The Code of the Winklevii

Remember the Winklevoss twins? The golden-boy Harvard rowers who claimed that Mark Zuckerberg had stolen the idea for Facebook from them? They spent years suing him, won a settlement that is currently worth about $200 million, and now feel it should have been four times that. Joining the brothers on an impromptu road trip to Mexico, Dana Vachon learns what is still driving their pursuit of Zuckerberg (it’s about justice … no, money … no, vindication), and discovers that some guys really, really, really don’t like to lose.

  1. One day in June, the better part of the U.S. Olympic rowing program flew to London for the Henley Royal Regatta in a sudden alpha-male rapture that left behind only the very young, the injured—and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

    The identical twins believe that they are the rightful founders of Facebook, and in seven years of litigating to this effect have fused America’s fascinations with courtroom drama, Wasp culture, and genetic novelty to make themselves an object of cultural wonder, the Winklevii, multi-media contortionists who might feud with a former Treasury secretary (Larry Summers, while president of Harvard, declined their request to punish the undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg and recently called them assholes in a public forum), then join with Snooki, a fellow late-imperial oddity, in the pitching of pistachios online, before appearing as a $1,600 question on Jeopardy! (“Last name of twins seen here? They put their oars in the water for Oxford as well as Harvard … ”)—all in the same six-month period.

    The brothers sat in sloppy lotus positions beneath a network of domed surveillance cameras, in a plastic-polymer Quonset hut in the scrubby desert, working through a series of performance-enhancing yogic visualizations with the sandy-blond, Jesus-bearded Jake Cornelius.

    “Let’s do some breathing first,” said Cornelius, who has written on his blog about the often uncontrollable rage and anger that led him to embrace rowing as an emotional outlet. “Let’s all just count,...