Thanks for adding to the info. Would you mind sharing at lease the info about your hardware and maybe the kernel version and a list of modules that were loaded? If ssasa would post his info as well, perhaps we could look for similarities and get that info to the mint devs. I run Ubuntu myself, but I like trying to assist other projects when the opportunity arises.
For the system freezes, you could check the kernel log. It might give you an idea of what is causing the lockup. You can try Ironhide or Bumblebee for solving your Nvidia optimus problem. The battery issue is mostly due to the Nvidia GPU being on all the time. If you get Ironhide / Bumblebee working it should mostly resolve your battery issue.
My apologies. The last time I read anything about Thunderbold (Lightpeak), was back in February of 2011. A few of the articles I read said apple exclusive and my faulty memory recalled 2 years instead of one. The articles I previously read misconstrued the phrase "a year headstart" and claimed that Apple had 1 year exclusive rights. Intel has since refuted that. Thanks for making me go back an re-read it.
I would imaging that when the tank popped, there was an instant loss of fuel pressure causing compressor surge. Perhaps pressure loss caused a flameout instead and then fuel started pooling in the combustion section. Then, when enough pressure built up, the unburnt fuel combusted, causing turbine damage.