our present course for approximately four solar days."
      • In "The Deadly Years", Captain Kirk transmits a message including "...all Federation ships will avoid this area for the next four solar years."
      • In "Wolf in the Fold", Commander Spock says "Computer, digest log recordings for past five solar minutes." and the Enterprise computer says "Murders on Rigel Four occurred one solar year ago."
      • In "The Trouble with Tribbles", Commander Spock says "The battle of Donatu Five was fought near here twenty-three solar years ago."
      • In "The Empath", Spock says " will take exactly seventy four point one solar hours for the storm to pass."
      • In "That Which Survives", an Enterprise crewman tells Mr. Spock "...our estimated time of arrival is eleven and one-half solar hours."
  • Inverted in Stingray (1964): Triton and other seafolk use Marine Minutes and Marine Seconds, and call their timespans such, even with no humans around.
  • In one episode of The Thick of It, Stewart Pearson asks his colleagues for "thirty of your Earth seconds" before making an announcement. Though strictly speaking Stewart's not an alien, just an obnoxious PR hack.
  • The Time Tunnel: In "Visitors from Beyond the Stars", space aliens come to the Earth in 1885 to steal all food supplies. When the aliens enter a town, they order the human inhabitants to gather all livestock within 10 Earth miles of the town.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • A weird and somewhat baffling variation occurs in "To Serve Man" when Michael Chambers, onboard a flying saucer in transit asks his Kanamit captors what time it is, only to be told there isn't one, because there's no way to measure time in space, to which Chambers responds "What time is it on Earth?
    • In "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby", after Somerset Frisby is lured into a Flying Saucer, the aliens' leader tells him that they will be taking off in "fourteen minutes, by your measure of time."

  • Chris de Burgh's song A Spaceman Came Traveling:
    When two thousand years of your time has gone by, this song will begin once again
  • Mentioned on the first track of Devin Townsend's album Ziltoid the Omniscient.
    Ziltoid: Greetings, humans! Ziltoid the Omniscient. I have travelled far across the omniverse. YOU. Shall fetch me...your universe's ultimate cup of coffee! You have... five Earth minutes. Make it perfect!

  • A few times in The Bible, of all places:
    • God tells Adam and Eve that the day they eat from the Tree of Knowledge, they will die. Since Adam lives about 900 years after this, the general interpretation is that God spoke metaphorically that they would turn mortal. One Jewish tradition, however, says that God was merciful and gave them a "day" in Heavenly reckoning—which is one thousand years. Stretching this trope a bit, more liberal interpretations of Genesis suggest that the seven "days" of Creation could also refer to longer periods of time. Though this is largely used to fit evolutionary and astronomical theories, some of these interpretations go back a few thousand years.
    • A more straightforward example is in the Book of Revelations, where John talks to an angel who is measuring the gates of New Jerusalem during one of his visions; John goes out of his way to specify that the height of the city's wall was "144 cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using." Since a cubit is a loosely defined unit based on forearm length and the angels in the book tend to be extremely alien, this really did need to be specified.

    Video Games 
  • In Freedom Force vs the 3rd Reich, Mentor makes the throwaway comment that he is proficient in "several thousand languages, of which Earth Spanish is one". Now, think about that one for a moment...
  • In Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Strogg players will hear the countdown announcer use the phrase "Ten Earth seconds remaining!"
  • The Mass Effect series mostly has a very well-thought-out galactic culture, so it's truly strange in the third game, when everyone starts going out of their way to give units of time in "solar days" (it's unlikely to be Translation Convention, either, since they're all round numbers). Why not Citadel Days, or Thessia Days? No explanation is ever given. This point is spoofed in this Awkward Zombie strip.

