Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known

The sentence above is a quote from a journalist, Sharon Begley, in an article interviewing the astronomer, Carl Sagan, and is often misattributed to him.  How does it apply to patent searching?  You’re the one with an idea for the incredible something, and you will want it known, but as I often see, just because

Patent families: As weird and wonderful as people families

First of all, what is a patent family?  Like a family made up of people, it’s a collection of things that are related in some way, where the things just happen to be patent documents.  Although all methods of constructing a patent family are artificial, some are more artificial than others, which, I guess, implies