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Noticed that as well. Seems as if sub-pixel anti-aliasing is turned off when using drop shadows. You can try and turn it off manually in the â€˜appearanceâ€™ pane in the system preferences by setting the anti-aliasing mode to â€˜best for CRTâ€™. The result is that all light text on dark background looks thinner. Normal text looks worse, though.
Apparently, this will improve in the future. Firefox 3 and the new Camino dev version use Cairo which somehow manages to display the text better even with sub-pixel anti-aliasing turned on. See here for an example: Hickdesign: Cairo beats Safari?.