  • Spoofed in Homestuck, where this trope is used to describe things the alien culture already has. The context behind the page quote is a good example: Kanaya expresses difficulty with Rose's "human sarcasm", but has just as much trouble with alien sarcasm.
  • Spoofed in this Evil, Inc. strip. Bonus points for the author having stated in a blog post a few days earlier how much this trope annoys him.
  • 8-Bit Theater has this, when Chaos tells the crew to "take no more than 24 of your Earth hours".
  • In this Dinosaur Comics strip, God notes that The Bible has been in the Public Domain for "a thousand of your Earth years". The caption text declares that particular phrase useful in identifying "TOTALLY AWESOME WRITING".
  • The transdimensional aliens (every last one of which are minor Eldritch Abominations in their own right) from Awful Hospital scorn the concept of time altogether and always mock Fern right to her face for using it. They measure by layers, which only pass when they want them to. Or something. Layers are a kind of Timey-Wimey Ball and a "Greyzoner" would only get a migrane trying to figure them out because of a lack of Required Secondary Powers. As far as we can tell, a layer is a page of Awful Hospital, no matter how long or how quick it takes to read it.

    Web Originals 
  • There's a CollegeHumor skit where a genie claims to have been imprisoned for "millions of your Earth eternities."
  • Chakona Space: Different stories play with this thanks to genuine aliens as well as Terran colonies on distant planets that, for obvious reasons, use a different clock and calendar.
  • The Onion: "Alien World To Help Out Syria Since This One Refuses To", in which the aliens claim they can resolve the situation in Syria in "less than 20 of your Earth minutes".
  • One Homestar Runner cartoon involves Strong Badia starting its own space program. Its first mission involves sending "15 Earth dollars on a round trip to the closest reaches of space" in the hopes that, according to Strong Bad's very poor understanding of the Theory of Relativity, it will have multiplied to one million dollars by the time it returns.
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-1036 (''Nkondi''). A nganga (African tribal shaman) is talking with one of the spirits trapped in a SCP-1036 doll. When the nganga asks the spirit how long it has been trapped in the doll, it says "Three hundred twenty-six of your years".

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has the Skrull leader say that they have been holding Captain America for two of their Earth months.
  • The King of Yugopotamia in The Fairly OddParents!, during the Halloween special: "I shall mourn over my son for 5,000 Yugopotamian days..." Beat. "Okay, I'm done. Unfreeze one of his clones!" Also, Mark says he is getting a reading "50,000 Yugopotamian miles from here!" Earth units? 2 inches.
  • Futurama: In "Love and Rocket", Planet Express is hired to transport a shipment of candy hearts to Omicron Persei VIII, and Queen Ndnd notices that one heart has spelled love as WUV, "with an Earth W!"
    King Lrrr: This concept of "wuv" confuses and INFURIATES us!
  • Happens sometimes in Megas XLR: one line has Kiva mentioning a place far away, to which Jersey City native Jamie says "Far as in Planet of the Alien Bounty Babes, or far as in Hoboken?"
  • In Ready Jet Go!, the Propulsions tend to talk like this. For example, in "Jet Cooks Dinner", Celery says that 6 Bortronian months is the equivalent of one Earth hour.
  • The Simpsons: "Treehouse of Horror III" has the town overrun by zombies. High overhead, aliens Kang and Kodos watch patiently, observing "Soon the human race will wither and fold. Like the Earth plums we've seen on the Observe-a-scope."
  • The South Park episode "Trapper Keeper" featured a robot from the future named "Bill Cosby" who kept slipping up and putting "hu-man" in front of nouns.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast: "I've actually been a talk show host for a thousand years, but it doesn't seem like it because on my home planet it's still only guitar lesson!"
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
    • "The Lorelei Signal": Every 27 years, a starship is lured to a planet where female aliens drain the life force of the male crew members. While explaining the situation to Lieutenant Uhura:
      Head Female Theela: To survive, we must vitalize each 27 years of your time.
    • "The Pirates of Orion": When Captain Kirk asks the Enterprise computer the location of the nearest supply of the drug strobolin, the computer says "Beta Canopus. Four solar days away at maximum warp."
  • Steven Universe: In "Catch and Release", when Peridot ends up holed up in Steven's bathroom, she describes it as having "a fresh hint of Earth citrus", implying that citrus is something she's encountered both on and off Earth.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: In "Visitors from Outer Space", Hamburglar agrees to join Org's family on their vacation and learns that the trip will last a Kreplick, which Org's father explains lasts "3,000 of your Earth years". Hearing this immediately causes Hamburglar to regret his decision to come with them.

