Sorry, there isn't a way to turn it off. If you can provide a compelling reason why you would want to turn it off, we'll make in an option. But, right now there is important functionality inside those popups, so hiding them may prevent you from doing certain things.
I love the functionality of the popups, but the could be a better way of implementing it. It seems a little buggy at this point, and I don't know how intuitive it would be to those who are just signing on.
As I wrote in another topic, this seems a little more intuitive:
The latest fad seems to be no-click UI (or much reduced clicks). I didn't like it at all at first, and now it doesn't seem bad. In fact, it seem annoying to have to click when I'm used to not clicking.
So, I don't know. I'm not against your suggestion, but it seems no-click popups are what they are going for.
My vote would be to fix the bugginess and let the popups stand as is for a few weeks or even a few months.