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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 little 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. Justified 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!" Presumably, this refers to the most dominant by far among the many Earth currencies called 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 Fic 
  • Inverted in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, as Nebular says that Earth's rotation around the Sun takes one year, or seven of their loomres.
  • The Next Frontier uses a variant; 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.

  • The Ed Wood B-Movie Plan 9 from Outer Space has an alien refer 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, Gamma-Spans could refer to sidereal years, which are longer than tropical years due to precession.
  • Jor-El does this in the first Superman: The Movie, in his Video Will:
    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.
  • Averted for comedy in Men in Black, where an eponymous organization deals an ultimatum with a time limit of one "Galactic Standard Week", which is explained to be one hour Earth time. Immediately played straight afterwards, with the Arquellian message displaying a timer labeled "Earth Time Remaining", counting down the hour.
    Arquellians: Return the Galaxy to us or Earth will be destroyed. Sorry.
    • 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 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!"

  • In the Trope Namer The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the commander of the Vogon Contructor fleet addresses everyone on Earth.
    • He states that demolition of Earth "will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes". Granted, working out a population's units of time just to use it to tell them precisely how long they have before all being killed, and consciously pointing out that they've taken the trouble, is a typically Vogon thing to do.
    • He also says "All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years...".
  • 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.
  • Inverted in Dog Wizard by Barbara Hambly, where a wizard exposits this flaw in the spell of tongues. Later, when an alien has stated that his equipment can keep everybody safe for only two hours, he's startled when the heroine comments that time is almost up 100 minutes later — it's not even been one "hour" as far as he's concerned.
  • Star Trek novels
    • Diane Duane's Star Trek: The Original Series novel My Enemy, My Ally has the Enterprise arranging a rendezvous with a Romulan vessel. When setting the time, Kirk tells Uhura to give the Romulans a second-tick for reference; the officer he's speaking to tells him they know what a second means to Terrans. Meanwhile the glossary at the back of The Romulan Way specifies that a Rihannsu "minute" is actually 50.1 Terran seconds long.
    • One of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novels involved an alien threat with an absurdly specific (into the tenths of seconds, IIRC) deadline; the characters simply assumed it came out roundly in the aliens' units.
  • Averted in Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novels, where 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.
    • Truth in television. People that spend most of their professional lives dealing with tonnes (1000 kg) will tend to approximate with "several tonnes" when writing even if they're from the US where tons (2000 lb = 908 kg) are the native unit. It is entirely believable that people working in a spaceship that uses terrestrial hours, years, etc as a standard time would default to those units whenever they aren't thinking about it.
  • Inverted in Spider Robinson's Callahan's Secret, where the group on Earth makes telepathic contact with the approaching alien and explains what a second is "This interval [ ] is a second" and give the alien 30 of them to comply. The alien realizes that since a second is a meaningful interval for thought, the folks on Earth were vastly inferior.
  • In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Past comments that Old Fezziwig has spent "a few pounds of your mortal money."
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • The short story The Last Trump revolves around the Devil's apparent triumph over God, having convinced Him/Her/It to bring about Judgement Day on Earth, thus "winning" since humanity as a whole has not yet conformed to the divine plan. However, the angel whose job is to watch over the Earth protests this move and eventually manages to get Judgement Day overturned since God's decree of when the Earth would end referred to a specific date, apparently based on the Gregorian calendar, but the angel points out that nowhere in the decree itself was the specific calendar system identified. Since there are so many different calendar systems in use on Earth, and they cannot just randomly pick one, Judgement Day cannot actually occur and the Earth continues as it always has. The story ends with the Devil, accepting that his immediate plan was foiled, planning a global calendar revision to mark the beginning of the "Atomic Era" for all mankind.
    • In the Foundation novels it's noted that the time standard on all inhabited planets is 24 hours although no planet has exactly a 24 hour day. This is due to the original Earther colonists establishing the day as 24 hours, even though by the time of the Foundation Earth is unknown except in legends.
  • Here's another weird one: in Thief of Time, the History Monks have had to rebuild the structure of time after it became fragmented, synchronizing all of history using a unit of duration based on the human pulse rate. Presumably this is because only the monks, themselves, had retained the ability to move and function after this catastrophe, so had to use their own physiology as the basis for timing everything else. Makes sense ... except the human pulse rate varies all over the place, based on age, physical condition, activity level and mood. So whose pulse, in what mood, and doing what, did they actually choose to base it on? The Discworld may be timed on "One of your 'Lu-Tse Taking A Siesta While Feeling A Bit Put Upon By All This' minutes"!
    • Potential Fridge Brilliance - they're History Monks, with All Monks Know Kung-Fu in full effect. Even normal human athletes have a much more stable heart rate than less-fit people, so they could well just have perfectly stable heart rates.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Andrey Livadny's Living Space, where Sheila Norman is hooked up to a neural interface with a reactivated alien computer. The machine asks how long it has been off-line, and Sheila replies that it has been 3 million years, prompting the machine to clarify an unknown unit of measurement. She defines a year as the time for a full orbit around a star. The machine further attempts to clarify exactly what orbit she's talking about. Finally, it just scans her mind for the location of Earth and finds the planet in its database. Then it off-handedly comments that its creators visited Earth in the past and may have accidentally been responsible for Christianity and the myth of Jesus.
  • In Dark Force Rising, Leia asks the Noghri matriarch how long ago the planet Honoghr suffered biosphere destruction. The matriarch answers her in Honoghr years, then reiterates it in standard years.
  • 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.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise, the titular character describes the water world Solaris as having a 27-hour day. When humans first settled its sparse islands, they didn't know how to adapt the human 24-hour biological cycle to 27 hours. French congratulates their ingenuity when, instead of trying to alter their genes, they invent... time zones. So, no other planet in this 'verse uses time zones, including Earth? Also, time zones wouldn't really solve the problem of a 27-hour day.note 

