My two cents…
TheVoiceofReason: 60 Hz AC does put more stress on an incandescent bulb’s filament than DC of equivalent power, but only slightly more. This is because the period of the sinusoidal power curve is 8.3 ms, which is much shorter than the filament’s thermal time constant, so the coefficient of expansion due to power fluctuations would be negligible. Heck, even if the coefficient of expansion was significant, it probably still wouldn’t matter, because a red-hot filament is quite flexible.
You also asked if you could “rewire my entire house so that all my electrical appliances ran on direct current.” This would work for some appliances (such as heaters), but would not work for synchronous motors and anything containing an input transformer (such as a linear power supply). However, you can run most switching power supplies off DC, so there’s a good chance your computer would still work. Not sure about your monitor, though.
malden: It is true there is sometimes a “sticking effect” when a person is electrocuted, but it normally occurs at higher voltages. (I’ve never heard of it occurring at 120 VAC). In my opinion, 120 VDC is safer than 120 VAC. Why? Because you can be killed by an instantaneous high voltage. 120 VAC is an RMS value, and thus the actual voltage swing is between approx. +170 V and -170 V relative to ground. In other words, with 120 VDC, the most you’ll ever feel is a 120 V potential, while with 120 VAC, you’ll be jolted with +170 V, then -170 V, then +170 V, then -170 V, etc. every 8.3 ms. Ouch.
Anthracite: You said, “AC is what is delivered to your house, because until recently it had the lowest transmission line losses and it is very easy to transform its voltage.” I agree with the latter, but not the former. Both AC and DC would have the same I^2 * R losses (all else being equal). But AC (unlike DC) has reactive losses due to line impedance, which means DC is actually less lossy than AC.
Of course, the real reason AC is used over DC for the power grid is because insulation is cheaper than aluminum or copper. Think about it.