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NB: This no longer works in any browser.
Keeping here for posterity. This hack relied on the fact that some browsers used to deal with text-shadow on a font glyph sub-pixel level. This had a fair bit of instability — Chrome would sometimes fail to render glyphs at all when text-shadow was invoked — and I presume that as a result browsers no longer take it upon themselves to offer their own text rendering and leave it to OS GUI level processes.