Recent evidence shows that most extinction events on Earth have been caused by life itself - e.g. the ‘Oxygen Holocaust’.
Treating life as fundamentally no different from other dissipative structures such as weather, what is it that causes very simple feedback looks such as whirlpools to decay.
This study on entropy flow and typhoons points to some answers. Typhoons are essentially giant, complex whirlpools.
“the typhoon, as a dissipative structure, develops only when the entropy flow from its surroundings is negative, and tends to decay when the NEF [Negative Entropy Flow] is weakened or replaced by positive entropy flow, suggesting that the self-organization of the typhoon is dependent on NEF.”
I recently took the ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco. Standing over the back I watched the wake without the tendency to follow an individual wave. In other word’s I looked straight down on it as if it were a fixed object that was attached to the boat. From this frame of reference, a wake looks rather like a time lapse film of a plant over time, it has the messy around the edges quality of a natural object but nevertheless possesses fairly static structure. If you were to look at the wake from the reference point of a particular chunk of water, you would see not a static structure but something more like an explosion, calm then mess then decaying of that mess.
Static structures like whirlpools form when there is a relatively constant entropy gradient (they deteriorate and reform as a different structure (like passing from a chaotic to resonant form) when the gradient increases or deteriorate to nothing when it decreases). These structures have a constant flow of material through them, from the water that flows in and out of a whirlpool to the constant replenishment of molecules in a human body over a lifetime. although we tend to think of living things as being like tangible objects such as rocks, living things are more like whirlpools: features built up as a result of a trajectory of items flowing through them. When you look at these things from the frame of reference of the feature rather than the flow of material, they look static. Here is my hunch: If there were such thing as an entropy meter, it would register differently based upon a frame of reference relative to an entropy gradient.
Here is an example of a ship’s wake from the perspective of the ship:
extinction events scale free
“scale free networks are more robust to the random extinction than random graphs”