I've seen this too often recently; recaptcha seems to always time out loading on dialup now, so I can't register on web sites.
The rest of the page loaded fine and worked fine. And asked me to "prove you're not a robot" every time I reloaded it and re-filled the registration information form. Defenstration territory.
Since I temporarily have HN's attention with this side blog of mine, can I suggest one simple tweak:
Please, please, if your site requires AJAX to work at all, then retry failed AJAX queries. Use exponential backoff or whatever but don't let the AJAX query fail once and the page be unusable.
This happens all the freaking time when I'm on dialup, and there's nothing more annoying than having filled out a form or series of forms only to have the submit button break because it used AJAX to do a sanity check and threw an exception because the server timed out after some absurdly short (dialup-wise) period of time.
-- Joey Hess
Presumably at some point in the next 10 minutes or so, a scrap of text will finally appear on this page. I'll read it in about 1 minute, and move on.
But until then, I get to spend many minutes staring at over-designed social network share buttons and gratuitous images!