    Real Life 
  • The Axeman of New Orleans stated in a letter where he claimed himself to be a demon from Hell that he would kill again on March 19, 1919 at "12:15 (Earth time)".
  • The metric and Imperial systems
    • Before the metric system was adopted as the standard by most countries, different countries used different weights and measurements which confusingly were called the same names (e. g. "mile", "foot", "inch", "pound" in English, "Meile", "Fuß", "Zoll", "Pfund" in German). It can sometimes be seen today between Imperial and Metric system users, e. g. in common parlance many users of the metric system still use their language's word for "pound" for 500 grams. The differences could be huge, e. g. between what would in German be called an "Englische Meile" (ca. 1.6 km) and a "Deutsche" or "Geographische Meile" (ca. 7.5 km).
    • In old Swedish novels translated from other languages it used to be very common to find someone traveling so or so many miles, and there would be a footnote telling that this was an English or Russian "mile", and give a conversion. The writer Falstaff Fakir spoofed it when writing a Three Musketeers parody; at one point a number of minutes are described as French minutes "of which there are a whole lot in one Swedish".
    • This is still valid today when speaking of miles, due to the difference between international miles, U.S. statute miles and nautical miles. Not to mention Survey miles and radar miles. The U.S. statute mile is the "normal" one you're most likely to encounter (5,280 feet), since most other countries have abandoned imperial units. NASA, appropriately, often gives distances as "X statute miles" to avoid confusion with nautical miles.
    • Not to mention the quirkiness of the imperial system gives us three different gallons (one British and two American, one liquid and one [rarely used] dry) and three different families for weights (avoirdupois weights for most things, troy weights for precious metals and the now obsolete apothecaries' weights for pharmaceuticals).
  • In reference to this trope, whimsical reviews of science fiction products in the UK mainstream press tend to give the price in "your Earth pounds", which is a very unlikely name for a global currency.
  • Mars and Earth time
    • A solar day on Mars (called a "sol") is 24 hours 39 minutes 35.244 seconds long. Therefore, people working with Mars Rovers have to go by a working schedule based on sols, not days — they start work about 40 minutes later every Earth day, and use Martian "hours" and "minutes" that are about 1.0275 times the length of their Earth equivalents. Many people working on the MER project had wristwatches specially adjusted for Martian time.
      • Mars may be the only place in the Solar System that needs its own clocks. Every other solid body rotates too quickly or too slowly for a human sleep cycle, or else is so small that time zones would be silly; either way, we may as well use your Earth hours. (Or your Mars hours. There's one novel in which humanity, after migrating from dying Earth to Mars and much later to a planet beyond Pluto, continued to use Martian timekeeping.)
    • Similarly, a Mars year is around twice as long as a Earth year (686.98 Earth days or 668.5991 sols), split up into 4 seasons of varying lengths. For scientific purposes, the beginning of the Northern Spring Equinox of 1955 is considered "Year 1" of the Martian calendar. While many people have tried to create imaginative calendar systems with Earth-like months, the lack of an Earth-like Moon makes such a thing much more arbitrary, so none have yet caught on. Regardless, it's likely that a future Martian colony would need to use an entirely different timekeeping system than that on Earth, making this trope very much a reality.
  • In SI Units, all the base units were updated to provide a "fundamental" reference (for example, one second is defined in relation the frequency of radiation coming off a specific configuration of an atom, and a meter is defined as the distance light travels in relation to a (fraction) of a second). So those units could be accurately obtained somewhere off Earth.
  • Billions and Trillions
    • As odd as it sounds the British and Americans have/had different billions; in British English a billion is (or was) a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). QI once looked into this and was curious which one the Bank of England uses, apparently the person answering the phone said it was sure to be English but double checked; returning to the phone to meekly confirm it was the American billion. Of course the same problem pops up with a Trillion too. You also have this in relation to other languages, for instance German (eine Billion is a million million, eine Billiarde is a thousand million million).
    • That's even before you get to places like Israel, where they use the Short Scale, just like in the US... Except one thousand million is called a milyard. One million million is still unambigiously called a trilyon, but there's still the inevitable agruments over whether one thousand million million is a trilyard or a quadrilyon.
    • The Oxford English Dictionary still lists "milliard" as a synonym for "thousand million", noting that it is "largely superseded by billion". Presumably "billiard" and "trilliard" etc. would be acceptable constructions, but the former already has an entirely unrelated meaning.