This ended up being a bug with the MVC Mini Profiler, which is active on Data Explorer.
The MVC Mini Profiler tries to inject its stylesheet into the page as part of its initialization routine by creating (via jQuery) a
<link> element from a string with
type attributes. It then attempts to set the
href attribute to point to the stylesheet.
IE 8, for reasons unknown, seems to get extremely upset and crashes the tab when you attempt to set the value of the
href attribute or property when
rel="stylesheet" was previously set via
innerHTML. Creating the link a bit differently prevents the crash, although then IE 8 runs into some additional errors I haven't finished debugging yet. Once I figure out what else is going on I'll throw together patches for the respective issues.