As if all the political strife weren’t enough, here’s more grim news from the Middle East: The Dead Sea, the lowest spot on Earth, is getting even lower. In the last decade, the sea, which already lies more than 1,300 feet below sea level, has fallen an additional 20 feet. Scientists attribute the change to a drop in the water table around the Dead Sea, which allows the ground to settle and compact. The declining water table, in turn, is blamed on the steady siphoning of water from the area for agricultural, industrial, and residential uses in the parched region.