1) Just wondering how to end turn without attending every single idle ship?
Console command; think it's 'turnactions' or something like that.
If you don't want to mess with the console, then I'm afraid you're going to have to spend at least one turn going through the idle ships setting them to Sentry (wakes up when anything not belonging to you or maybe an ally comes within the vessel's sensor range) or Guard (doesn't wake up unless you activate it) mode.
2) how do i work toward a certain technology? I want that technology to extend starbase range? (i randomly researched it or already had it in the campaign).
In the research screen, in the lower left corner there is a button to take you to the tech tree. Click that, and forget that that worthless 'advisor' screen ever existed. If you want to, you can select a tech which has at least one unresearched prerequisite as your research target, though be aware that if there are specializations between your most advanced tech in that line and the tech you selected, you will by default choose the specialization listed in the uppermost slot and if you wanted something else you're going to have to make that option your selected tech. You'll still get the 'Research Complete' prompt to choose a new tech to research every time you complete a tech, but the game will automatically select the next tech en route to the advanced tech you've selected unless there is some other missing prerequisite keeping you from researching that intermediate tech (e.g. a Tech Age restriction). Even if you don't want to select an advanced tech and have the game select each tech en route to the selected tech as research completes, the tech tree view is still the better way to handle research as it provides much more information pertinent to planning out your research path than the 'advisor' screen does.
Really wish they'd made the tech tree view the default research window.
3) I am playing a very large map, forget exactly what size, but it was about 3rd or 4th largest available. I set habitable planets to abundant. But to look at the map that resulted, i would have guessed the setting was 'scarce'? Looks like about 80% of the worlds around the place are dead worlds?
That's not that far off. Based on the settings in MapSetupDefs.XML, it would appear that on Abundant settings, roughly 40% of the planets in the galaxy are meant to be habitable. Goes down in steps of 5%, except that on None you can expect 10% of the planets to be habitable (Rare is 20%, so for consistency you'd expect 15%, while by name you'd expect 0%). I don't believe that the home systems are counted when looking at what fraction of the planets are habitable, so on a map where there are a large number of civilization home systems relative to the total number of systems on the map the numbers could be skewed, and I'm uncertain if the 'randomly generated' home system used by minor races is affected by the abundance setting (the minor race home system that the player can use for a custom empire is almost certainly not supposed to be affected, and I wouldn't be surprised if this were true of the home systems of actual minor races, but I don't know).