Just a hold that thought link. Prompted by another link from Thinking Meat to a paper at PhysOrg.com on the origins of life.
The one thing it sparked was this increasing / decreasing entropy paradox. Many people talk of life (and intelligence) as a reversal of the inexorable entropy gradient – creating order out of disorder. Of course the wider long-run entropy gradient is always smoothing out energy differences, so the reversed gradient is always a local effect. Someone (Island ?) suggested that the local decreases were just part of the universe’s most efficient (teleological) way of increasing the overall entropy faster – engineering a “good trick”. Anyway the specific technical debate aside ….
… the thought that ocurred to me was the size of the control volume that was seen as “local” must be very closely analogous to Dennett’s maxim “you can externalize anything if you shrink yourself small enough.”