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Firefox 52 (Buster) is grinding my system to a halt

Since getting my new laptop and clean-installing Buster, Firefox-ESR
keeps locking my computer up so much that I usually have to hard
restart because the system is totally unresponsive. When I'm lucky, I
can drop into a TTY, kill Firefox and regain control.

According to iotop, I think the offending process is preload.js. This
is consistent with my experience that lock-ups happen more frequently
on JavaScript-heavy sites like Google and Facebook.

I'm pretty sure that these problems will go away with FF 60, but does
anyone have any suggestions on what I can do in the meantime to stop
JavaScript from overtaking my system? I already played around with
hardware acceleration to no effect, although things seem marginally
more stable with it disabled. Yes, I have disabled add-ons. Yes I did
create a new profile and cleared my caches. No effect.