Intrigued by the concept, of course, I had to understand better the etymology of the word. The following is from Webster's Dictionary of 1913:
Die , n.;
The following is from the Online Etymology Dictionary:
die (n.) - c.1330 (as a plural), from O.Fr. de, of uncertain origin, perhaps from L. datum "given," pp. of dare, which, in addition to "give," had a secondary sense of "to play" (as a chess piece); or else from "what is given" (by chance or Fortune). Sense of "stamping block or tool" first recorded 1699.
data - 1646, pl. of datum, from L. datum "(thing) given," neuter pp. of dare "give." Meaning "transmittable and storable computer information" first recorded 1946. Data processing is from 1954. Database formed 1962, from data + base.
date (1) - "time," c.1330, from O.Fr. date, from M.L. data, noun use of fem. sing. of L. datus "given," pp. of dare "give." The Roman convention of closing every article of correspondence by writing "given" and the day and month -- meaning "given to messenger" -- led to data becoming a term for "the time (and place) stated." The meaning "to give" is also the root of the grammatical dative (M.E.), the case of giving. Dateline in the journalism sense is attested from 1888. Phrase up to date (1890) is from bookkeeping. Dated "old-fashioned" is attested from 1900. Date (n.) "romantic liaison" is from 1885, gradually evolving from the general sense of "appointment;" the verb in this sense is first recorded 1902. Meaning "person one has a date with" is from 1925. Blind date first recorded 1925, but probably in use before that. Date rape first attested 1975.
First, I am very pleased that die and data are from the same root in that both are "given." In this way, both act as "fixed points" or invariants. Second, one can see that date and data are from the same root, and that data originally meant simply: "the time and place stated." This means that data originally referred to information we would call metadata today, i.e., the time and place of origin of a message.
The mystery here is how die in the sense of a gambling cube gave rise to die in the sense of mould or stamp. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first citation for the latter sense was 1699. My guess is the shape of such a stamp was in the shape of a cube, with looked like a die in the former sense.
All of this ties back to the concept of information (which is what knowledge is) as that which gives form (from informare: to give form). Information, or knowledge spreads when it can be broadly used in an environment. No need to press a thousand copies from one stamp if the market will absorb only ten. The "success" of a piece of information, a form, is the number of its replicas in the environment. Life is just a particular kind of replicating information or "form" (life "form").
This replication is success simply in terms of increasing returns on investment. In the most general sense, the investment is one of energy. For a given energy investment in creating the durable die, one can form replicas from that die with less energy than forming each item individually. From this point of view, entropy favors the creation of structures like dies and like life forms that lower the energy required to mass produce forms of energy that are more easily used (e.g., consumed). As I quoted from Stanley Salthe earlier in my blog: The punch line -- form results from, and further mediates, convective energy flows, which more effectively degrade energy gradients than would slow frictional conduction, like diffusion.