Tue Sep 17, 2002

NAAAS Redux

Back in July, I wrote an entry about an odd invitation a friend of mine had received to join the North American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Two months later, and apart from arriving from my homepage or via a link from another weblog, a Google search for “North American…”, etc, is the most common way people find this weblog.

The email looks like this:

Subject: NOT AN AD:  Invitation to Be a Fellow of the
North American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 15:48 -0400
From: North American Academy of Arts and Sciences
<invitation@academyofartsandsciences.org>
To: Undisclosed.Recipients@Princeton.EDU

You have been recommended by a Fellow of the
North American Academy of Arts and Sciences
to join our learned society as a Fellow.  The North
American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a not-
for-profit community of professionals from the
various disciplines of the Arts and Sciences. Your
Fellowship costs you nothing. To accept our
invitation and become a recipient of the many
benefits for which our Fellows are eligible, please
fill out our online registration form at:

http://www.academyofartsandsciences.org

Your Invitation Code is:

A19-18

Thank you for considering the Academy's invitation.
We look forward to welcoming you as a lifetime
Fellow of the North American Academy of Arts
and Sciences.

The whole thing is nonsense, of course, and is certainly not an invitation to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. (I’m sure I’ll get their membership email any day now.) Revisiting their web page shows a few changes since July. Sadly, the NAAAS publications page no longer shows their two alleged journals. As I remember, they were called “Art and Life” and “Science and Life”. They looked like real classics, but alas the images are now broken. On the positive side, they have a list of fellows. It looks like some people are joining up.

Don’t ask me why they would sign on. Would you be taken in by the laughable website? Would you just want to put it as a line on your resume? (If so, why not just write it down without replying?) The real mystery is why the site exists at all. It could be a joke. More worryingly, they ask you for your name and address, which I don’t like the look of at all.

I wonder if anyone knows more about this.