Wow - that's a lot for one mouthful...
A suggestion for the future - UF is something best eaten in smaller chunks, at least from a "I want to comment on things" standpoint. Not that you did anything wrong, but there's just so much volume there it can be pretty hard to keep everything coherent if you don't limit yourself. :)
Also, as someone who has been reading UF since the Core stories were first published (well, I started at UF4, there are others here who predate me by a little bit), I can say with near 100% certainty that much of the old stories (primarily the Core series, plus a few others that are pretty obvious from the writing style) are best taken with a few tablespoons of salt - it's not that they're completely apocryphal, but with the evolution of the UFverse (and the authors' writing abilities), events of the newer stories are much more thoroughly planned out (not to mention better written). I kind of think of it as an oral tradition being written down at some point - the farther back from the 2400s you go in the UFverse, the more likely the story you get has lost some of its "fidelity" over the years of telling before it was committed. It's a good way to get the general sense of how the UFverse evolved, but don't assume that any particular detail is 100% accurate.
Anyway, welcome to the ride, and don't forget to check out the Mini-Stories if you haven't already.
[...] in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.
-- David Ben Gurion
EPU RCW #π