An optimistic response to a terminal diagnosis finds its apotheosis as a lecture. The all-star news anchor, veteran of all three major television networks, Katie Couric is quoted as waxing, “most of us would slip into a deep depression, but Randy used the experience as teaching material.” Given on September 18th, 2007 at Carnegie-Mellon as a part of a cross-disciplinary lecture series, terminally-ill computer science professor Randy Pausch’s lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” inaugurates an era of viral possibility for the lecture: weaving together self-help maxims, dad jokes and the ethos of computer science interdisciplinarity, this popular incarnation of the lecture-form anticipates the potential of the bite-sized and prefabricated performances of wisdom and knowledge as online video documentation—think TED. (JL)

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