    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.
    • Cleverly inverted in the episode "By Any Means Necessary", where Sinclair refers to Narn light-years (as Narn years are longer than Earth years). He does this to give G'Kar a loophole that allows him to hold a Narn holy ceremony a few hours later than would normally be allowable.
    • Averted when Kosh sets up a meeting at "the hour of scampering".
  • Referenced repeatedly in Stargate SG-1, usually by aliens. 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.
    • At least, unlike minutes, days are based directly on a physical phenomenon, so every planet that's not tidally locked with its primary has a day.
      • On NASA space probe missions, the day on another planet is referred to as a "sol" (partly to distinguish its solar day from its sidereal day, but mostly so that people won't get confused when someone says "three days from now").
    • Referenced again in the season nine episode "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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series
    • 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".
    • This exchange from "Journey to Babel". 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.
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield". Commissioner Bele 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.
    • "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.
    • "The Corbomite Maneuver". Balok 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.
    • "The Enterprise Incident". The 2nd 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.
    • Many episodes have characters use the word "solar" before a time unit to indicate that the Earth unit is being referred to.
      • "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."
      • "The Trouble With Tribbles". Commander Spock says "The battle of Donatu Five was fought near here twenty three solar years ago."
      • "The Doomsday Machine". Spock says "Warp drive and deflectors will be out for a solar day." and "At least one solar day."
      • "The Empath". Spock says " will take exactly seventy four point one solar hours for the storm to pass."
      • "Amok Time". Star Fleet Command tells Captain Kirk "Inauguration ceremonies, Altair Six, have been advanced seven solar days."
      • "That Which Survives". An Enterprise crewman tells Mr. Spock "...our estimated time of arrival is eleven and one half solar hours."
      • "The Deadly Years". Captain Kirk transmits a message including "...all Federation ships will avoid this area for the next four solar years."
      • "I, Mudd". The android Norman says "We shall continue on our present course for approximately four solar days."
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • In the episode "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 Season 1 finale, they thawed out three humans who had been cryogenically frozen in the 20th century. When they asked what year it was, Data stated that it was "the year two thousand three hundred and sixty-four, by your calendar" (he said it out in long-form because he was 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 Star Trek: The Next Generation/Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Inverted in Stingray (1964): Triton and other seafolk use Marine Minutes and Marine Seconds, and call their timespans such, even with no humans around.
  • Doctor Who
    • A very silly example in "Daleks in Manhattan". Just as the gamma radiation is about to strike the Empire State Building, the Daleks declare there are '40 Rels left' then immediately starts counting down in seconds! What, is the Rel just the Skaro term for second?
      • A non-canonical 1966 feature film implied that there were precisely 50 rels to an Earth minute, making one exactly 1.2 seconds.
    • The inverse of this happens in another episode. "The Time Monster" 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.
    • And in the episode "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.
    • "The Chase" has the Daleks referring to time in "Earth minutes", even when they are talking among themselves and there are no humans present.
  • She Spies episode 11. "He was supposed to be here three of your American days ago."
  • Played for laughs in the Red Dwarf episode "Emohawk";
    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!
  • 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."
  • In Battlestar Galactica, it's lampshaded in the episode "Greetings From Earth" where 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.
    • In the re-imagined 2003 series, they generally use 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 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 Twilight Zone (1959)
    • A weird and somewhat baffling variation occurs in the episode "To Serve Man", when the human protagonist onboard a flying saucer in transit asks his alien 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 the hero responds "What time is it on Earth?" (Presumably, he means in his home timezone.)
    • "Hocus-Pocus and Frisby". After Mr. 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".
  • The Outer Limits (1963)
    • Episode "Nightmare". During the episode, 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).
    • Episode "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".
  • 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.

