Math Help - Exponentials, easy yet confusing problem to me

1. Exponentials, easy yet confusing problem to me

The barrier on the -2 in the exponent is confusing me, the answer is clearly not 1. Whats the catch of this problem?

2. Originally Posted by StefanMomcilovic
The barrier on the -2 in the exponent is confusing me, the answer is clearly not 1. Whats the catch of this problem?
what does the colon between the two expressions represent?

3. [QUOTE=skeeter;615276]what does the colon between the two expressions represent?

division

4. note that $-2^{-2} = -\dfrac{1}{4}$ and $(-2)^{-2} = \dfrac{1}{4}$

$\displaystyle 81^{-\frac{1}{4}} \div 81^{\frac{1}{4}} = 81^{-\frac{1}{4} - \frac{1}{4}} = 81^{-\frac{1}{2}} = (3^4)^{-\frac{1}{2}} = 3^{-2}$