Escape Velocity

Amanda Guinzburg
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readJun 19, 2023


On Dark Matter and Superblooms

And I know, here on this side, that if I were to lose anyone I love as much as they love me that it would leave a void so vast and deep that the mourning of them being gone would alter my life in indescribable ways, in ways that couldn’t be fixed. I wouldn’t get over it. We want you here. Please don’t go.

—, May 2019

The rains have reversed, temporarily, more than a decade of catastrophic drought. Some of the seeds that caused this bloom have lain dormant for years, waiting for conditions to improve.

— The New Yorker, May 2023

A few years ago, Heather Armstrong consented to be the third person on Earth placed in a chemically induced coma deep enough to approximate death with the hope that her brain would effectively reboot when she was revived. The human version of maybe you should try unplugging it and then plug it back in. She went through this experimental flatlining procedure ten different times in order to have a chance at recovering from an 18-month-long suicidal depression she’d been living with, the longest among a number of others that had preceded it throughout her life. Armstrong wrote a book about the whole ordeal, her last, published in 2019, but in summary, the treatment seemed to work.