  • 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 
  • Spore completely ignores this; every single race in the entire galaxy seems to use the same measurements of time for no apparent reason.
  • 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.
  • StarCraft has a particularly bizarre one. While it might make some sense that Terrans still refer to Earth years as standard (despite their having spread to planets with a very diverse range of orbital speeds), the fact that the Protoss do so does not. For example, Fenix (a Protoss) has more than three centuries on Raynor (and the Protoss' ages in the manual are given in years). That or one Aiur year is the same as one on Earth.
    Raynor: You sound like a tired old man, Fenix.
    Fenix: Do not let the fact that I am three hundred and sixty-eight years older than you dull your impression of me, young Raynor. I can still... how do you Terrans say it... "throw down with the best of them"!


    Web Original 
  • 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 
  • A variant occurs in Futurama, in an episode where Planet Express is hired to transport candy hearts. One of the receiving aliens notices that one heart has spelled love as WUV, "with an Earth W!"
  • The Simpsons third Treehouse of Horror show 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."
  • 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?".
  • Averted in Transformers, where the Cybertronians typically use their own terms: astro-clicks, cycles and nanocycles, for example. When around humans, at least in Animated, they know when to switch to Earth units of measurements like years without adding a "your."
    • On the other hand, in Marvel's The Transformers comic, Bumblebee described the Cybertronian civil war as having occurred four million years ago "by your way of counting".
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series
    • Episode "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."
  • 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.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! has the Skrull leader say that they have been holding Captain America for two of their Earth months.
  • 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!"
  • On 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.

    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)".
  • A variant actually happened back before the metric system was adopted as the standard by most countries, when 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.
  • 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 specifically calibrated to Martian time.
  • Because interstellar units such as light-years and parsecs are also derived from Earth's orbit around the Sun, it would be necessary to specify whose planetary orbit you are using as the baseline. So an extraterrestrial alien could state, "I come from thirty of your light-years away."
    • Not just astronomical measurements (light years, parsecs, etc), but many measurements. The meter, for example, is currently defined as a precise number of units light travels in a second. However, the number of units was chosen so that the distance derived would match the distance obtained from earlier standards, which all boil down to the arbitrary distance decided back when the meter was invented (conceived as a ten-millionth of the distance from the Equator to the North Pole; in practice, a measurement of that distance marked on a physical bar). Meanwhile, the second itself was initially defined as a specific fraction of the earth's orbit around the sun, and the scientific unit used today is simply a precise statement of that measurement in terms that can be checked against an atomic clock.
  • In SI Units, (nearly) 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. Oddly, kilogram was redefined to remove its direct relation to a universal phenomenon, and it's instead defined as exactly equal to an official kilogram prototype.
    • With enough digits of Avogadro's number, we could define the kilogram as a specified number of atoms of a specified isotope. With enough digits of Newton's gravitational constant, we could define the kilogram as the amount of mass that exerts a specified force at a specified distance. Currently only four digits of each are known, not nearly enough to beat the precision of the standard block (which is limited by effects like oxidation).
    • The 26th Revision of SI is due to land in 2018. It will be based on several physical constants, including Avogadro's Number, by picking numbers for them (their values in 25th Revision SI units) and declaring them exact, then deriving the units for basic dimensions (including mass) from those.
  • 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 trilayrd 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.