Having trouble reading Pharyngula?

You aren’t alone — it seems to have developed an annoying allergy to Safari, which is the browser my wife uses, so I better get it fixed. It’s only Safari, and it seems to hang at some random point while loading the articles, which makes it hard to track down. I’ve suspected it might be something funky in the sidebar, so I’ve purged a lot of that stuff (some of it was ten years old, so about time), and I’ll continue to pick away at it.

One observation that led me to think it’s something about the main Pharyngula page is that there’s a workaround: if you go to the FtB main page, and go from there directly to individual articles, they load fine. Still very annoying.

Thanks to some advice from @jalefkowit@octodon.social, I may have sort of fixed the problem. It was a mundane link to Twitter that was making Safari puke. Link now hidden, blog now seems to load on Safari. Why it didn’t like that link is a mystery.


  1. hemidactylus says

    Holy crap PZ, whatever you did got rid of the cross out of the secure connection status in my browser (mobile Firefox). I complained a while back here and on Discord. It didn’t appear on other FTB blogs, just here.

    I don’t know if the secure connection status issue played a role in the Safari issues, but I’m glad that changed.

  2. says

    What hemidactylus describes sounds like an image with a nonsecure (http instead of https) URL. If you get different images when loading via the workaround, then that could be what’s been causing the hang.

    The only problem I’ve been having with Pharyngula lately (on Firefox/Linux) is that it takes forever to load embedded images in the article — but the rest of the text displays fine (albeit with a large vertical whitespace where it thinks the image is going to end up (pro-tip: that’s not where the image ends up)).

  3. hemidactylus says

    Mobile Opera seems ok, but Mobile Safari is puking out its innards like a sea cucumber. It’s stuck displaying (ironically) the “Having trouble reading Pharyngula?” post and nothing in the space below. It just hangs.

    Wait going back it now isn’t displaying this thread but is hanging on the “I hope you aren’t expecting the universities to fight back” thread with blank space above. I had to use another browser to copypaste that title as whatever is troubling iOS Safari is preventing that simple function.

    Now the display in Mobile Safari is frozen. So clearing up the annoying secure connection problem doesn’t seem to have fixed Safari’s woes from what I can tell.

  4. hemidactylus says

    This is a scanning site wanting to sell you stuff but the scan may be informative:

    TLS Recommendations
    HTTPS mixed content found. Your HTTPS website is referring to an HTTP resource:
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/404javascript.js
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/404testpage4525d2fdc
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/advertise-on-freethoughtblogs/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/08/head-and-heart-atheists/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/privacy-policy/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/recent-posts/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/shop/
    http://ie7-js.googlecode.com/svn/version/2.1(beta4)/IE9.js on https://freethoughtblogs.com/technical-support/

    Security Headers
    Missing security header for ClickJacking Protection. Alternatively, you can use Content-Security-Policy: frame-ancestors ‘none’.
    Missing security header to prevent Content Type sniffing.
    Missing Strict-Transport-Security security header.
    Missing Content-Security-Policy directive. We recommend to add the following CSP directives (you can use default-src if all values are the same): script-src, object-src, base-uri, frame-src

    This scanner indicates no malware https://www.virustotal.com/gui/url/5efcce1e100e8987c0a5f6479fbcac6f03aa509e72aac2197148acdc5422b101/details

    But does say Facebook Connect is a tracker. F’in Zuck.

  5. Tethys says

    I don’t use Safari, but I’ve been having problems with the page loading for a day now. I use Google.

    I will be thrilled to have some of the stuff removed, like the silly Pinterest icon that hovers around being an annoyance.

    Good luck solving the problem?

  6. kmitko says

    There’s a very recent bug with twitter embeds in Safari, not specific to pharyngula. You can fix it by temporarily filtering ourl URLs matching https?://platform.twitter.com[:/] with an adblocker (this expression works for me in 1blocker app, not sure about others).

  7. macallan says

    No trouble with firefox and arcticfox on various NetBSDs. The Share this: goop takes a while to load but that’s it.

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    Yeah! Every so often when I’m reading it on my iPad or trying to enter a comment (especially in the Infinite Thread), the site just crashes.

  9. Oggie: Mathom says

    Having trouble reading Pharyngula?

    Well, yeah, but I think it has more to do with the side effects from the glaucoma eye drops. (I know, not helping.)

  10. robro says

    I can confirm that it’s happening with the front page of Pharnygula in Safari on macOS 12.4, iOS 15.5, and iPadOS 15.5. It is not happening in Safari with other Freethought.com blogs. It is also not happening with other websites, e.g. Wikipedia. Pharnygula is OK on Firefox or Chrome on macOS 12.4 (though I have older versions of those apps).

  11. JoeBuddha says

    Seriously. If you weren’t using Windows on PC’s like God intended, you wouldn’t have these problems.

  12. says

    Well, you know it goes, God can go choke on a dick.

    Anyway, I’ve stripped everything on the sidebar that isn’t on other blogs, except all the blog links. Guess they go next.

  13. robro says

    JoeBuddha — You wouldn’t have “these problems”…you would have other problems. :-)

    PZ — The funky sidebar seems iffy to me. The other Freethoughts.com blogs have sidebars and those blogs seem to be working.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    … it might be something funky in the sidebar, so I’ve purged a lot of that stuff …

    Probably unrelated to the Safari glitch, but the https://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/ link has been yielding only a blank page since I started re-checking it in the last week or two. Last time I did a search for nielsen-hayden, it didn’t seem to find anything amiss with either one.

  15. Nemo says

    Working OK for me in Safari on my Mac right now, but I use Pi-Hole for ad blocking. (I know there aren’t ads here per se, but maybe it’s blocking something else?)

  16. robro says

    I just tried opening Pharnygula on a different Mac and clicked from the main page to this one without an issue.

  17. silvrhalide says

    Same here. Firefox loads just fine, Safari on Mac OS 12 (of whatever iteration, just updated a few hours ago) won’t load at all. Only this site, Oceanoxia and Whatever (among others) seem to be working fine with Safari, links, commenting, etc. all functional on other FTB. Just seems to be this one.

  18. Tethys says

    It is loading properly now, and thank you so much for removing the Pinterest doohickey.

  19. blf says

    @16, “the https://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/ link has been yielding only a blank page”.

    Multiple programs (w3m, wget, brave, others…) all show the same thing (no content, i.e. a blank page); however, many of them also, usefully, give a hint as to what’s going wrong. For example:
    $ w3m -no-cookie -dump_head https://nielsenhayden.com/
    HTTP/1.1 500 Internal Server Error
    $ wget --no-cookies -- https://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 500 Internal Server Error

    Basically, that site itself is broken. (It also fails, in exactly the same way, when using HTTP instead of HTTPS.)

    En passant, I happened to notice one of the recent changes in the latest version of Safari is to use HTTPS, not HTTP, whenever possible; i.e., to use the https://... version of a link even if the link is written as http://... (unless the site doesn’t support it, in which case I presume you are warned and the older, less-secure, HTTP is used?). Whilst the feature has existed in Safari for awhile, apparently only now is it on by default. Whether or not that is related I’m unsure, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if there is a relation. (Other than for (very rare!) tests, you should enable that feature — most(? all?) modern browsers support it, and all modern sites / servers “speak” HTTPS.)

       The “whenever possible” is a guess on my part, based on what other browsers — and also the EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere extension — do. It seems that in older versions of Safari, when the feature was enabled, it applied to a (built-in?) list of sites.

  20. nomdeplume says

    Well done PZ, it was frustrating not being able to get my daily dose of Pharyngula sanity.