What is a Website Address?

You open up your internet browser, type in a website address (URL) and within seconds, you arrive at your destination. But what goes on under the hood? How does typing in a URL load a webpage, and not just any webpage for that matter, but the unique webpage you requested?

Before we can discuss website addresses, we should ask what is a website? Take a website like reddit.com When we access Reddit and spend hours looking at pictures of cats, what we are actually doing is checking out the content on Reddit’s servers (or the content that it references on other servers).

Every server has its own unique IP Address (Internet Protocol Address). You can think about GPS Coordinates for a building address as being the real world equivalent of an IP Address. Every server has a unique IP address just like every building in the world has unique GPS Coordinates.

For example:

The ICICS Building at UBC Google Maps Server
GPS: 49.2611454,-123.2489258 IP Address:

note: for a massive website like Google Maps, it’s not just one server or the website would quickly crash, instead it’s many servers. For the sake of simplicity we’ll pretend it’s only one server.

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Your First Breath

I wrote the passage below following my first clinical experience with child birth.

I’ve always felt deprived of my childhood memories. People share stories about what they felt when they were five years old, but I very rarely actually feel these memories. To me it’s more like I’m looking at a photo of the event; in fact, perhaps most of my memories are just memories of memories - memories of a photo or event as described to me by others. This is certainly the way it feels most of the time, but when I do have a memory of my childhood, a real memory, it completely envelopes me. I relive it.

It was in the Cardiology block in my 1st year of medical school. The tutor for our small group session looked around and asked if we knew what happened to the circulation system when that baby takes its first breath. This concept seemed oddly familiar. The gears in my brain slowly turned, and a vivid memory crashed into me. I must have been 5 or 6, sitting in one of the tall chairs (not quite as tall to me anymore) that accompany the granite counter-top in our kitchen at home. My dad (who dabbles as a cardiologist) was explaining in his characteristically over-detailed manner, cardiac circulation. “See in a baby, the lungs don’t need to breathe because the baby is still inside the tummy” he explained, going on to detail how with the first breath all of a sudden the blood that previously skipped the lungs, now went there. He explained to me how there were these pathways that allowed the blood to skip the lungs and other parts of the body and how these closed when the baby took that breath.

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